Similar to the omelette, the frittata is a mixture of beaten eggs and a savory filling of vegetables, meats and cheese. And, in fact, they are simpler to make than a fancy omelette. Just follow the basic pattern and create the filling from what you have on hand for your frittata.
First, start out with nice fresh eggs. I’ve been trying hard to get my eggs from the farmer’s markets here in Topeka. There’s just something special about meeting the farmer who raised the chickens who laid the eggs that I’m about to eat. If you haven’t tried local eggs, give it a whirl. The shells are often beautiful shades of brown and they have the most amazing golden-yellow yolks.
The color of the shell is due to the breed of the chicken so you might find them in not only brown and white, but in shades of blue and green, too. The color of the yolk varies depending on what the chickens are fed.
Egg safety: Eggs need to be cooled/refrigerated at all times in order to stay fresh and tasting good.
Make your Frittata
Basic Frittata Technique (from The Good Egg)
- Heat the oil in a large ovenproof nonstick skillet with low, sloping sides. Sauté the filling ingredients until tender if raw or until heated through if precooked.
- Meanwhile, whisk the eggs (2 per serving) in a large bowl. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, plus any other seasonings like grated cheese or minced parsley.
- Pour the egg mixture into the skillet over the filling. Reduce the heat to low and cook the frittata until the edges are set and bubbling up a little, about 2-3 minutes. Tilt the pan slightly and lift the set edges so the raw egg in the center can flow to the edges. The surface should be moist but not liquid.
- Finish the frittata in one of these ways:
*On the stove top, covered, until the eggs are set.
*In a very hot oven (450 degrees) until the top is set and lightly colored.
*Under a preheated broiler for 1-2 minutes until the top is browned.
*Flip your frittata in the skillet to finish cooking the top (but this one is the trickiest).
Frittata Filling Ideas
As I said, frittatas can have just about anything cooked into them, but here are some common combinations:
- Sauté 1 bunch of sliced asparagus in olive oil. Then add garlic and 8 whisked eggs with 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese mixed in. Let cook until set on the bottom, sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves. Finish by covering and cooking until set on the stove top or under the broiler. The Good Egg: more than 200 fresh approaches from soup to desert by Marie Simmons.
- Sauté onion and bell peppers in oil, add mushrooms and corn. Add some diced ham to heat and then add 8 whisked eggs to the skillet. Top with grated Swiss cheese, let cook until set on the bottom, then put under the broiler until the top is golden brown. Farm to Fork: Cooking Local, Cooking Fresh by Emeril Lagasse.
- Potatoes or hashbrowns are often the starter filling. Sauté those with onions or peppers and add whisked eggs to the skillet. Top with cheese, let cook until set on the bottom and finish on the stove top or under the broiler.
- The Best of America’s Test Kitchen DVD has a great variation on the frittata with asparagus. They sauté asparagus and ham, add Gruyere cheese to the whisked eggs and pour that over the filling. One trick they recommend is stirring the eggs for the first 2 minutes (like you are making scrambled eggs) then let them sit so the bottom will brown. Finish it in the oven or on the stove top.
- Other recommended combinations: Green beans and goat cheese with garlic, Zucchini and red onion, Potato and sun-dried tomato with rosemary, Roasted red pepper and Italian sausage.
Clearly your options are wide open with a frittata. You can eat it at any temperature, even cold in a sandwich! So go ahead, find the season’s best at the farmer’s market, and discover the pleasure of a simple frittata.