The French are known for their delicate rolled omelet but the Italians have taken the concept and made it into a hardy meal full of the unexpected. The Frittata (frih-TAH-tuh), differs from the French omelet as it has the ingredients mixed with the eggs rather than being folded inside. It is a blank canvas that can take on a wide variety of ingredients and flavors. Its versatility makes for a wonderful opportunity to clean out the fridge and use those little bits of this and that that are hanging out. This weeks creation was inspired by summer’s harvest and farm fresh eggs, the essential ingredient. I am very fortunate to have access to delicious eggs that I get from a local friend who allows her hens to run free and forage. They are very happy chickens, I assure you. The yolks are golden and the taste is second to none. Since I had an abundance on hand I began my own foraging in the refrigerator for what might make a perfect marriage. What I found was an ear of grilled sweet corn from last night’s dinner, a bit of fresh spinach. half a red bell pepper and a couple of scallions. On my counter were some sun-gold and heirloom tomatoes from my garden and fresh herbs to be picked outside. Add to that some seasonings, a splash of cream, some grated cheese (today I used a combination of gruyere and Parmesan). I hit pay dirt! I will take you through the process of this creative adventure.
- Select the proper pan. I feel a good quality non-stick pan is the best choice, Usually I use a 10-inch but a 12-inch skillet could be used if feeding a crowd.
- Crack 6 eggs (for 10-inch pan, more if using larger pan) in a bowl and whisk with a splash of milk or cream. Set aside.
- Cut vegetables (the pepper and scallions) into small dice. Remove corn from cob. Sauté with a bit of minced garlic in butter or olive oil or a combination of both until soft.
- Add the spinach and tomatoes, reserving a few slices for the top. Cook until wilted.
- Add the gruyere cheese and chopped herbs of choice (I used basil and parsley) to the eggs and mix thoroughly. Pour egg mixture into the pan with the veggies.
- Cook over medium heat edging egg away from the sides with a spatula. Cook until edges and bottom are set. the top will still be runny.
- Add the Parmesan and reserved tomato slices to the top and place under a preheated broiler for 3-4 minutes or until top is set, cheese melted and beginning to brown.
- Allow to cool for a couple of minutes and then cut and serve.
This dish can be served hot or cold. I like to make it and serve warm for breakfast or with a mixed salad for lunch or dinner. Leftovers can be packed for lunch the following day right out of the refrigerator.
This is not really a recipe but more a technique for a creation made from whatever you have or makes you happy. Pasta and rice give it more body or meat such as bacon, chicken or ham can be added. Shellfish, such as crab, lobster or shrimp or smoked fish like salmon or trout also add a great depth of flavor. Simple or fancy, it is a fast and easy meal that is sure to satisfy. I used to tell my children it was egg pizza with your toppings of choice.
There are endless ideas for frittata online like this one from Alton Brown. If you don’t have a broiler you can finish it in the oven or flip it in the pan, which is traditional but often messy if you aren’t practiced.
I can’t think of an easier or more satisfying way to waste not and spread the love all at the same time. Check out your pantry, fridge and garden and get those creative juices flowing. Imagine and it can happen. I send my love and joy of cooking from my kitchen to yours. Jeanne