A frittata is the kitchen sink of recipes, something of an open-faced omelette with any variety of fillings. You can throw in all the bits and bobs in your refrigerator and come up with the perfect brunch, lunch, or dinner. With my love of eggs, I don’t know why I didn’t discover it sooner. It was B. who taught me the beauty of the frittata several months back, and I have been making them regularly ever since.
Because of its cooking method, the frittata is quite unlike omelettes of any other ilk, its texture far superior in my humble opinion. It has a firmness to it, yet a good frittata is never dry or spongy. As for what goes inside of one, well, anything goes, which is why I’m not going to post a recipe here per se, but rather will tell you something about the method.
For four to six servings, I usually use about 6 or 7 eggs, and always use a cast iron pan ( 9×9 inches, or 23 cm) as the results are superior to non-stick in terms of browning and overall texture. You also need a pan that has a flameproof handle because you will be putting it under the broiler.
I start by cooking a bit of chopped bacon or prosciutto or ham in the pan with a bit of olive oil, some finely diced onion, maybe some mushrooms, or asparagus if it is in season. Zucchini is good, as are artichoke and even chopped potato, which gives the frittata a bit of heft and reminds me of the tortilla of Spain. I like to include a bit of butter for enhanced flavor but add it later on because ones doesn’t want it to burn before the ingredients have a chance to brown.
For the frittata pictured above, I used asparagus tips, onion, and small cubes of pancetta. And of course, cheese. Any frittata you make will benefit from at least a couple of heaping tablespoons of parmigiano-reggiano. You can also make a simple cheese frittata using a cup of Swiss or Gruyere cheese and not much else. Herbs are also good; your selections might include finely chopped parsley, chives, thyme, or some torn basil leaves.
Once your key ingredients are on their way to browning, crack the eggs in a bowl and beat them with a fork until the whites and yolks are well blended. Preheat the broiler.
Pour the eggs into the pan and cook over low heat until the edges have set and surface is still runny. Put it under the broiler for a few minutes until the top is puffy and golden. Be careful not to burn it! It really only needs about three or four minutes at this stage. If it’s browned, it’s probably overcooked.
That’s it. There’s no real trick to it. No flipping in the air. No trying to fold it without making a mess.
Fritatte can be served hot, warm, even at room temperature. I like to serve them in pie-shaped wedges but they can also be cut into small squares and served as an antipasto with olives and slices of prosciutto. I’ve even used the wedges as a sandwich filling.