So if you had never heard of a frittata before following Once Upon A Frittata, let’s get you up to speed.
You’ve probably heard of quiche, which is essentially an egg pie and is baked in a pie crust. Frittata is quiche’s skinnier cousin. Same concept of a custard-like dish but without the crust. Most people would assign quiche and frittata to the breakfast or brunch meal. I say it’s just as good for dinner. I prefer frittata to quiche because it is lighter and easier, and I feel you can be more creative with flavors if you don’t have to think about how it will taste with a pastry crust.
There are endless possible combinations of quiches and frittatas. Once you have a basic recipe for the egg part, you can improvise depending on what needs using up in your fridge. Got a dozen eggs that have been sitting around for a while? A frittata is a good way to use those up along with the half bell pepper and 1/4 of an onion that are staring out from your crisper plus the 2 slices of cold cuts that didn’t make the kid’s lunches this week.
Let’s start with the base. You need 7 farm fresh eggs (more on eggs in a post coming soon), a splash of milk, cream or 1/2 & 1/2, 1/4 tsp baking powder (I use it in an effort to make the frittata rise more, not sure if it actually helps but it can’t hurt), salt and pepper.
Whisk that all together in a large bowl or, better yet, a batter bowl with a pour spout. Use an actual whisk or a fork, and spend a good minute or two vigorously mixing. You want the egg whites and yolks to be fully incorporated. Giving it a little muscle will give you an even texture. The more you whisk, the sturdier your end result will be. If you like a really firm texture then skip the splash of milk/cream – the milk/cream makes the texture lighter and fluffier and less like a quiche.
Now go crazy with the filling ingredients!
Meats are a good starting point – sausage, ham or bacon are tasty options. Some kind of onion is a good next step – diced yellow onion or maybe some sliced scallions. Veggies next. There are no limits – zucchini, tomatoes, corn, mushrooms, Brussel sprouts (I’m currently working on a bacon/brussel sprout frittata recipe – stay tuned!), peppers, broccoli.
Cheese makes everything better including a frittata. The trick is not to overdo it or you get a heavy, greasy mess. Cheddar is the most obvious, but I’m a goat cheese addict so I use dollops of that. Ricotta is a good alternative. Nothing says you can’t use pepperjack or whatever shredded Mexican mix you bought for Taco Tuesday. The fancier frittata chefs might try swiss or gruyere. The only cheese I can’t seem to work into a frittata is mozzarella so if you have a good recipe that makes mozzarella work, please share.
You can make this as easy as tossing all the chopped ingredients together and pouring the egg mixture over the top and baking. To me, taking a couple minutes to saute the raw ingredients in a little olive oil produces a much more flavorful frittata. Try my Cheddar Sausage, Roasted Tomato and Mustard Green Frittata for an easy starting point.
Season everything with salt and pepper at minimum. Frittatas are a good place to get brave with herbs and spices – either fresh or dried. Paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dill, thyme, oregano. Be bold. Toss it in.
My featured frittata is a Corn, Roasted Cherry Tomato and Zucchini Frittata with Fresh Herbs. I was feeling inspired one day over the summer and came up with this recipe which is definitely a step up in terms of prep, but also a more refined result. The use of the pulp from a fresh ear of corn gives this one a summery -sweet flavor, but the fresh dill is the star.
As I was devouring this frittata, it occurred to me that a frittata was representative of fresh ingredients, creativity and a maybe a little flair. It starts with eggs, and many good things start with eggs (like birds!). Each frittata is unique and tells it’s own story depending the chef’s mood. And it is really an international food. Pretty much every ethnic cuisine has some variation of it.
And that’s when it finally fit…the name for the website that I’d been looking for. It felt right. Once Upon A Frittata was born – the perfect name for a website dedicated to food and fresh flavors, travel, books and birds.
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