Making an omelet requires a bit of technique. If your omelets don’t look as lovely as you’d like, there’s an easy solution: Make a frittata!
With an omelet, the filling ingredients are placed on the beaten eggs that are setting in the pan. As the omelet continues to cook, it is folded with a spatula to envelop the ingredients (that’s the part that requires practice, practice, practice).
With a frittata—the name comes from the Italian friggere, to fry—the eggs and other ingredients are mixed together, then cooked more slowly than an omelet. The egg mixture completely fills a round skillet: no folding. The result looks like a crustless quiche. As with a quiche, a frittata can also be enjoyed at room temperature.
Frittatas can be packed with vegetables, a sneaky way to get people to eat more of them. You can use the cookware you have, or consider a frittata pan (see photo below), ideal for stovetop cooking when you have to flip the frittata. Alternatively, you can bake it in the oven—no flipping needed.
Wouldn’t you like to wake up to a weekend brunch like this? It’s easy to make a frittata, watermelon and feta salad, and luscious summer tomatoes on goat cheese-topped toast.
WHAT TO ADD TO YOUR FRITTATA
Check the fridge: You may not have to buy anything else! Frittatas are a great receptacle for leftovers—even cooked pasta and grains.
Vegetables: You can add almost any vegetable* to the beaten eggs, but take advantage of the summer’s specialties: bell pepper, chanterelle mushrooms, corn, eggplant, lima beans, okra, peas, sweet onion, tomatillo, tomato, yellow squash, Yukon Gold potatoes, zucchini.
Cheese: melting cheeses like Emmenthal/“Swiss cheese,” mozzarella and Provolone; grating cheeses such as Asiago, Grana Padano, Parmigiano Reggiano/Parmesan and Pecorino Romano; and soft cheeses including feta and goat cheese/chèvre.
Fish/Seafood: clams, mussels, shrimp, smoked salmon.
Meat: ham/prosciutto, roast chicken/turkey, salame, sausage. When you make chicken or ham, set some aside for the next night’s frittata.
Accents: capers, chiles (fresh or dried), herbs, olives, red pepper flakes.
*For starters, consider artichoke, asparagus, bell pepper, cabbage, cauliflower, carrot, chard, eggplant, kale, mushrooms, onion/leek/green onion, potatoes (boiled/roasted), spinach, zucchini.
A frittata pan is actually two frying pans that hook together for easy flipping, and can be easily detached for regular use. This one is a Cuisinart Frittata Pan.
RECIPE: OVEN FRITTATA
With this recipe, you can go heavy on the vegetables—2 cups instead of one. Or, you can make a cheesy frittata by adding a cup of shredded cheese instead of the second cup of vegetables.
Some cooks start the frittata in a fry pan on the stove, then finish it in the oven. Fritattas can be cooked only on the stove top, but this means they have to be flipped—not easy for some people. Some frittatas can be cooked entirely in the oven, like this one.
1 cup vegetables, diced or sliced
1/8 teaspoon salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
Optional: 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, mozzarella or other
favorite)—or 1 additional cup vegetables
One tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (basil, dill, chives,
oregano, parsley, rosemary, etc.)
1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. While the oven heats, cook the vegetables: sauté in olive oil until tender or steam in the microwave.
2. BEAT the eggs, herbs, pepper, salt, and Parmesan cheese together. Put a tablespoon of oil in a heavy, oven-proof skillet. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and scatter the vegetables on top.
3. BAKE for 15 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese, which will melt.
4. SLIDE the frittata onto a serving plate. It can be served hot or at room temperature.
There are thousands of frittata recipes online, with the oven, stove top or stove top/broiler cooking techniques. Try them all, and see which works best for you.