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TIP OF THE DAY: Different Egg Dishes

frittata-applegate-230r
A frittata, made on the stove top and
finished in the oven or under the broiler.
Photo courtesy Applegate Natural &
Organic Meats.
  You can have your breakfast eggs baked in a nest, boiled, fried, poached or scrambled or stuffed.

You can make breakfast burritos and pizzas, Eggs Benedict and a library of other egg dishes.

Which brings us to today’s tip: the differences among the egg casserole, frittata, omelet, quiche, strata and torta/tortilla.

OMELET

The simplest of this group of egg dishes, an omelet consists of beaten eggs mixed with a small amount of cream, milk or water. The mixture is cooked in an omelet pan until set, then folded around a pre-warmed filling (see “inclusions” in the Casserole section), cooked a minute more and served.

An omelet pan is important to success. A shallow pan with sloped edges, it can vary in diameter.

For those who don’t make omelets enough to develop the technique to flip, there’s a hinged omelet pan.

Omelette is the French spelling. It evolved from the earlier amelette and alemelle, literally a thin plate, from the Latin lamella.
 
CASSEROLE

A casserole is a beaten egg dish with inclusions, that is baked in the oven.

“Inclusions” are anything else you want to include in addition to the eggs: bacon, ham or sausage; cheese; herbs; and any number of vegetables, such as asparagus, bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, potatoes, spinach and summer squash. Toss in leftover veggies, too, like carrots, peas and edamame.

 
It is the easiest of these egg dishes to make, since it requires no flipping. Just put the ingredients in a casserole dish and bake until ready. See the photo below.

The word origin is French, from casse, a small saucepan, derived from the Medieval Latin cattia, crucible, a metal container for heating substances to high temperatures.
 
FRITTATA

A frittata is an Italian-style omelet, often cooked in a large pan to create multiple portions. Like the rest of the egg dishes featured here, it can have a variety of inclusions; some Italian cooks also include leftover pasta.

All of the ingredients are cooked at once on the stove top. The frittata is then flipped. (If you don’t like to flip—it takes practice to do it well—then make a casserole.)

Unlike an omelet, a frittata is not folded; the inclusions are cooked with the eggs, not a separate filling (see the photo above). The frittata is typically finished in the oven or under the broiler.

The result is dense like a crustless quiche, which is cut and served in wedges. It can be eaten hot or cold, as can the strata and torta (the later is often served as tapas).

The word comes from the Italian fritto, fried.

 

STRATA & TORTA

A strata is cooked on the stovetop and flipped in the pan; then, like a frittata, finished under a broiler or salamander.

The Spanish torta or tortilla is similar, but always includes sliced potatoes (an option with a strata) cooked in olive oil, and is not finished under a broiler.

Strata means layer in Italian; “torta” is the Spanish word for cake and some regions use the diminutive tortilla. Before the 16th century, before the availability of sugar in Europe (it originated on the Indian subcontinent and was affordable only by the wealthy until the 18th century), cake often referred to a savory dish.

A tip: instead of stove top, you can cook the whole thing from scratch in a springform pan. This doesn’t work for a casserole, which is not as solid in consistency (see photo at right).

 
QUICHE

A quiche is a savory baked custard pie, made with cream and eggs to achieve a delicate custard texture. It is cooked in a pie shell, although if you don’t want the carbs, you can make a crustless quiche in a pie plate.

  egg-bake-kraft-230
A strata, also called a casserole and an egg bake. Photo courtesy Kraft.
 

A quiche includes cheese, as well as other ingredients: bacon or ham, seafood (crab, lobster, shrimp), vegetables (leeks, mushrooms and spinach are popular).

The French word was derived from the German Küche, a diminutive of the word for cake, Küchen.
 
 
You’ve got a couple of days to research recipes and decide what you’d like to cook for Mother’s Day.

  




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