Frittata, Frittata, Frittata, Je T’aime

by cillefish

For the frittata-uninitiated, these are basically quiches without crusts — firm, cakelike omelets cooked slowly over low heat. My first efforts at these resulted in scrambled eggs, but a good frittata actually can be super simple and surprisingly classy for something so packed full of good things. Tips to simplify:
Frittata

  • The right hardware: A big, cured skillet is best for this recipe since the frittata turns out particularly attractive if you sit it under the broiler for a minute or two, and I don’t trust teflon or the “wrap the plastic handle in foil” method not to do nasty things in the oven.
  • Butter is better: If your skillet isn’t (or is) well cured, barely-browning some butter in the bottom of the pan right before you pour in the egg mix will help it stay loose and come out a little easier.
  • Implements that help: A big, flexible pancake spatula is also a plus here, as is one of those knives that looks like a soft-cheese knife but has very good, small serrations on the bottom for astoundingly excellent julienne-slicing.
  • Shortcut: For the faint of heart or accident-prone [me], the baking method also works: butter a deep pie dish, do whatever stovetop prep is necessary to get the veggies where you want them, and pop the whole thing, uncovered, into a 350° oven for, say, 30min.

Spinach, Red Pepper, Onion, and Feta Frittata:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, halved vertically and thinly sliced
  • 2 red bell pepper, quartered lengthwise and sliced very thinly
  • 10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed out (I up it to 15oz)
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/4 to 1/2 c crumbled feta
  • optional: 1 Tbsp pre-grated parmesan
  • optional: 1/4 c to 1/2 c chopped fresh parsley, or 1-2 Tbsp dried (I omit this)
  • 1 tsp italian seasoning (I used 1 heaping tsp)
  • Pepper to taste or a pinch of crushed chili pepper (the egg can handle it)
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter

Preparation:

  1. Pop the spinach in a bowl in the microwave on half-power to start it thawing. Meanwhile, chop everything.
  2. Start heating the oil in the skillet over medium, and squeeze out the spinach; set it aside.
  3. Toss into the skillet the onion and red pepper; cook, tossing often, about 10min. I like to jack up the heat briefly about 5min in to get the veggies to blacken up a bit on the outside without cooking through, and then lower it again to get them to soften through. If they’re not quite there or if you like them more caramelized, cover the pan and cook up to 10 more minutes.
  4. While the veggies are cooking, thoroughly beat the eggs in a large bowl. Beat in (by hand) the cheese, spices, and pepper/chili. Mix in the spinach.
  5. Dump the veggies from the skillet into the egg and mix thoroughly. You may need to use your spatula to scrub out the skillet a bit to remove any bits and cinders that the frittata would want to stick to overmuch.
  6. Melt butter into skillet and swirl in pan to coat bottom and sides. Pour in egg mixture.
  7. After about 5 min when the egg mix begins to set, use the spatula to start loosening it up from the sides, and tilt the pan as you do this to help the wet egg in the middle pour out into the edges. Be gentle; you want to encourage the frittata to stay one cakelike, quichelike unit, but keep the fresh egg pouring around it (and as it cooks a little more, under it too) like you would with an omelet. This keeps coating the original outside with a new layer. You only need to coax it this way every 2 minutes or so, and as it cooks, this becomes mostly just loosening it up and keeping it sticking to itself instead of to the pan.
  8. After about 8min of this, preheat the broiler with the oven rack in the top half of the oven (probably 2nd-slot down). It should take about 15min for the frittata to set properly (you know it’s set when it lets you run the spatula under it to loosen the bottom, and doesn’t threaten to collapse into scrambled eggs).
  9. When it’s set, pop it under the broiler for 1-3 min. It should get a nice, lightly toasted top.
    Let sit for 10min and enjoy with a side salad or soup, or on its own. Like most baked-egg-type dishes, this one is marvelous as cold leftovers also.
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