The Frugal Frittata
It’s been a hectic day. The family’s hungry, the fridge offers little more than eggs and leftovers and you’re fresh out of answers for the question everyone’s asking: What’s for dinner? The solution may be found in a single word: Frittata.
A frittata is like an omelet but without the fancy pan work. It’s similar to a quiche without the troublesome crust, additional dairy products and long baking time. For a frittata you simply prepare the filling (leftovers are ideal), pour the eggs on top and cook until set. While an omelet is soft, delicate and slightly runny, a frittata is tender but firm.
An omelet is prepared at a higher temperature with critical timing. A frittata is cooked slowly over low heat and not folded over. Aside from simplicity, frittatas have another advantage: They’re delicious hot, cold or at room temperature, so you don’t have to sweat timing as you do with most omelets, which must be served warm.
Making the perfect frittata is as simple as learning these easy tricks.
Nonstick frying pans with oven-proof handles make the best frittatas. Conventional skillets require so much oil to prevent sticking that frittatas cooked in them are greasy. You need a 10-inch pan for a six-egg frittata (serves 4) or a 12-inch skillet for eight-egg frittatas to serve 6.
Potatoes, onions, mushrooms, vegetables, ham, pancetta, cheese and chicken (just about anything) are great candidates to fill a frittata. Ideally the filling should just cover the bottom of the pan. Begin by sautéing the filling items in a small amount of oil in the same pan you will prepare the frittata.
Beat eggs (6 or 8 depending on the skillet size) lightly and pour them over the filling. Once the bottom is firm, use a thin plastic spatula to gently lift the frittata edge so that the uncooked eggs run underneath. Continue cooking about 40 seconds until egg on top is no longer runny. Transfer skillet to 350F oven; bake until frittata top is set and dry to the touch, 2 to 4 minutes.
NOTE: If you do not have a pan with an oven-proof handle, slide the frittata onto a plate and then flip it over and back into the skillet it to the skillet to continue cooking for several minutes.
Run spatula around skillet edge to loosen frittata; invert onto serving plate. Cut into wedges. Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled. Serve with salad and crusty bread.
- 2 tspn olive oil
- 1 pound cooked potatoes cut into small chunks
- 2 oz ham, pancetta, or cooked chicken
- 4 cloves garlic thinly sliced
- ½ cup frozen peas thawed
- 8 eggs,large
- salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese grated
- Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
- In a 12-inch nonstick pan with oven proof handle, heat olive oil until hot.
- Add the potatoes, meat and garlic and sauté just until golden on all sides. Add peas.
- In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and pour over the filling.
- Season with salt and pepper and cook over medium low heat, occasionally sliding a spatula around the edges of the pan to loosen the frittata as it cooks.
- Cook until nearly set.
- Sprinkle with cheese and place in a 350-degree oven for two to four minutes or until set evenly and slightly golden. Yum! Serves 6.
Yum. If we don’t have any potatoes, I’ve found that cooked pasta, rice, or roasted veggies are also great in a frittata. I recommend a couple of shakes of hot sauce too.
Can you use a bag of frozen hash browns instead of cooked potatoes?
I have, Kristen … and it is a fine substitute.
To answer Gail who’s looking for a way to soften new blue jeans: salt. A lot of salt. Pour nearly a container of salt in with your jeans in the first wash, and run the load, no soap. We’ve used salt for years to soften our blue jeans.
This takes me back to the early seventies when a little hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop in LaJolla, CA served the greatest zucchini frittatas on a crusty sourdough roll. Thanks for the memories!
Many thanks for the post a few days ago. Saying “just do the next thing” to myself makes my day way less anxious.