A frittata can be breakfast, brunch, or dinner. Basically an open-faced omelet, it can include just 1 or 2 extra ingredients, or it can be a veritable cornucopia. The only required ingredients are eggs – everything else is your choice.
Although the last stage of cooking is broiling (to get a lovely browned top and crusty sides), don’t despair if the thought of turning on the broiler in summer makes you gasp. You don’t have to pre-heat a broiler if you have a gas oven and you only have to preheat for a short time for an electric oven. Plus, the amount of time the broiler is on is literally just a few minutes.
You can even use this recipe if you don’t have a broiler or can’t bear to turn it on; cook the open-faced omelet a bit longer on the stove, covering it for the last few minutes to melt the cheese. It won’t get as crispy, but it will taste delicious just the same.
Add-ins – Cut the vegetables and cheese into thin slices or grate them and make sure they are warm when you put them in the eggs. They will only be in the egg mixture for a short time and won’t heat up if they are cold when they go in. The only exception are cherry tomato halves, which are at room temperature when cut and don’t need to be heated Other examples of great extras include roasted red pepper, olives, ham, crumbled bacon, and artichoke hearts.
Pan – You must use a pan that has an ovenproof handle. Most frittata recipes I’ve seen call for a nonstick pan so that the frittata will slide out when it is done. However, I’ve always used a traditional omelet pan with a coating of oil (or butter) and it works fine.
Ratio of eggs to add-ins – Don’t overwhelm the eggs with add-ins. Keep the frittata custardy by using only enough add-ins to cover the top of the frittata.
Mise en place – Remember this concept from Meal Planning Rule #6 (of 10 rules for Meal Preparation Success?) Cooking a frittata goes very fast, so you need to have everything at-the-ready, once you start to heat the pan for the first item.
Spinach, Onion & Cheese Frittata
Servings – 1 large or 2 medium Cost – $2.50
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons of milk (I use skim)
- 1/3 onion (approximately ¼ cup) sliced into crescents
- ¼ cup (approximately 1-1 ½ ounces) of Gruyere, Swiss, gouda or other medium or semi-hard cheese, though feta would also be good, or grated parmesan.
- 2-3 handfuls of baby spinach (approximately 1- 1 ½ ounces)
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- Salt (preferably kosher or sea) and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Cutting board and knife
- Small (6” bottom) pan with metal handle
- Turn on the broiler.
- Slice the onions into crescents, slice the cheese (or chop or grate it) and put those ingredients aside.
- Break the eggs, add the 2 tablespoons of milk and mix thoroughly.
- Heat the pan and then add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onion crescents and cook at medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, until they are browned. Then remove the onions to the plate, leaving as much of the olive oil as possible.
- Lower the heat to medium and add the spinach to the pan. Cook for about 30-45 seconds, just until the spinach wilts. Remove it to the plate.
- Add the second tablespoon of oil to the pan, let it heat up (but not to smoking), swirl it around to make sure the pan is thoroughly greased, and add the eggs. Spread the spinach and onions on top, then add the cheese slices, salt and pepper. Cook the mixture for a few minutes until the outside has jelled and only the center is still slightly liquid.
- Put the pan under the broiler for 1½ – 2 minutes. Remove with an oven mitt; the handle is, of course, quite hot. Slide the frittata onto a plate or cut it in the pan to serve portions.