Breakfast is one of my most favorite-est meals. I will eat it at any time of the day. Seriously. My favorite late night snack is a couple of fried eggs and some toast. Or cereal. I like eggs because they taste good and take next to no time to prepare. Ask any chef who has spent any amount of time on a hot line and they will tell you eggs, peanut butter & jelly, cereal, doctored up ramen…this is what we eat. At night. When no one is looking. When we are beat to shit from a rough night slinging your dinners. Chef comfort food. Somewhat Related – a lot of chefs drink, might explain our odd dietary habits, amazing what sounds good after a couple drinks.
Frittata is one of those things that a home cook should really have up their sleeve, you just never know when you might find it helpful. Like when we were in California for SIL/BIL’s wedding there was a post-wedding brunch at my MIL’s house. Frittata made my morning, a moderately hungover/sleep deprived morning at that, a breeze. A variety of flavors & food for 20ish people, all hot & made fresh with little to no stress. ALL HAIL FRITTATA!!
What is a Frittata? In a nut shell it’s a quiche with no shell. Or a baked omelette. Its scrambled eggs baked with stuff and usually topped with cheese. Couldn’t really be any more easy. Or flexible. This is why we like it. Open the fridge and find leftover cold shrimp, diced tomato, green onions & some goat cheese – add a couple eggs and you have a frittata – black olives, bell pepper, ham and cheddar; onions, chicken, bacon & gouda. Have a little bit of heavy cream left? Throw it in there! Only have skim milk? That’s ok, too. Frittata is nothing if not forgiving. And sounds a lot more fancy than eggs baked with stuff in them.
This last Sunday I was standing in front of my fridge, almost time to go roust Hart, playing my favorite game, ‘What Can I Make Us for Breakfast That Will Not Involve One of Us Leaving the House’; I HAAAAATE having to go out before breakfast if I am not going out FOR breakfast so I have become pretty adept at winning this one. I found a poor, little zucchini that was the smallest of the 3 I got at the farmers market I really had no plans for, half of an onion, a hunk of cheddar cheese, also gotten at the farmers market, some eggs, the last of the milk left AFTER coffee (priorities, people) and a couple slices of bread from last night’s dinner. It was so good.
Zucchini in eggs is AWESOME. Ok…maybe I have a ‘thing’ for zucchini, at least that is what Hart keeps telling me anyway. I told him to hush his face unless he wants me to stop picking it up. He hushed his face; he likes zucchini :) Summer squash would also work here, as would eggplant although it tends to be a tad bitter for my tastes in this application. I also feel that the onion is necessary. I cook it out long enough that it pretty much dissolves so it isn’t noticeable in the frittata, but it adds a sweetness and some depth to the zucchini that would be missed without it. I add some onion in some form (onion, shallot, chives, scallion) to just about every frittata or quiche that I make, one of those ingredients that you might not know is in there but would surely miss if it weren’t.
Now I am going to give you all a recipe for this, but only because that’s kind of the point of this here site…BUT I really meant it when I said this is flexible. I also kind of think this is idiot proof. Outside of it sticking to your skillet I can’t think of any other way to screw this up. Seriously. Even if it does you are left with a pile of oddly scrambled eggs, may not look pretty but it’ll still taste good. Hints/Tips/Rules….
- You must use a non-stick skillet. I use my cast iron deep dish usually, nothing sticks to that bad boy, or a non-stick saute pan. Whatever it is must be able to go into the oven without melting a handle off and things must not want to stick to it.
- I prefer this with heavy cream, it makes the frittata lighter and more fluffy than with any other kind of dairy. That said, it isn’t necessary. Milk of any kind, half & half, even a little plain yogurt, sour cream or creme fraiche will all do the same thing. You do need to add something to lighten it up, even if it is water.
- DO NOT SALT RAW EGGS. This is a rule period, no matter what you are making. Salt has an odd effect on eggs, it makes the white break down. This is a good thing in some cases, like eggwash or for a meringue, not the case with any kind of cooked egg dish. Do not salt until they are in the pan. Ever. For frittata I season the ingredients I saute for in it, never the egg mixture itself.
- CHEESE – I find it to be necessary, but that has more to do with my cheese obsession than an actual necessity. I used a blend of extra sharp cheddar for the bite, Jarlsburg for the stringy melty awesome & fresh parm for that nutty saltiness. Cheese is very serious business, people :) Use what you like or none at all, makes no difference in the final frittata.
This recipe made a 10″ skillet, 6 nice sized wedges, to feed 4-6 people – if planning for a group I usually plan for 5 people per fritatta (4 if I am feeding a lot of men). These are also super cute when done individually in little cast iron skillets or ramekins, and much easier to manage than an omelette that has to be watched on the stove top from start to finish. Give it a try for a super easy yet interesting brunch!
Zucchini & Onion Frittata yield 1-10″ skillets worth
- 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Tbsp Butter
- 1 med-sm Zucchini, quartered & diced
- 1/2 med Sweet or White Onion, small dice
- Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper
- 8 Large Eggs
- 3/4 cup Heavy Cream (or other dairy product)
- 1 cup(ish) Shredded Cheese (I used mix of sharp cheddar, Jarlsburg & parm)
Get your oven on to 375, heat your non-stick skillet over medium high heat & get your vegetables cut up. When the pan is hot add the olive oil & butter and heat until the butter is melted and foamy. Add the onion and sweat until tender and translucent, about 4 minutes. Up the heat and get your pan hot. Add the zucchini and saute over high heat until al dente tender and the liquid is evaporated from the pan. The liquid gone is a key part; no one likes a watery frittata.
Season the zucchini with salt & pepper. While it is cooking whisk together the egg & cream. When the pan is mostly dry from zucchini juice pour the egg mixture overtop the zucchini & onion. I do this in a circular swirly thing starting from the middle, gently, so I don’t screw up the chi of the vegetables; I’m a stickler for even distribution. Sprinkle the top with your choice of cheeses, or not if that’s your thing, and get into the oven to bake.
The frittata will bake for about 20 minutes, give or take on either end, a lot of variable in that part. Start checking it around 15 minutes and go from there. The frittata is done when the center is set mostly firm when you jiggle the pan or press on it. The egg should feel cooked. If the egg doesn’t feel cooked, leave it in a little longer.
The edges should be puffy & crisped up a little. Run a spatula around the edge of the frittata to make sure it doesn’t stick. Let it rest for 5 or so minutes so it has a chance to set before cutting. I like it with some sliced tomatoes, maybe a little salad or some fruit.
Easy, fast, flexible & delicious. I use this recipe a lot for Breakfast, Brunch, Brinner or Late Night eats. It’s a great way to utilize left overs or fridge randoms in a creative way even kids will eat or stretch out a little bit into a whole meal. Pretty impressive for some baked scrambled eggs, huh?