For the past few weeks, I’ve been on a bit of a frittata-making spree. It all started when I had some Japanese leftovers. As Rebecca pointed out a few weeks ago, finding creative ways to turn leftovers into new dishes can be a struggle. I was thinking about making a stir fry (which I don’t really know how to do) when I realized, hey—I can turn this into a frittata! Since then I’ve been making frittatas whenever I have leftovers I don’t know what to do with, like cooked spaghetti.
What is a frittata, you may be asking. Basically it’s like a quiche—a bunch of eggs, other things—but without a crust and dead easy to make. You only need three things to cook a frittata:
- A skillet
- Any other ingredient that might taste good with eggs. This includes meat, herbs, cheese, veggies, and starches. If you’re not sure if it will taste good, throw it in there anyway.
Frittatas are also perfect for brunches and parties because they can sit at room temperature for a long time without tasting gross, and can feed anywhere from two to a dozen people. It’s a loaves-and-fishes sort of thing. And if you’re looking for something to cook while you’re camping, the ingredients for frittatas can be prepped ahead of time and then poured into a skillet over a campfire. In other words, frittatas are the type of really flexible, catch-all dish every cook should have in his or her arsenal.
Because frittatas are so adaptable, you can let go of the “recipe” mindset when making them and instead follow a template with plenty of room for variation. The following is my technique for a perfect frittata:
Preheat your oven to 350 and heat oil or butter in a skillet over medium heat. You’ll be putting this in the oven, but you don’t need an oven-proof skillet; if the skillet has a rubber-insulated handle, simply wrap it in aluminum foil to keep it from melting.
Put some ingredients in the skillet to sauté while you’re prepping the eggs. This includes anything that needs to be cooked, like veggies, garlic, onions, etc.
Whisk the eggs with some milk or even hummus (optional). The number of eggs you use will depend on how many people you’re serving and the size of your skillet. I usually use three eggs for every two servings, with plenty of milk. When in doubt, add an extra egg.
Whisk ingredients into the eggs. I’ve found that cheese and herbs are best added to the egg mixture. Don’t forget salt and pepper, too!
Pour the egg mixture on top of the sautéd ingredients in the skillet. At this point you can add even MORE ingredients, like cooked potatoes or chopped tomatoes—anything that only wants to be heated through instead of sauteed. Then leave it. Walk away. Rinse off your cutting board. Let the eggs cook without stirring until the edge of the egg mixture is set and pulling away from the skillet, usually between five and ten minutes.
Move the skillet to the oven and bake until the eggs are completely set (of course, you can always flip the frittata—if you do this, let me know how it went, we can share horror stories). Depending on the size of your frittata and your oven’s peculiarities, this can take anywhere from four minutes to fifteen. Just check it every few minutes to see how the eggs are doing. They’re set when the middle is no longer runny.
Move the skillet to the broiler and let it toast until the top of the frittata is golden brown. Ideally, the eggs will start puffing up at this point, but that might not happen. Don’t panic if it doesn’t.
Take the skillet out of the oven and let cool for about five minutes. This is mainly to keep you from burning yourself and any nearby animals or children if things go awry during the last step.
Now here comes the tricky part: using a spatula, gently and gradually pull the edges of the frittata away from the skillet until it slides onto a plate or serving tray or whatever. If it doesn’t make it in one piece, curse the gods and then eat it anyway.
Easy peasy! Cut your frittata into slices like a pizza and wow your friends and neighbors, or just eat it on your own.
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