I make a lot of frittatas
They're great as brunch or an inexpensive dinner. Cook once and reheat throughout the week. Break up a piece to fill your tortilla or sandwich between toast. They're simply the best. Especially for someone with neglected ingredients in the refrigerator and hates to let anything go to waste
Sometimes, it's recipes like this that I hesitate to write about. Which, feels a bit silly to admit.
I mean, it's not going to comfort you when you're sick. It's not going to help if you came home with too many veggies from the farmers market. It's not the back-of-the-box cake you hope for when a birthday rolls around. It's not even the life-changing artisan mustard I've been meaning to tell you about for a couple of years now.
I was about to say that it didn't make the unconquerable in the kitchen conquerable, except that might not be true. This, in fact, did exactly that last Thursday evening, when someone sent me a link to the recipe that morning and we had it on the table by dinnertime. No small feat for a weeknight.
Once you have the basics down, it's easy to customize your own
The key to avoiding a waterlogged frittata is to cook off some of the water first. Think roasting or sauteeing. This also includes greens, although they require a lot less time. Meat needs to be cooked in advance as well.
A ratio of two eggs per person is a nice rule of thumb. A four egg frittata for two is great in an 8″ pan, four to six people in a 10″ pan, and scale-up from there. The thicker the frittata, the longer the baking time.
To minimize clean-up, use an oven-proof nonstick or well-seasoned cast-iron pan. No worries if you don't have one, the whole thing can easily be baked in an oven-proof dish. I wonder, though, would it then fall into the “egg bake” category, but it seems all the same.
Texture – A good frittata will have the texture of custard – wobbly and barely set at the same time, light, and fluffy.
Cooking Technique – I like to start my frittatas on the stovetop (over low to medium heat), cooking until the edges have set, the interior is thick and custardy, and the surface is a little bit runny. From there, I'll sprinkle some cheese and finish it off with a couple of minutes under the broiler. One other trick? Grease your pan first with clarified butter (or a high smoke point oil) to avoid burning the bottom
If cooking your frittata in the oven, just give the middle a little tap from time to time. Take it out when it’s no longer liquidy, and the edges are golden brown. Let it stand 5 minutes before slicing.
Dairy – The secret to a frittata's creamy, fluffy texture. Without it, yours will cook up flatter and far more dense. As a rule of thumb, use 1/4 cup of dairy for every six eggs.
Cheese – In the filling, I tend toward cheeses that leave little pockets of creaminess like goat cheese, cheddar, gruyère, fontina, and (in this case) mozzarella. Harder, aged cheeses, like Parmesan or Pecorino Romano, are best saved for a sharp wallop of flavor on top. Plus, you'll love their frico-like effect – the thin crunch of broiled cheese you get before biting into all of the greens and egg goodness below.
Prep – Let's say you're hosting brunch the following morning (or it's just a Monday). Whisk all your eggs, dairy, and seasonings in a bowl you can keep covered in the fridge. Have all your add-ins cooked and ready (sauteed veggies, cooked sausage, roasted tomatoes, whatever). Pull them all out while preheating the oven, gently warm the pan with the filings in it, and proceed with the recipe from there.
A few of my go-to combinations
Spinach + artichoke + feta cheese
Sauteed mushrooms + greens + goat cheese
Cherry tomatoes + zucchini + mozzarella + basil
Roasted tomatoes + greens + pesto + goat cheese
Sauteed zucchini + peppers + tomatoes + red onion + feta
Potatoes + bacon + greens + white cheddar
Thinner frittatas are more traditional, but I especially like a dinner version that has a little bulk, and this perfectly fits the bill. The recipe calls for frozen spinach; however, I think any number of green vegetables would work here: sauteed kale, etc. It’s the kind of thing that doesn’t require a whole lot of advance planning. I mean, thank goodness.
What I wouldn’t skimp on is the Parmesan. I realize it's heavy on the cheese, and if you must, skip the half the goes inside the frittata, but don’t skip the broiled part. That’s the salty/crunchy/frico finish, and Thursday night dinners would be so much duller without it.
~ Adapted from The Washington Post
Cheesy Spinach Frittata
- 2 (10 oz) packages frozen spinach, defrosted
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic
- 6 eggs (large or XL)
- ¼ cup whole milk, heavy cream or crème fraîche
- 1 cup (4 oz) shredded, low-moisture mozzarella, divided
- ½ cup (2 oz) grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- salt + freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp clarified butter
- ⅓ cup (~ 3 ounces) ricotta cheese
- roughly chopped fresh basil, for garnish (optional)
- In a saucepan over low to medium heat, add spinach, along with a strong pinch of salt, cover, and cook until it's warmed through and released any liquid (~ 3 - 5 minutes.) Remove from the heat, drain, and set aside.
- In a 10" cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil and garlic cloves, stirring until the cloves have turned a deep golden color (~ 5 minutes). Discard the garlic.
- Add the spinach and a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring, so the spinach picks up all the garlicky oil, about 1 minute. Transfer the spinach to a plate.
- Wipe out the pan and preheat the broiler.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and milk.
- Add half of the mozzarella, half of the Parmesan, a few generous pinches of salt, and two or three grinds of black pepper. Whisk until thoroughly incorporated.
- Add the spinach to the cheesy egg mix. Whisk again to combine
- Using the same pan over medium heat, melt the clarified butter until it starts to foam but doesn’t start to brown. Briefly re-whisk the egg mixture and pour it into the pan. Give the batter a few stirs with a rubber spatula to make sure the spinach is evenly distributed
- Decrease the heat to low and let the frittata cook, shaking the pan occasionally until only the surface remains runny (~8-10 minutes). The edges should be completely set, and the interior should be thickened and custardy.
- Dot the top of the frittata with the ricotta and sprinkle it with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.
- Transfer the pan to the oven and broil for about 2 minutes, until the top sets and the cheese melts and forms a golden brown crown.
- Transfer the frittata to a wire rack and let cool until warm or at room temperature. Slice and serve
I love making frittatas. Such a great way for me to clean out my random produce odds and ends. Everything is suddenly better when covered with eggs and cheese -and even those in the family who may not always love their spinach and veggies, will totally go for it when buried in the frittata. Yours is so pretty – pinned!
When we were in Spain a few years ago, they had sandwich frittatas which I just couldn’t get over. It just seemed like too much for me, even though a runny egg sandwich is one of the more divine breakfast foods out there. (Nothing beats chilaquiles, though.) We have a lot of greens in this week’s CSA and am pleased to report the two-year old is happy to have scrambled eggs for dinner. This will be on the menu at some point this week. Thanks!
If you had to make this with cheese besides Parmesan, what would you use? Looks delicious except for someone ate all of the Parm and it wasn’t even the dog 🙂
Other cheese — Any kind that you like. I think a Pecorino or a Gruyere/Comte/Swiss could be good too, although they may not get as crispy on top.
Great recipe and stunning photos!
(And again, I wanted to give it 5 but only was allowed 3 stars! 🙁
Thank you! 🙂
A friend/former colleague of mine used to bring asparagus frittatas in to work, along with great, crusty Italian bread. Such a simple meal and soooo good. She would saute garlic in a little olive oil, add the chopped, par-boiled asparagus and then the eggs with lots of Parmesan mixed in with the eggs. She didn’t always put Parmesan on top, but I sometimes do. It’s a go-to for a quick, healthy and delicious dinner.
A wedge of cold frittata, with a sprinkle of flaky salt is an excellent running-out-the-door breakfast!
Where would we be without fritatta for dinner? If you put enough green stuff in them you can almost get away without making a salad!
Saw this recipe late this afternoon and made it for dinner – with frozen kale instead of spinach. (Even with a fussy bad-day toddler under foot). Delicious! I always love the recipes you curate here on the blog. Thanks, Ali!
Goat cheese is my ultimate frittata ingredient. How is it so tangy and creamy and sweet and sour all at the same time? I am obsessed!
Thanks for the recipe, I was stuck for dinner tonight!
Frittatas happen to be one of those things I keep telling myself to make more of but just don’t seem to get round to. But this just looks so damn delicious! I will definitely have to give this a try, thank you!
Beautiful frittata, Ali! A few years ago, I started a tradition with my family – at every holiday gathering, I make a frittata for brunch. It’s the easiest, tastiest, crowdpleasingest treat and you can do them a million different ways. My favorite is spinach, leek and goat cheese with thinly sliced, well-spiced baby potatoes for a crust. Yum!
I’ve had frittata on my mind since last week and it’s so great that you posted this! Took myself out for a French lunch on my birthday and they have an omelette du jour – it was roasted beet and bleu cheese that day. I was thinking that would make a delicious frittata, so now I have some experimenting to do! Butternut and feta is another combo I want to try
I find it interesting that thinner frittatas are considered more traditional. As an Italian, I can safely guarantee that frittata is one of those recipes with an ‘eff it’ attitude, that everybody can customize to their own taste. Frittatas bulked with veggies are awesome!
And, sure enough, frittata sandwiches are a national favorite (I even wrote about them myself). It was my mom’s favorite lunch when she was a kid when in the poor Italian countryside eggs and bread were pretty much the only things they had.
I am so happy that such a simple food from our tradition became a worldwide favorite!
(and, I know it’s not the lightest frittata, but have you ever tried and onion + sausage + truffle paste frittata? It makes quite a statement. Veggie options can substitute the sausage with mushrooms!)