FRITTATA: A SIMPLE, ELEGANT, & ROMANTIC MEAL

Four simple ingredients. The gateway to a romantic and satisfying meal.

Four simple ingredients. The gateway to a romantic and satisfying meal.

As Valentine’s Day nears, it’s time for another romantic recipe. You may remember that last year we explored the wonder of a sweet omelet. I don’t know about you, but omelets can sometimes be a bit tricky. Not making them, but folding them so they come out looking right. That’s where the omelet’s Italian cousin come in handy.

The way I see it, a frittata is nothing more than a variation on the omelet. Or should I say an improvement on an omelet. Not only do they do away with the ‘futz factor’ when it comes to folding but  they also have kind of a multi-use function built right into them.

We have been given to understand that a slice frittata is a common lunchtime meal enjoyed by millions of Italians every year. Now, when I first thought of eating room temperature eggs, my mind rather rebelled at the idea. I mean, sweet Japanese omelet (Tamago) is one thing because it’s part of my sushi regimen but cold frittata? Let me put your mind to rest dear reader. A room temperature slice of frittata and a green salad make a wonderfully satisfying and extremely tasty meal.

You can literally put anything into a frittata. We have made ham, onion, and Swiss cheese (think Quiche Lorraine without the pastry crust) ground beef, bacon, onion, and cheddar (the infamous cheeseburger frittata), and even cheese and onion with warm red enchilada sauce over it (it’s a cross between cheese enchiladas and chiliquillas – that delightful egg dish from Mexico). Today we share with you one of our favorites. It is loosely based on an omelet from Fat Albert’s.

Permit me to digress a moment here. If you are ever in Portland, OR and are in need of the best breakfast in town; head over to the Sellwood District and treat yourself to a meal at Fat Albert’s. They have really good coffee, biscuits so light that they should come with a restraining net to keep them from floating off, some of the most creative egg dishes on the face of the planet; all served up in a friendly neighborhood atmosphere. This is not the place for you if you’re in a rush. It’s a small café with limited staff. Everything is made to order so it takes time – but time that’s worth it.

Our frittata is inspired by their ‘Kim’s Fav’ omelet. It makes four servings so, breakfast and lunch or a light romantic dinner for two. Like we said, with a green salad (and a glass of crisp white wine), you’ll have a romantic dinner (or picnic) that leaves you sated but not weighed down.

THE ‘KIM’S FAV INSPIRED FRITTATA

  • 4 eggs
  • half an avocado diced
  • about a  cup cubed ham (you can also use several rashers of medium crisply cooked bacon here)
  • about a cup of cubed sharp cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your broiler.

Using a 9 inch pan that can safely go from stove top to broiler, pre-warm it on the stove top with sufficient oil, ghee (the best because it doesn’t burn and gives a buttery flavor to the frittata), etc to help form an egg ‘crust’ that doesn’t stick to the pan. (as always, we recommend using cast iron. It cooks better and gives you a lovely ‘crust’ which you really want here.) Keep the pan temperature to the medium low side. You don’t want the eggs cooking too quickly. We cannot emphasize this enough. If the pan is too hot, the frittata will be ruined.

Take the cubed ham, cheese and avocado and toss them in a bowl until they are fairly evenly mixed. Be careful to not mash the avocado.

Just before covering. Note that the egg is already setting on the edges.

Just before covering. Note that the egg is already setting on the edges.

Lightly mix the eggs. The secret to tender scrambled eggs and perfect frittatas is to NOT overbeat the eggs. Just break the yolks and mix them until they are yellow threads throughout the whites.

Get everything to the stove side before proceeding.

Pour the eggs into the pan.

Quickly add in the cubed ingredients and give them a stir with a fork. You just want to kind of coat the cubes with egg. This is important to getting a good texture to your frittata.

Cover the pan with a lid and let it cook about 3 – 5 minutes on medium low. The edges should look like soft scrambled eggs and the center should still appear a bit liquid.

Remove from the stove top and pop it under the broiler. Check it frequently (burnt eggs are a horror!)

The broiler is going to firm up the top of the frittata and give you a lovely browned all around ‘crust’.

Be careful to not overdo the cooking time on frittatas. They don’t need to be cooked until it looks’dry’. All the cubes of cheese and avocado become very hot and cook the surrounding egg to done but not dry.

Remove the frittata pan from the oven and let it sit on a hot pad or cooling rack for a couple minutes before cutting. This allows the egg to finish firming up. Again, the virtue of cast iron cookware. Cast iron gets so hot that it continues to cook even after being removed from the heat.

Browned and ready to cut. This was made in a 9" skillet and will serve four very nicely.

Browned and ready to cut. This was made in a 9″ skillet and will serve four very nicely.

Take a pie server and gently tease the edges of the frittata away from the pan sides. This will ensure a cleaner and prettier edge. Cut the frittata into quarters, garnish with chopped fresh parsley, and serve.

Frittatas are very rich food. A relatively small slice goes a very long way. Consider serving with fresh fruit or crusty buttered toast at breakfast time.

This is a very simple yet romantic and elegant dish to serve and enjoy. Happy Valentine’s Day and remember to experiment with different fillings for your frittatas. Maybe a Joe’s Special with spinach,  onion, mushrooms, ground beef or sweet Italian sausage, and cheese? Or…..

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