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What Is a Frittata?

What Is a Frittata?

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Everything you need to know about this healthy Italian egg dish

Don’t be intimidated by the word frittata. It may sound like some fancy Italian dish that only Mario Batali could perfect and any attempt by us mere mortals would pale in comparison, but this is not the case! This is an extremely easy, healthy, and economical dish that you can eat for any meal of the day. It is a very flexible egg dish similar to a French quiche, an American omelette, or a Spanish tortilla española. Frittatas generally consist of eggs, vegetables, milk, and herbs.

When making a frittata, you can throw in any extra vegetables or meat you may have in the kitchen. There are no set vegetables or meats that are required to be in the dish. The word frittata derives from the word friggere in Italian, which means "to fry." A frittata is never folded over as a French omelette is, but instead is cooked until the top layer is set and then served in wedges.

Click here to see The Perfect Frittata Recipe.

Making this dish is very simple as long as you have an ovenproof skillet. First, sauté whatever veggies you are putting into the dish and heat through the already-cooked leftovers such as meat. Then, it is important to swiftly beat the eggs, which will make the frittata have an airy quality. Mix in the milk and herbs, and cook all ingredients in the skillet for about five minutes. Immediately, put the skillet into the broiler until the top layer browns. Frittatas are frequently topped with cheese, which adds a nice crispiness to the top. This dish is remarkably fast, easy, and tasty. It’s an exceptional way to enjoy your leftovers!

How to Make 6 High-Protein Frittatas Using All the Canned Foods You Have Stocked

There's no limit to what ingredients you can toss into the fan-favorite frittata.

You can add just about anything into this versatile version of eggs — including all the canned goods you've stockpiled in your pantry over the last few months — and you can guarantee it'll taste like a gourmet meal.

Are You Getting Enough Protein?

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Ready to fry up your fluffiest frittata? These six simple, dietitian-approved frittata recipes all pack 10 grams of protein or more and use up those canned foods you already have on hand.

Basic Frittata Equation

12 large eggs + 1/3 cup heavy cream + 2 cups filling + 1 cup cheese

  • The eggs are the foundation ingredient. Using a dozen eggs will yield a frittata that feeds 6 to 8 people.
  • The cream is essential to making the frittata rich and tender. But if you don’t have cream, you can substitute milk, half-and-half or even sour cream.
  • The fillings give your frittata personality. Certain fillings need to be cooked prior to being added to the eggs (onion, garlic, raw meat) while others can simply be stirred into the eggs without cooking (fresh herbs, leafy greens, deli meats).
  • The cheese helps add flavor and a creaminess that will have you running back for more. Choose just one type of cheese or toss in a few different types.



How Omelets Are Made

Omelets are made entirely on the stovetop, and the eggs are folded around fillings like vegetables, meat, and cheese. In addition to using quality ingredients, the key to a good omelet is using a small nonstick omelet pan or frying pan.

To make an omelet, well-beaten eggs are added to the pan and treated to a few rounds of being moved around and lightly scrambled, then left to set. Once the eggs start to set after a couple minutes, the filling is added across the center, and the eggs are folded over the filling either in half or in thirds.

Omelets are usually made to serve one, so while they can be more time-consuming to make for a crowd than a frittata, they can be easily customized to the recipient’s preferences for fillings.

Start your frittata in an oiled non-stick skillet. You need a non-stick skillet for this, since we’ll be flipping this thing all around. No buts. No exceptions. You’ll also need a silicon spatula. Pour your mix of eggs and fillers into the skillet, heated over medium heat. A good ratio to keep the egg-to-pan relationship manageable is eight eggs for a medium-sized pan.

Once the eggs start to cook, you should start pushing the curds to the middle of the skillet, lifting the flat surface on the bottom and letting the raw, liquid eggs move to the outside. This ensures that all of the eggs in the pan cook at the same rate. Do this frequently. Your eggs will appreciate it.

“An ideal lunch, snack or light dinner from leftovers that can be prepared in advance. This recipe is very versatile and can easily be adapted to what you have on hand.”

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How can you tell when a frittata is done?

It is important not to cover-cook your oven frittata to achieve light, fluffy, creamy perfection. Cook the frittata until the cheese is melted and the center is set and jiggles ever so slightly – do NOT cook the frittata until the top is golden – a golden exterior means an over-baked interior.

To check for doneness, use a knife, rather than a toothpick, to cut into the center of the frittata. If raw eggs run into the cut, then it needs a few more minutes if the cut stays clear, then the frittata is done and should be removed from the oven right away.

How to Make the Best Frittata

Frittatas are easy to master, promise. The perfect frittata should be creamy and soft in the middle, not sponge-like or dry.

When making frittatas, use an oven-safe, non-stick skillet or a well-seasoned cast iron pan. Everything is cooked in the skillet, so the non-stick qualities help when removing slices for serving.

If you don’t have a skillet that’s appropriate for the oven, you can bake it in a 2-quart baking dish instead. Scroll down for our tips for making a frittata in a casserole dish.

Since you can add just about anything to this, here’s our easy frittata recipe (we use a 10-inch skillet):

  • Ten large eggs
  • Five tablespoons full-fat dairy like cream (see below for more suggestions)
  • Two to three cups cooked add-ins like vegetables and meats
  • Four to five ounces of cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt and 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • A handful of fresh herbs

The ten eggs to 10-inch skillet ratio get you a not-too-thick, but not-too-thin frittata, but if you only have a 12-inch skillet, don’t worry! It will be a bit thinner, and it might cook a little bit quicker, but it will still be excellent. For a 12-inch skillet, you can also add two more eggs to the mix and increase the dairy to 6 tablespoons. It’s up to you.

For the Best Frittata, Use Full-Fat Dairy

We aren’t the only one preaching this one. Look around the internet, and you’ll see that most recipes call for full-fat dairy.

If you’ve seen our method for creamy scrambled eggs, you know that we advise that you don’t add anything to the eggs. No cream, no milk, just the eggs, salt, and pepper.

Well, frittatas are a little different. Remember how we are looking for that custard-like center? It’s the full-fat dairy that gets us there. Lower fat dairy won’t get you the creamy, custardy texture we’re looking for. Instead, it will be drier and sponge-like. Here are some suggestions for what dairy to whisk into your eggs:

  • Heavy cream or half-and-half
  • Whole milk
  • Whole milk ricotta cheese
  • Sour cream or crème fraîche
  • Mascarpone cheese

What Cheese Should I Use?

It’s the cheese that makes frittatas extra delicious. Use a flavorful, melty, and oozy cheese in the egg mixture. Try shredded cheddar, Gruyere (my favorite) or fontina.

For more cheese action, dollop a creamy cheese like ricotta, cream cheese or goat cheese right into the skillet. The creamy cheese won’t mix into the frittata, but after its baked, you’ll have pockets of gooey cheese throughout. Yum!

How to Cook Them

When it comes to cooking a frittata, we use the traditional method by starting on the stovetop and then finishing in the oven:

  • Start cooking it on the stovetop — for about 1 minute. When the outside edges of the frittata turn a lighter color, and they start to set, slide the skillet into a preheated oven to finish cooking.
  • Finish cooking in the oven. We use a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven and bake somewhere between twenty and thirty minutes. Keep an eye on the frittata as it cooks, play it safe and check it a few minutes before it’s supposed to be done. You are not looking for a brown top, just one that looks cooked and barely set.

As I mentioned above, you can bake frittatas in a baking dish:

  • Cook your vegetables and mix-ins (like sausage or bacon) in advance.
  • Add the mix-ins and the egg mixture to a lightly greased two-quart baking dish and bake in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven until the top looks barely set and when you wiggle the baking dish, the frittata jiggles ever-so-slightly. (A 9-inch square casserole dish works well).

You can add just about anything to your frittata, but let’s focus on this vegetable version for a minute, okay? You can substitute most vegetables in this recipe. Just keep the following tips in mind:

  • Use fresh or leftover vegetables.
  • For fresh vegetables, cook them before mixing with the eggs. Heartier veggies like onion, potatoes and winter squash will take longer to pre-cook than tender greens like kale, spinach or Swiss chard.
  • For leftover vegetables, reheat them in the skillet before adding the egg mixture.
  • Add fresh herbs like basil, chives or parsley. You can do this two ways: whisk them into the egg mixture or scatter them on top of the cooked frittata.

You can serve frittatas straight from the oven or cold — both are delicious. You can even reheat leftovers for a minute in the microwave. Cooked frittatas store well, wrapped in the refrigerator for two to three days. We don’t recommend freezing them since the freezer changes the texture of the dish.

The Differences

In the strictest sense, the difference between the omelet and the frittata boils down to a matter of folding the cooked egg around the filling versus mixing the filling into the raw egg mixture. But there are a few other distinctions as well.

  • To make an omelet, the eggs are whisked just until blended before cooking when making a frittata, the egg mixture is whisked vigorously to help create the custard-like consistency.
  • Both sides of the frittata are cooked while just the underside of the omelet touches the pan.
  • A frittata is cooked slowly over low heat while an omelet is cooked quickly over higher heat.
  • Whereas omelets are served hot straight from the stove, frittatas are often served at room temperature, making them perfect to make ahead for brunches or larger groups.

Their origins also differ. The omelet is French and has a long history dating back to perhaps as early as the 14th century. There is a legend that after eating an omelet for the first time made by a town's innkeeper, Napoleon Bonaparte ordered the people of the town to gather all of the eggs and make a giant omelet for his army to enjoy. The frittata is what some people call an "Italian omelet," although the word frittata comes from the word "friggere" and roughly means fried. This egg dish's origin is a bit unclear and may have been influenced by the Spanish tortilla (layered potatoes with an egg base). It does seem, however, that it is not a dish you will find on menus in Italy, but more of a last-minute meal a home cook puts together using leftover ingredients.

Sunday Frittata

In a large oven-proof non-stick skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for several minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and golden brown. Add diced potato, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and stir to cook with the onion for a couple of minutes. Add the kale and stir to cook about 1 minute. Finally, add the roasted red peppers and olives and stir until everything is hot.

Make sure all the ingredients are evenly distributed across the bottom of the skillet, then pour in the egg mixture so that it evenly coats everything. Let it sit on the burner for 30-45 seconds to set the edges, then put the skillet in the oven.

Watch the frittata as it cooks. Let it cook in the oven for 10-12 minutes until the eggs are set but remove it before the eggs brown very much on top.

Slide the frittata out of the skillet and onto a cutting board. With a long serrated knife, slice it into wedges and serve warm with fresh fruit.

NOTE: Use any ingredients you want! Mushrooms, leeks, different cheeses, tomatoes, zucchini, squash, bell peppers. Have fun!

I done came home from church yesterday and done made myself a dang frittata! Marlboro Man had taken the girls to the big city to a soccer game, and since the boys had had a big breakfast, they weren&rsquot in the mood for lunch.

I, however, was most certainly in the mood for lunch. Because&hellipwhen am I ever not in the mood for lunch? And so, after spotting a few half-empty and leftover ingredients in my fridge, I knew I had no choice but to whip up a frittata.

A frittata, my friends, is basically a crustless quiche, and one of the glorious things about is is that you cook the filling ingredients and bake the frittata in the same skillet. Super simple, super easy.

Another huge advantage to frittatas is that you can use up a whole bunch of random leftover ingredients that might be languishing in your fridge. You&rsquoll see what I used here in a sec, but there&rsquos no limit to what you can throw in. So use this recipe only as a general guide. Change up the cheeses, veggies, add meats&helliphave some fun!

Oh! And speaking of the skillet: While you could fight with a regular skillet and try to get the frittata not to stick, having a good, ovenproof nonstick skillet really is essential with it comes to making a frittata. Being able to slide it right out of the pan and slice it up while it&rsquos still warm is the way to go!