The humble frittata
There are many reasons to love the frittata, which is basically a cheesy omelette that's cooked or finished in the oven.
Unlike the regular stove-top omelette, you can put so much more stuff in frittatas, because you don't have to worry about folding or flipping it since the oven heats/cooks it evenly. It's also really really flexible: put anything you freakin' want in it. Meat, veg, leftover spaghetti (yes, really) sauce and all. It's great for using up leftovers in general, can be served hot or cold, and you can adjust it to serve just yourself or a group of people. It can look and taste really gourmet depending on the ingredients you use, but at the same time it can be an easy and really cheap dish you can whip up in 5 minutes on a dreary winter morning for breakfast. This college student loves that last one!
In short: frittatas, they are awesome. Here's a basic frittata recipe to start you off:
Frittata (makes 2 servings)
- 6 eggs
- 3/4 cup fresh baby spinach
- 1 red pepper/capsicum, sliced into strips
- 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1/2 cup grated mozzarella
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- salt and pepper to taste
1) Pre-heat oven to 180C (350F).
2) In an oven-safe skillet (like a cast iron pan or just a skillet with a metal handle instead of plastic) saute sliced pepper and mushrooms. When cooked, take off the heat and add the spinach to the pan.
3) In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and then add the cheese, salt, and pepper, stirring to combine.
4) Pour mixture over the veggies in the skillet. Make sure egg mixture covers everything and is evenly distributed. Bake for 15 minutes, and then slide it out onto a plate and serve.
Now that you have a basic recipe to start off with, you can make all sorts of changes:
- use different cheeses, depending on your taste or availability: gruyere, cottage, ricotta, etc. You don't have to be exact with measuring it either. Just add as much as you like. You can also sprinkle some parmesan over the frittata in the last 5 minutes of cooking for some extra cheesiness. Hell, sometimes I don't even use cheese!
- use it to get rid of leftover ingredients or small servings of meals, like a single serving of spaghetti that you either can't use for a meal for four, or that you just can't stand the sight of anymore because you've had spaghetti 3 days in a row. Heh. Personally, I like it for using up my last serving or half serving of roast vegetables, because I usually make quite a bit of that at a time.
- some other veg you can use (make sure they are cooked before adding the egg mix) are: asparagus, onions, zucchini, potato, pumpkin, kale, garlic shoots, spring onions, tomato, pitted olives, sundried tomatoes, beansprouts.
- you don't have to use fresh veggies. Nuke up some frozen stir-fry veg mix if you like, to save on prep time and expense, and toss them in.
- play with the number of eggs, or even the ratio of whole eggs to egg whites if you are concerned about calories or cholesterol. I like my eggs fresh, not reheated, so for breakfast I just use one whole egg and two egg whites, rather than make a big frittata to get two/three meals from. Then I cut the cooking time in the oven down to 10 minutes. Be warned that they brown quicker when you use egg whites instead of whole eggs, though.
- make up your favourite quiche recipe and pour it into the skillet, or quiche/tart pan, for a crustless quiche.
- add meat! Cold cuts, shredded chicken, stir fried meat, sliced steak, and so on.
The possibilities are endless. The basic method of the frittata is: cook what needs to be cooked other than the egg mix, add egg mix, stick it in the oven. The rest you can make up as you see fit!