Are you frantic, frazzled, and fearful of the new frenetic back-to-school schedule? Are you as shocked as I am at the fast-pace at which fall is running towards us while summer seems to just be drifting away? In the midst of all the chaos, fast and flavorful dinners that multi-task as breakfast or lunch are key to surviving the madness. That’s exactly the role a frittata can play. But somehow, I frequently forget about this kissing cousin to a quiche.
What is a Frittata?
After a bit of research, it seems that frittatas are the Italian version of an omelet. Essentially, you prepare a mixture of eggs with vegetables, cream, and cheese, pour it in an oven-proof skillet and bake it. Couldn’t be any easier. The end result is similar to the egg part of a quiche, but less creamy and a bit more eggy. What you add for flavor is flexible – it’s a great dish to make when you need to clean out your veggie or cheese drawer.
A Frittata Sandwich
I started cooking frittatas about a year ago when I purchased the ‘wichcraft cookbook by Tom Colicchio who owns a restaurant chain of the same name that sells off-the-charts fantastic sandwiches. One that caught my eye was an onion frittata with roasted tomato and cheddar.
They list it under breakfast sandwiches but I’ve made it for dinner several times. Below, I’ll give you a basic recipe for a frittata that I’ve adapted from their sandwich recipe. Be creative with this dish – it is hard to go wrong as long as the flavors work together.
The Basic Technique
In the skillet you’ll be baking the frittata in, sauté the base flavors such as the pancetta or bacon and then the onions, herbs, tomatoes.
Once the sautéed items have cooled just a bit, you add them to the egg mixture and then put it all back in the skillet and then into the oven to bake. A simple technique that you can modify easily to fit the ingredients you have available in your home. Don’t forget frittatas to help you tackle the frantic and fast-paced fall schedule!
Flavorful Flexible Frittatas
- 10 inch skillet oven-proof
- 1 cup diced pancetta
- 1 medium shallot
- 3 green onions
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
- 1/2 cup sliced cherry tomatoes regular tomatoes, or roasted tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence optional
- 8 large eggs
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup shredded cheddar
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees regular or convection
- Saute the pancetta in the 10 inch skillet on medium heat. When the fat is rendered and they are crispy and brown, remove from pan, put on a paper towel to drain, and wipe most of the pancetta fat out of the pan.
- While the pancetta is browning, chop the shallot, green onion, thyme, oregano, and tomato.
- Once the pancetta is removed from the skillet, add the diced green onion and shallot to the pan and sauté for a minute or two, still on medium heat.
- Add the diced tomatoes, chopped thyme, oregano, and Herbes de Provence (if using) and sauté until the tomatoes soften - another 2 minutes or so. Take off the heat.
- In a medium bowl, mix the eggs, cream, parmesan and cheddar cheese, and salt and pepper. Add the diced pancetta and onion mixture from the pan. Mix together and add back to the skillet.
- If you are not using a non-stick skillet, a little butter or olive oil in the bottom of the skillet before the eggs are added back in might be wise.
- Bake at 300 degrees regular for about 30 minutes or 300 degrees convection for 20 minutes.
- Once it is cooled slightly, remove from the pan onto a surface that you can cut on and slice as desired into pie shapes or square if making a sandwich.
- There are many ways to speed up or modify this recipe. Regular onion can be used in place of the green onion and shallot. Fresh chives can be added for color and flavor instead of or in addition to the green onion and or shallots.
- Spinach can be added fresh to the egg mixture or sauteed for a couple of minutes to wilt with the onion mixture.
- Instead of fresh tomatoes, sundried tomatoes right out of a jar would work great as would already made roasted tomatoes or roasted red peppers (or both).
- Have leftover roasted vegetables - chop and add them in.
- Vegetarian? Leave out the pancetta. Be sure to sub in some olive oil where I suggested using a bit of the rendered pancetta fat. Bacon would also work well instead of pancetta.
- I also think that half and half or even milk can sub in for the heavy cream and certainly you can play around with the cheeses that you use. That's why I called it a flavorful and flexible frittata!!!