i think to say that whoever invented the frittata is a genius is not an overstatement. i mean, it’s the perfect food in so many ways. it’s the perfect food to meal prep at the start of the week, it’s the best use for leftovers, it’s healthy and filling and can be served for breakfast, lunch and dinner (and i’m sure i’ve eaten it for all 3 some days when i’ve been lazy). there are so many variations that i can never get bored of eating them.
i grew up eating my dad’s frittata and his is still by far my favourite. he makes a classic italian frittata with potato, cheese and my nona’s cured sausage and takes the time to cut everything in perfect cubes so each bite is filled with the perfect ratio of ingredients. and well, my dad made it and he’s the best so his just rules.
italians have been eating frittata for ages, since eggs were plentiful back in the day and it’s a good use for leftovers (it’s a common use for leftover pasta too – not just veggies!). the word frittata is derived from the word fritta which means “fried”, which references its method of cooking, and it’s the the down to earth, humble type of foods italians actually cook in their homes.
a few tips to making the perfect frittata:
- make sure to not over beat the eggs – only whisk until the whites and the yolks are combined, or the frittata will rise in the oven and then fall and become dense once it cools.
- dairy and fat are your friends. i know frittatas can be a healthy choice, and you can be tempted to make them with egg whites and no added fat, but a) fat isn’t bad for you unless you want to be a body builder or something and b) fat will keep the egg creamy and decadent. you can use anything from whole milk to sour cream – just don’t use anything that’s skim or non fat – it will just make your eggs watery! also, remember that ratios are important – 1/2 cup dairy to every dozen eggs (and scale up or down as needed).
- if you’re not using leftover ingredients, make sure to fully cook them before adding the eggs. veggies will release water when you cook them, and wet ingredients will add too much moisture to your eggs, and no one wants a watery frittata. also – browning creates flavour, something of which you can never have too much.
- seasoning! this is a golden rule with anything you’re cooking – your mantra should always be season early and season often, but especially when you’re cooking something like eggs. eggs need salt to enhance their flavour. make sure to season the ingredients as you cook them, but also be aware of the salt content of certain ingredients like pancetta.
- don’t over bake! you want your frittata to be creamy and custard like in the center, not spongey. take it out of the oven just before the middle is fully set (especially if using a cast iron pan, as it retains heat and will continue cooking the egg as it cools down).
sausage, mushroom & caramelized onion frittata
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced
1-2 hot italian sausages, casings removed
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt & pepper
set a cast iron pan over medium-low head. add the olive oil and onions, season with salt and pepper, and cook for at least 30 minutes until browned and caramelized.
remove the onions from the pan and set aside. brown the sausage over medium high heat until cooked through, remove with a slotted spoon, and wipe some of the excess fat from the pan. add the mushrooms and cook until browned and most of the water has been released and evaporated.
turn the oven on to broil. bring the heat to low, and add the sausage and onions back to the pan, season with salt, pepper and a pinch of chilli flakes and mix so everything is distributed evenly. gently whisk the eggs and cream until just combined, then pour over the ingredients in the pan. sprinkle parmesan cheese over top.
cook on low heat until edges are starting to set, then pop in the oven for about 3-4 minutes until center is just set and top is browned. remove from oven and let cool slightly. cut into wedges and serve with a salad, between slices of bread for a panini, or let come to room temperature and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.