American cooking techniques have turned Sunday brunch into a staple of our weekly diets. Of course, a good brunch is never complete without the classic frittata. This egg dish is similar to an omelet, but is often left un-flipped and makes more of an egg pie than a pocket for the fillings. With that said, a frittata is a pedestrian dish that is not prisoner to any specific recipe. However, like any other dish, there are things that work and things that don’t, and having a little culinary know-how can make all the difference.
What is a frittata?
A frittata is an egg-based Italian dish that has many similarities to an omelet or a quiche. Frittatas are chock-full of vegetables, meats, herbs and sometimes pastas to create a savory egg pie. This dish is usually cooked in a large skillet, preferably cast iron. The ingredients are allowed to cook in the pan before beaten eggs are added to create the frittata, which is then put in the oven to cook. Eggs used in a frittata are usually beaten fiercely to give the dish a lighter, airier texture. Frittatas are also cooked slower than omelets: Whereas an omelet is often made for individuals, a frittata can be made to serve many and is cut into triangular slices like a pie or cake.
A frittata is finished in the oven so that the top cooks evenly with the bottom. If you attempt to flip a frittata, it will likely come out looking more like an omelet or egg scramble. After frittatas are cooked they can be flipped out of the pan and onto a plate to be served, or slices can be spooned directly from the skillet. When cooking in a cast-iron skillet, remember to clean it directly after use.
Use your leftovers
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of a frittata is the ability to repurpose leftovers and create an entirely new dish. Have a Tupperware container with a half-portion of pasta buried in the fridge? It can easily be added to a frittata, and the eggs will even rehydrate the pasta. An advantage of this dish is that you are in control of how eggy to make it. However, if you’re looking for a good ratio to start with, Food Republic recommends using two cups of leftovers to four beaten eggs.