A frittata is an Italian omelet to which the add-ins (potatoes, ham, cheese, veggies, rice, what have you) are beaten directly into the eggs. Generally it’s cooked first on the stovetop, then finished under the broiler. Some people cook a frittata entirely on the stovetop, flipping it during the cooking process instead of transferring the unflipped frittata to the broiler. Some people are also circus acrobats or professional skydivers.
Frittatas are great warm, or at room temperature, happily hanging out for a couple of hours before being cut up and served. Ideal for brunch, they are a subtle way of saying “I’m not making individual omelets for all of you.” A good potluck notion and, when cut into small squares, a lovely hors d’oeuvre.
You will need a skillet that can go from stovetop to oven and stand up to the heat of the broiler, and that means one without a plastic handle. If you have one that is oven safe and nonstick, you are golden. Now, notice that the cheese choices are quite varied. Each will give you a distinctly different frittata. Start with a milder cheese you know your kids will like. The next frittata, maybe switch to a new cheese.
My kids picked at frittatas the first few times I served them. The first time they fully embraced frittatas was when I pulled out a plastic container of little frittata wedges at the park one day (these are quite portable) and within minutes a group of four kids had demolished them. Maybe it was the fresh air, maybe it was the unusual setting for such a snack, maybe it was that they were extremely hungry (reminder of critical mom tip: Try new foods when your kids are starving!), but whichever, it worked.
- 2 tablespoons (1⁄4 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 large waxy potato, such as white, red, or Yukon Gold, peeled, quartered, and thinly sliced
- 1 onion, quartered and very thinly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme, oregano, or basil, or 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, oregano, or basil
- Kosher or coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 10 large eggs
- 1⁄4 cups coarsely chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley or basil (optional)
- 1/2 cups shredded or crumbled cheese, such as cheddar, provolone, Monterey Jack, mozzarella, feta, Parmesan, or goat cheese
1. Preheat the broiler with the rack set about 4 inches away from the heat source.
2. Melt the butter over medium heat in a medium-size (10-inch) broiler-proof skillet. Add the potato, onion, and the 1⁄2 teaspoon of dried thyme, oregano, or basil, if using, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover the skillet and cook the potato and onion until they are beginning to become tender, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat if it seems like the vegetables are starting to burn. Uncover the skillet and cook the vegetables until they are tender and turning golden, about 4 minutes longer.
3. Meanwhile, place the eggs, parsley, and 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme, oregano, or basil, if using, in a medium-size bowl and whisk to combine well. Season the egg mixture with salt and pepper to taste. When the vegetables are ready, pour the eggs into the skillet and stir to combine everything. Let the frittata cook until the eggs start to set on the bottom. Reduce the heat to medium-low and, using a spatula, gently lift the edge of the frittata so that the uncooked eggs run underneath those that are set on the bottom. Do this every couple of minutes until the frittata is pretty much set on the bottom but the top and middle are still a bit runny.
4. Sprinkle the cheese over the top of the frittata and place the skillet under the broiler. Broil the frittata until it is set, the cheese is melted, and the whole top is lightly golden, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove the skillet from the broiler and let the frittata sit for a minute or two on a heatproof surface. Leave a dishtowel draped over the handle of the skillet to remind yourself that the handle is hot!
5. Run a spatula or knife around the edge of the skillet to loosen the frittata. You can cut it into wedges and serve it directly from the skillet. Or carefully slide the whole thing onto a serving plate, using a spatula to help guide the frittata out, then cut it into wedges.
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