Sunday, September 8, 2013

Creamy Frittata

I've always liked frittatas, along with similar dishes like quiche and omelettes. But the eggs turned out so creamy in my own first attempt at a frittata* that I've become a new devotee. That frittatas' ingredients and technique are pretty simple to execute is another point in their favor. I've been exploring Italian cuisine via Marcela Hazan's compendium, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, and her method, I must say, is my favorite that I've tasted (not that I've had a ton of frittatas). Basically, you need to cook the egg gently so that it doesn't get overcooked and dry out and firm up. (Similarly, the time I first got the timing and technique right on scrambled eggs was a revelation for me, too.)

In contrast with Hazan's approach, however, a "mistake" I made with my zucchini actually turned out to be a plus in my opinion. I'd absentmindedly tossed my uncooked zucchini in with the other ingredients in the egg mixture rather than letting them cook through and brown first with the onions. However, as a result, the zucchini was tender but still had a little body to them at the end rather than just being soft like everything else. I thought it was a great textural contrast, though the extra flavor from browning would have been nice, too. It's a trade-off.

Looks like there are several different approaches people take with cooking the top part of frittatas, though: baking, flipping it and staying on stove top, and broiling. Any one have thoughts? Broiling makes sense to me--it's easier to cook the top without overcooking the rest of the frittata, which has already been cooking on the stovetop, and maybe looks neater at the end than if you flipped it.

Here's what I did:

Frittata with Zucchini, Tomatoes, and Basil

1 onion, thinly sliced
2 zucchinis (medium-small), sliced 1/4-inch thick
2 plum tomatoes, peeled raw, seeded
2 handfuls fresh basil leaves, torn into large pieces
5 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
olive or other cooking oil

skillet with all metal body required for broiling step so the handle doesn’t melt
  1. Heat 2 TBS olive oil over medium-low heat until oil slides smoothly over skillet. Add onions and some salt, cover, and cook until onions have softened and begun to brown and turn golden.
  2. While onion is cooking, prep other ingredients, beat eggs with a little salt, mix tomatoes (and zucchinis if not opting to cook them with the onions first—this results in zucchini with more body at the end)
  3. [Optional: add zucchini to onions in pan and continue cooking until zucchini has become tender and started to brown.]
  4. Remove onions (and zucchini) from skillet and mix in with the egg mixture.
  5. Return skillet to heat over low heat. Add another TBS oil and heat (or butter to melt and just begin foaming) before adding egg mixture into skillet. Cook until egg has set except the top surface is still runny.
  6. Place skillet under broiler about 6” away from the heating element, and cook until top of frittata has set and edges have just begun browning. Remove from oven and serve out of the skillet in slices.

Yes, I ate my frittata over steamed white rice. What?

*unless you count a Filipino torta I tried making once, which is basically the same thing.


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