La frittata is the Italian version of an omelet, and the word “frittata” derives from the Italian verb “friggere” meaning “to fry.” As with any omelet, eggs are the main ingredient to which various other ingredients such as meats, vegetables and cheeses are added. There are two main differences between a classic Italian frittata and a classic French omelet. First, a frittata is flat with the ingredients integrated with the eggs, whereas an omelet is folded semi-circular or rolled with the ingredients in the middle. Second, an omelet is always served hot; whereas a frittata can be enjoyed hot, at room temperature or cold. One of my favorite ways to eat leftover frittata is cold in a sandwich made with crusty Italian bread.
In Italy, you will rarely find a restaurant that serves frittata as it’s primarily considered to be home-style food. As such, I find the following to be a good guide to making a great one:
- Use 2 eggs per person and no more than 10 eggs for one frittata. Keep in mind, the more eggs you use requires more additional ingredients and a bigger skillet, all making the frittata harder to flip.
- Depending on the number of eggs, use an 8 to 12 inch, a non-stick skillet as it makes it easier to detach and flip.
- For both sides to cook, either flip the frittata over or use a broiler. To flip, slide the frittata cooked side down onto a large round dish. Then, holding the plate underneath with one hand, invert the skillet over the dish and then flip both over. This could be a bit difficult when making a larger frittata in a large skillet. In this case, I prefer to use a broiler. After the bottom of the frittata is cooked, transfer the skillet to the oven set to broil at about 400° F. Cook until the top is set, being careful not to burn the frittata.
- Typical vegetables found in a frittata include:
- Thinly sliced, lightly fried potatoes
- Fresh sautéed greens such as spinach or broccoli rabe
- Domestic or wild Mushrooms
- Fresh sautéed vegetables such as zucchini, asparagus, peppers and onions
- Cheese is often found in a frittata including:
- Melting cheeses such as provolone, mozzarella or Swiss
- Hard grated cheeses such as Parmigiano, Asiago and Pecorino Romano
- Meats are also a popular addition, for example:
- Fresh sausage sliced into coins and sautéed
- Cured meats such sopressata and other salami
- Mortadella, prosciutto and cooked ham
My wife Judy and I often make a frittata for dinner and one of our favorites is made with zucchini and potatoes. I prefer to use red potatoes and the small baby zucchini. I also prefer to leave the skin on both the zucchini and the potatoes. Finally, to make sure everything cooks evenly, I slice them very thinly with a mandoline, about ⅛ inch thick. We serve this a with fresh garden salad, homemade balsamic salad dressing and, of course, with pane casereccio, crusty homemade Italian bread. Give this simple recipe a try; I know you’ll enjoy it. Buon appetito!
Frittata con Zucchini e Patate
- 8 Eggs
- 3 or 4 Small red potatoes, thinly sliced About 8-10 oz
- 2 Small zucchini, thinly sliced About 8-10 oz
- 1 Small yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 4 oz Provolone, shredded
- 2 tbsp Parmigiano, grated
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 3 tbsp Olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400°F on broil
- In a large ovenproof non-stick skillet, add the olive oil and sliced potatoes and cook until the potatoes just start to soften. Add the onion and zucchini and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the zucchini is translucent and the onion is softened,
- In a medium bowl add the eggs and Italian seasoning and beat well. If using cheeses, add them to the beaten eggs and mix well. Pour the egg mixture over vegetables in the skillet, shaking the skillet to make sure the eggs are well distributed. Cook undisturbed over medium heat until bottom begins to set but the top is still wet, about 3-5 minutes.
- Place the skillet in oven and cook until eggs are set on top, rotating pan once for even cooking, about 5 minutes. To serve, loosen frittata from skillet and slide, onto a serving platter and cut into 8 wedges to serve.
Image: Frittata with Zucchini is used under license from Adobe Stock © Comugnero Silvana