As a fan of savory breakfasts, I love egg dishes. Whether their poached, boiled, scrambled or sunny-side up, for me, eggs are the perfect way to get the day started. But as much as I love eggs, I’ve never really been able to get into frittatas. Sure, I make them on occasion(mostly upon request), but they always seemed to turn out a bit spongy, mushy and dry.
As with most things I’m not a fan of, I figured I must be doing something wrong, so I recently set out to learn how to make the best frittata; a frittata that could hold its own against its French cousin: the Quiche. After a bit of research, it turns out I was doing something wrong, and I figured out a few enhancements along the way.
The problem was that my obsessive need for precision had me using an egg beater to whisk the eggs. This incorporates air into the egg and causes the frittata to puff up in the oven. When it comes out of the oven, the heavy frittata falls back down into a dense sodden sponge. The answer is to vigorously stir the egg, using a blunt object like a spoon. For my fellow perfectionists out there, you’re not going to be able to get the mixture completely homogenous, but that’s perfectly okay.
The other thing I haven’t loved about frittatas is the egg to mix-in ratio. That’s why I decided to add more stuff to it. I also cut everything larger so it left some texture. The onions got sliced, the avocados got cubed, and most importantly I cut the Camembert into large chunks. This made a frittata with recognizable threads of sweet caramelized onion, creamy chunks of avocado, and gorgeous pools of molten cheese that flow down the sides of the frittata when it’s cut.
I went with a vegetarian mix of ingredients for this one, you can substitute almost anything for the mix-ins. You’ll want to pre-cook ingredients that need to be cooked, such as hard vegetables or raw meat/seafood. You’ll also want to adjust the amount of salt you add based on the saltiness of the ingredients you add. For example, if you use bacon and a salty cheese, you can omit the salt entirely.
For the dryness issue, I knew the problem was that I was overcooking it. The challenge was that all the mix-ins (especially now that they were cut bigger), prevented the frittata from cooking evenly. By the time the center was cooked through, the edges would end almost crisp. The solution is to partially cook the frittata on the stove. To prevent the bottom from burning on the stovetop, give the frittata a few stirs until you can see some large curds of egg and it starts to turn opaque, but it’s still wet enough to flatten off the top. Pop this into a hot oven for a few minutes to set the top, and then let the residual heat cook the frittata through before slicing it. The result is a glorious Italian omelette that’s loaded with different textures and flavors held together by just enough rich, savory egg: the perfect frittata.
- Preheat the oven to 550 degrees F.
- Beat the eggs, cream and salt together until the mixture is mostly uniform but be careful not to overmix it.
- Place a well seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat and then add the olive oil and onions. Saute until the onions have browned.
- Add the avocados and season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Add the egg mixture, cheese and parsley, and let it cook for a bit, stirring occasionally to form some big curds. When the egg starts turning opaque, but there is still enough egg left to smooth off the top when you shake the pan, place the pan in the preheated oven.
- Bake the frittata for 4-6 minutes, or until the top is cooked through and there are no pools of liquid egg remaining.
- Remove the frittata from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes. This allows the residual heat gently cook the egg through. Use a spatula or thin butter knife to separate the Frittata from the edge of the pan. Shake the pan from side to side to free the bottom of the pan and invert onto a cutting board to slice.