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Quick and easy frittata tips... and 14 recipes

TEST KITCHEN TIPS

April 25, 2013|By Noelle Carter

Looking for a quick and easy recipe? It doesn't get much simpler than frittata.

Heat a pan, add some beaten eggs and flavorings and slowly cook to puffed perfection. Frittatas are easy to make and are versatile, perfect for breakfast or brunch, even dinner. Serve slices hot, fresh out of the pan, or make the frittata ahead of time and cool to room temperature before setting slices out on the table.

Flavor the frittata with whatever you've got on hand: sauteed vegetables, leftover meats, fresh herbs, whatever cheese sounds good at the moment. With toppings at the ready, a frittata cooks up quickly — ready in no more than half an hour after you first heat up the pan.

RECIPES: 14 frittata recipes from The Times Test Kitchen

As Nancy Silverton demonstrates in our Master Class series, frittatas need not be thick and spongy. And they're not just for breakfast: "But where eggs for dinner can feel as if you've just thrown something together to satisfy your hunger... with this beautiful plate-size creation, an arugula salad and a glass of wine in front of me, I felt as if I had thrown a dinner party for one."

Check out some of Nancy's tips for her favorite frittatas:

  • Get good eggs. As good as the toppings are, eggs are undoubtedly the star of this dish, and your frittata will only be as good as your eggs are. So buy the best, freshest eggs you can find, ideally at a farmers market. I like to use Chino Valley Ranchers' eggs with a bright yellow yolk because they taste great and the color reminds me of eggs I buy in Italy.
  • Have all your topping ingredients prepared, measured out and ready because once you start cooking the eggs, everything happens very fast. And the only thing that can go wrong is that you overcook the eggs, and the only way that can happen is if you have to scramble around (no pun intended) getting your ingredients at the moment you're supposed to be scattering them over the eggs.
  • Bring your toppings to room temperature or warm them before making your frittata. They aren't on the eggs long enough to warm through, and biting through cold, refrigerated garlic confit will dampen even the best frittata experience.
  • If you're improvising your own toppings, make sure the ingredients are delicate; cheese needs to be finely grated or a soft crumbling cheese such as goat cheese or ricotta. Something like cheddar won't melt the way it would in a traditional frittata or omelet, so I wouldn't recommend it. Ingredients such as bacon or roasted peppers need to be chopped very fine. These soft-cooked eggs are too delicate to have big, weighty hunks of anything on top.
  • When whisking the eggs, I add water because I think it helps to emulsify the eggs and whites. Also, make sure to season them properly as called for in the recipes. You need to add enough salt to the raw eggs as it will be impossible to properly season the eggs once they're cooked.
  • When cooking the eggs, use medium-low to low heat. Think of scrambled eggs as a custard: You want them light and tender, with no color (browning) on them whatsoever. The way to do this is to control the heat, and if they seem to be cooking too quickly, lower it. (You almost can't cook them too low.)

If you have any kitchen tips or questions you'd like me to explore, leave a comment below or shoot me an email at noelle.carter@latimes.com.

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You can find Noelle Carter on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Pinterest.

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