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Wednesday Food: Mushroom Frittata

The frittata, an Italian cousin of the omelette, is a fairly unexplored egg dish for me.  In the past I avoided making them only because I was unsure about my nonstick pan being ovenproof.  Not wanting to fill the house with toxic fumes, I recently experimented with a 3.5 quart Le Creuset as a cooking vessel.  This sounds unusual but the cast iron conducted heat evenly, and my frittata easily lifted off the enameled surface.  I was also confident that my dutch oven would undergo no damage beneath the broiler.  Properly seasoned cast iron is excellent for frittate, along with the previously stated nonstick skillet, or smallish Le Crueset pot.

The principles of frittata-making are few and simple.  Beaten, seasoned eggs go into a hot, stove-top skillet where they cook and brown against the bottom surface.  Additional cooked ingredients are added if desired, then the skillet is set under a broiler for a few minutes, cooking and browning the top surface.  If your skillet or pot is well-oiled or nonstick, the frittata should slip out with minor coaxing, be sliced into wedges and consumed between warm and room temperatures.  Allowing the undisturbed eggs to puff up in the oven, rather than scrambling them on a burner or baking them in a quiche, produces an airy texture that describes an ideal prepared egg.

Any cooked leftovers can be added including a variety of meats, cheese, or vegetables, provided they do not crowd the eggs and prevent them rising in the oven.  For the pictured example I used sautéed mushrooms and shallots, a handful of shredded Gruyère, and topped with parsley.  I recommend using fresh eggs, farm-raised if possible, as the simplicity of this recipe (like so many other Italian dishes,) benefits from quality ingredients.

Mushroom Frittata

serves 4-6

Preheat your oven to broil

  • 6 eggs
  • hard cheese, Parmesan, Gruyère, Romano, generous grated pinch
  • 1 tbs herb of choice, chopped, plus garnish (tarragon, marjoram or parsley are best)
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 cup of sliced, sautéed mushrooms, room temperature

Beat together eggs, cheese, 1 tbs herbs, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Melt a teaspoon of butter or olive oil in a nonstick ovenproof skillet, or cast-iron pan over medium high heat.  If any ingredients are uncooked or cooler than room temperature, cook/ heat them in the skillet.  Pour egg mixture into skillet and gently stir to incorporate ingredients.  Cook 4-5 minutes until the bottom of the eggs are completely set and top are only slightly runny.

At this point it helps to run a spatula along the perimeter of the eggs to ease removal.

Place skillet under the broiler for 2-4 minutes until puffy and golden brown.  A rubber spatula will help to loosen the frittata, or try inverting over a plate.  Cut into wedges and enjoy.

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January 20, 2010 - Posted by | Wednesday Food

8 Comments

  1. I made some mini frittatas (with potato, prosiutto, etc) a few weeks ago using a non stick muffin tin and they were great as appetizers for our party. ;) all hail the frittata!

    Comment by Hillary | January 20, 2010

  2. *prosciutto (I swear I can spell)

    Comment by Hillary | January 20, 2010

  3. Yum! I love blank canvases– might try a southwestern frittata (similar to the most amazing quiche I’ve ever made) perhaps with peppers, onions, corn, green chiles and sour cream? Can’t wait, simple, lovely for any meal. Good work!

    Comment by Vanessa | January 20, 2010

  4. Ha! “Dutch oven!”

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | January 20, 2010

  5. The question is, how does the italian frittata differ from the spanish tortilla, if at all?

    Comment by ben | January 20, 2010

  6. I’ve never had a frittata with potatoes in it, and I’ve never had a (Spanish) tortilla without.

    Comment by jms | January 20, 2010

  7. QED!

    Comment by ben | January 20, 2010

  8. This was very tasty on Saturday at Mrs. K-sky’s birthday brunch. I have now made two Wednesday foods!

    Couldn’t fit the egg pan in the broiler, sadly.

    Comment by K-sky | January 25, 2010


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