A DELECTABLE DELICACY
Frittata is an egg-based Italian dish similar to an omelette or crustless quiche or scrambled eggs, enriched with additional ingredients such as meats, cheeses, or vegetables. The word frittata is Italian and roughly translates to “fried”. The word “frittata” which derives from the Italian verb “friggere,” or “to fry,” connotes the simplicity and pleasures of the “humble cuisine” that most of us innately love. The egg is the main ingredient. With its high protein and mineral content, easy availability, and low cost, eggs are an essential part of the diet almost everywhere in the world. From China and Southeast Asia to India and Iran, up to the Maghreb, Spain, France, and Italy, some kind of frittata-like dish is prepared. Surprisingly, in Italy, it’s rare to find a restaurant that offers frittata on its menu; it’s the quintessential home food.
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In Italy, foodies and chefs make a delicious frittata with leftover pasta (with or without sauce or seasoning). Also, a frittata is a perfect way to entice children into eating vegetables; it can often be a complete meal in itself. It can be tastier hours later, eaten at room temperature, or enjoyed the next day, with a side of arugula. For a quick lunch, frittata can be served along with sautéed greens, salami, or various local cheeses. When stored in the fridge, be sure to put your frittata in an airtight plastic container, as water and humidity can ruin the taste. Remember any greens or veggies you add into the frittata should first be sautéed, in order to eliminate most of their water. As for whether to use butter or extra-virgin olive oil—besides just personal preference, you should also consider which of those tastes marries best with the other ingredients you’re using in the dish.
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Basic ingredients used in making Frittata:
- Use between 6-12 eggs, while usually 6-8 is probably the most common number. Too many eggs can be a bit difficult to handle, especially if the frittata is turned over.
- If you have a broiler, you won’t have to worry about flipping over your frittata. Just stick the pan under a low flame and remove when the frittata is golden.
- Use a 10-12” pan with a thick bottom and round borders. A sturdy, non-stick pan makes it easier to detach the frittata without having to add extra butter or oil.
- Fresh, sautéed or steamed lightly seasoned vegetables: Boiled or roasted potatoes, Fresh greens, Cauliflower, Cabbage Wild mushrooms, Zucchini, Asparagus, Eggplant, Peppers, Artichokes and the list goes on…
- Good-quality cheeses are ideal for frittata: Melting cheeses—such as provolone, mozzarella and Emmenthal, Parmigiano, grana, and Pecorino Romano, Ricotta—for a lighter taste and texture
- Cold cuts or air-cured meats: Sausages, Salami, Mortadella, Prosciutto, Ham, Roasted chicken or turkey are ideal options to go with.
The fundamentals of cooking a good Frittata:
If you’re not using leftovers, prepare the ingredients to be added to your eggs by sautéing or roasting them. Put these aside and allow them to cool. Usually, this mixture is poured into the same pan in which you sautéed your vegetables; add some more olive oil or butter before you cook the frittata. Mix vegetables or ingredients, into your eggs, which should be salted, peppered, and lightly beaten with a fork. Immediately pour the mixture into the hot pan, and reduce the heat to a moderate-to-low flame.
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This next phase can be a little challenging, With the help of a spatula and a wooden fork, allow the upper, liquid part of the mixture to slip down below the solidified part so that all parts of the frittata are cooked. Then, using just the spatula, lift the sides of the frittata and check that the bottom is not starting to burn that’s important. As soon as you see that the top is firm, pull the pan away from the flame, half cover it with a lid, and leave it that way for 30 seconds. Shake the pan to be sure that it’s not sticking to the bottom. If it does stick, gently detach it with a spatula. The frittata can now be turned over.
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If you want to use the traditional method for flipping the frittata over, you’ll need to be careful and quick. Using a flat dish that is larger than the pan or you can use a flat lid—place one hand firmly on top of the lid and the other hand on the handle, and quickly turn the whole arrangement upside down. Immediately slide the frittata—the golden-brown side will now appear on the top back into the pan to finish cooking for the last few minutes. A frittata concept and preparation is great to include in a brunch menu, kids parties, supper meals, it is also a good change to serve at small get together/parties as a snack as well. Here are a few of my favourite options for preparing Frittatas:
Recipe-1] HERBED CHEESY TOMATO FRITTATA
Recipe-2] ZUCCHINI & SPINACH FRITTATA
Recipe-3] VEGAN VEGGIE FRITTATA
Recipe-4] BEAN AND PULSE FRITTATA
Recipe- 5] CHEFS SPECIAL FRITTATA
Recipe-6] FRITTATA ITALIANO
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About the author
Dr. Kaviraj Khialani – celebrity master chef - is a Mumbai-based author, writer, academician, food –health-lifestyle coach, mentor & consultant.
He is specialized in over 33 International Cuisines & has worked with brands like the Taj Group of Hotels, Kuwait Airways to name a few. Chef Kaviraj has been awarded several Global and National Awards for his outstanding performance and achievements in his chosen field. He has been featured on Star Plus and Colors Television on several food shows as well.