Frittata Wisdom

Zucchini and Piquillo Pepper Frittata

For me, the ultimate “everything but the kitchen sink” dish is a frittata, or a baked open-face omelet. Imagine a crust-less quiche minus the cream, and you’ll get the idea. I can never thank its Italian inventor enough, whoever she is (it’s got to be a she – can’t you just imagine a wizened nonna in a farmhouse kitchen?).

Whichever leftover bits of vegetable, cheese, meat, or herbs I have lying around come together into a glorious whole, served for brunch, lunch, dinner, appetizers (if cut into small wedges or baked in muffin pans) or a snack. Hot, warm, or cold, it’s all good. Frittatas are infinitely versatile and forgiving. Did I mention that they can also be kid-friendly?

Over the years, I’ve made countless frittatas, and learned some lessons through trial and error. Here they are:

1. Start with onions, preferably caramelized. Nothing beats sweet, browned onions, and they add an attractive burnished note and depth of flavor to your frittata. Then, saute some other vegetables, like zucchini. 2. Don’t be shy with the cheese. We all know that it makes everything, including eggs, better. So add it with a generous hand. 3. Throw in some chopped fresh herbs for a gorgeous green-speckled appearance, sweet and grassy flavor, and that extra special something. 4. Avoid wet ingredients. If you use tomatoes, remove the seeds and drain as well as possible. Ditto with fresh mozzarella and spinach. 5. Prevent blandness — a frequent issue with eggs — by adding an intense ingredient, like sun-dried tomatoes, olives, or piquillo peppers. And don’t forget the salt and pepper. 6. Bake in a 375 or 400-degree oven until nicely puffed and just slightly golden. 7. Prepare to be wowed.

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