Lately, I have had an obsession to make an occasional fritatta - at least once a week. We are fortunate to have 3 egg-laying hens that create the most deliciously rich-tasting eggs and no matter how we cook them - scrambled, fried, poached, boiled...to me, the fritatta reigns supreme. It probably is because they are easy to make, you can use leftover ingredients or whatever you have in the pantry and with a bit of practice, the results always come out the same: successfully savory and scrumptious.
But there are some guidelines to follow, like running a successful business, to ensure the outcome is always the same, tasty dish. So if you would like to try your hand at learning to always make a successfully tasty fritatta here are some things to keep in mind:
Decide on your fillings.
These are generally the items like mushrooms, bacon, onions, sausage, cheese or veggies or any combination of 2-3 more filings you want to add to your fritatta. Keep them simple - remember, the more simple and easy the dish is to make, the more inclined you will want to make it more often and even experiment with different kind of fillings.
I like fresh spinach, mushrooms and onions. The ingredients are relative inexpensive to buy and you can always use these three in ANY egg, rice, or pasta dish. I also will add a bit of Worcestershire or low-sodium soy sauce - both of which are pantry keepers that can flavor or enhance any dish. I use on or the other, but NOT both to keep the sodium count down.
Cook your fillings first and keep them the same size.
Whether you are making an omelet, fried rice, mac and cheese or even layering a vegetarian lasagna, it is a good idea to keep your fillings about the same size so they cook evenly and don't compete with each other in the fritatta. Again, its like running a successful business: you have various components that may have to interact with each other - and if they aren't in sync, the outcome can prove disastrous or unbalanced.
Some people like ALOT of fillings and that is okay, but the whole idea of creating a fritatta is to harmonize taste, texture, color, smell and visual appeal. If you happen to run a food truck featuring Asian plate lunches, you always want to find balance amongst those (5) factors to entice customers to come back again and again to pay for the food you prepare and serve.
Same thing with sauteing the ingredients you want to later add into the fritatta. It is always better to at least cook them 3/4 of the way if not completely because it doesn't take that long for the egg mixture to heat and cook.
Never make a fritatta on high heat.
Now some people will swear that a frittata is best finished off in the oven. Others say it works perfectly fine if you steam-cook the last 15-20 minutes by covering the skillet and reducing the heat to medium low. I have done both and frankly, I'm good with using the stove vs. heating up an entire oven for just a skillet of fritatta (why spend all that electrical power for something you'll consume in less than an hour?).
But first things first: don't cook a fritatta on high heat because you will burn the outside too quickly before the inside is thoroughly cooked. And the smell of burnt eggs is awful. The only burnt thing I like is when the onions and mushrooms are just a wee bit over caramelized...does wonders for a bland pot of pasta, rice or even tofu stir-fry. I think my stomach is rumbling now just thinking about it!
Cooking on medium heat at first is fine but stay watchful. Once you pour the egg mixture into the pan with the fillings already there, shake the pan a bit to ensure the egg mixture evenly covers the fillings and let the edges brown a bit but not too much.
Once things are starting to come together with the liquid mixture starting to solidify, turn down the heat to medium low and cover the pan so the steam from the pan starts to cook the fritatta and heats the filling ingredients nicely again. Keep it going at least another 15 minutes before lifting the lid. Be careful not to put your face to close to the steam....or you may get a facial you weren't expecting or cause injury to the eye or skin. Just practice safety at all times when the stove is on, okay?
Presentation is everything.
Now if you are just making this for yourself, perhaps you won't go so far as to pour yourself a nice glass of white wine and make a green salad to accompany the fritatta. But in business, if you were presenting the fritatta as part of your breakfast special at your own restaurant, there is something to be said about making the presentation definitely eye candy to your customer.
A sprig of parsley, or chopped chives sprinkled over the sliced fritatta which is nicely served on fine plate of china. Perhaps a small basket of freshly-baked croissants with assorted mini-pots of jams, jellies and passion fruit butter could be the accoutrements that accompany the generous-sized fritatta wedge.
Whatever the case may be, presentation speaks loudly, even when you are dining alone. For me, I always have a few sprinkles of freshly, grated Parmesan cheese over it or at least chopped chives and a dash of fresh lemon juice.
And yes, when I make it, I don't eat just a slice. I usually cook it in my 9" copper pan which heats and cooks evenly so my fritatta always comes out easy onto the plate. While I don't add a sprig of parsley, I usually have my version of "katsu" sauce which is influence from my days growing up in Hawaii and eating their local style plate lunches. It's a basic combo of ketchup, soy sauce and a bit of brown sugar. These days, I just add ketchup, stevia and Worcestershire sauce. Again, whatever you have in the pantry you can make work for your meal.
So the next time you know you will be heavily into watching one of the training videos here on WA or even working on your next blog article to reach the rest of us here, cook yourself up a fritatta. Food and study always does wonders for me.