This Saturday, Mike and I went scuba diving near our home in Fort Lauderdale. We got certified in early 2005 so we could take advantage of the diver's paradise right here in our own backyard. Once you get comfortable with the mechanics of diving, all that’s left is relaxing on the boat, looking at tropical fish and enjoying the view. It is a very nice way to spend a Saturday morning. This weekend the water was calmer than we have ever seen it, but even under the best conditions, diving is a physically demanding activity. This might have to do with the fact that we had to get up at 6:30am on a Saturday, but that is beside the point. When you get home after a morning of diving, all you want to do is wash the salt water out of your hair, pop open a cold beer and have a delicious, fortifying lunch.
That is where the frittata comes in. Unlike an omelet, it can serve several people and can even be considered a one-pot meal. I have made frittatas with thinly sliced potatoes (as in a Spanish tortilla) or cooked spaghetti when I wanted something a little more substantial. For a simple and healthy version, all you need to add to the eggs are a variety of vegetables and a generous sprinkling of cheese. You could also add a protein like proscuitto, smoked salmon or thinly sliced chicken sausage. You sauté the vegetables in a nonstick skillet and pour the eggs right over them. Let the eggs set part of the way in the skillet, then put the skillet 10 inches under a preheated broiler to finish cooking and brown on top.
Below, I've illustrated how to make a frittata with red peppers, green onions, yellow corn and feta. Mike likes to call this one the "Lucky Charms Frittata." At the bottom of the post, I included a few more ideas for variations to get your creativity flowing. You will need:
6 eggs, beaten and seasoned with salt and pepper
olive oil and/or cooking spray
salt and pepper to taste
1 red bell pepper--thinly slice, then cut the slices in half crosswise
1 bunch of green onions, thinly sliced
fresh corn from two cobs
3 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
Saute the red onion in a little oil until very soft. Add the green onions and the fresh corn. Season with salt and pepper.
After you have worked most of the liquid to the bottom of the pan and the sides have started to set, sprinkle the cheese on top and put your skillet under the broiler. The center of the frittata will still be mostly liquid at this point.
It will take about 5 to 10 minutes to finish the frittata under the broiler, but watch it carefully! A minute too long under the scorching heat and the eggs will lose their tender texture. Mine is done when the cheese starts to brown.
Here are some tips for making a successful frittata:
1) Choose two to three vegetables with varying flavors and textures, some sweet, like sautéed bell peppers or red onions; some crisp, like fresh corn or green onions.
2) Use flavorful, full-fat cheeses and add them after you pour the eggs evenly over the vegetables. Good choices are feta, goat cheese, or fontina. Once, I used ricotta, placing small spoonfuls of the soft cheese all over the egg; it browned beautifully.
3) As the egg sets, constantly use your spatula or wooden spoon to push the eggs away from the sides of the skillet as you tilt the pan so that the liquid resting on top can flow to the bottom of the pan. This prevents the bottom from browning too quickly and ensures even cooking.
4) If you are using potatoes, slice them very thinly and blanch them. Then lightly brown them in the skillet. Finally, arrange them in an even layer on the bottom of the skillet and add any additional vegetables, followed by the eggs.
More Frittata Ideas:
1) spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, carmelized red onions, feta
2) sliced potatoes, sauteed onions and red peppers, grated manchego
3) mushrooms, green onions, fresh thyme, grated fontina
4) smoked salmon and dill
5) sliced artichoke hearts, sliced tomatoes, crumbled goat cheese