ONE FOR THE TABLE: How to make a frittata like my Italian grandmother
Italian Asparagus, Mushroom and Parmesan Frittata. (Susan Russo / February 27, 2013)
Frittata is nothing more than eggs with vegetables, cheeses or meats cooked into it. Yet my grandmother's frittatas were always something special -- delicious, healthy and comforting.
Whether or not you recognize Lent or have an Italian grandmother, there are many reasons why you should know how to make a frittata:
--They're ridiculously fast and easy to make.
--They're the perfect meal for the end of the week when you've run out of food. You could put just about anything in a frittata, (although I'd avoid chocolate chips).
--They're endlessly versatile. Make them with whole eggs, egg whites, or Egg Beaters; add meats, cheeses or vegetables; and eat 'em for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
--They make great leftovers for tomorrow's lunch. Try some in a sandwich.
--They're so much fun to say. Come on, you know you want to say it like Nan used to. So in your best Italian grandmother accent and say, "fri-taaa-taa" as if it's the greatest word in the world. I know for Nan, it was right up there with "pizzelle" or her favorite word, "bingo."
Here's how to make a great frittata in 5 easy steps:
1. Saute fillings before adding them to the eggs. This will impart more flavor and ensure that the fillings are thoroughly cooked.
2. Lightly whisk eggs with herbs and seasonings before adding to the pan.
3. Cook frittata in a heavy, flat-bottomed skillet over medium heat.
4. This one is important: Using a fork, gently push the egg mixture from side to side, allowing it to seep to the bottom of the pan. This will ensure that the eggs cook thoroughly.
5. Place the frittata under a broiler to create a puffy, golden brown topping.
When I served it to my husband, I said in true Nan fashion: "Come on, have a nice piece of fri-taaa-taa with asparagus and mushroonz." For some reason, Nan could never pronounce the final "m" in mushrooms; it always came out as "mushroon," which would inevitably make me laugh, which would inevitably lead to Nan saying, "What? What's so funny?"
Italian Asparagus, Mushroom and Parmesan Frittata
Makes 2 servings.
10 asparagus spears, cut into 1-inch slices
6 large eggs (Egg Beaters or whites only are fine)