How to make a perfect Frittata

Vermont Maple Sausage Frittata

We love making frittatas at the inn and make them frequently in the quiet season.  I perfected my frittata skills from a catering friend that could easily create a gourmet meal for her family by just looking in her frig to see what was left over and what was growing in her garden. I learned so much from her, and we ended up catering together back in the Berkshires and called our company- “The Catered Affair”, that’s another story for another day! Back to making a well-made frittata which is one of the world’s most perfect meals-it’s inexpensive, easy to make, and a great way to use up  leftovers.  A frittata can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner- either warm or cold – and is delicious served immediately or later in the day. But a poorly made frittata can cause you never to eat one again. No worries, highlighted below is my favorite frittata recipe along with all the tricks to making that versatile, yummy frittata that your family will come to love.

1. Always keep your proportion of eggs to dairy the same

You can make your frittatas in any size skillet. We make both a 2 person frittata when we have a few guests at the inn or several larger 6 person frittatas when we are busy.  The basic rule of thumb is for every dozen eggs you’ll need 1/2 cup of dairy. This is a great time to use up any sour cream or creme fraiche that you may have in the frig. For a 2 person frittata we use 6 eggs with  1/4 cup of dairy. We usually use either half and half cream, sour cream of creme fraiche. Milk can be used in a pinch but it takes away from that perfect, creamy egg texture.

2. Use the Right Pan for the Job

I have tried all sorts of pans to make frittatas and always land back to a stainless non-stick fry pan with a metal handle. This Cuisinart version from Amazon works really well. I also appreciate the beauty of using an old fashion well seasoned cast iron skillet. Two years ago we had breakfast at friends that raved about the benefits of their old fashion cast iron fry pans. I invested in several when we came home with the intentions of making cornbread and frittatas in them. Read a previous blog for all the details. Truth be told those skillets are sitting in our basement:) Don’t get me wrong- it’s a great product but you have to be vigilant with keeping them oiled and watch them very carefully when cooking and a little more time to clean. (Byron will tell you a LOT more time to clean:(  I just find the non-stick fry pans are easier to use and clean and create a perfect omelet or frittata every time. Whatever oven-safe pan you choose, be aware of how well it conducts heat. If you are using a heavy pan like a cast-iron, it will continue to cook your frittata after you remove it from the oven. It’s important to pull it from the oven before it’s completely finished. The size of your pan is important- general rule of thumb- a 12 egg frittata should ideally be cooked in a 11-inch pan, a 6 egg frittata should be cooked in a 9-inch pan.

3. Fully cook your add on ingredients ahead of time

A frittata is known for using up fully-cooked leftovers- like last night’s roasted potatoes, sausages, bacon or vegetables. If you are starting from scratch like we usually are for breakfast, it’s best to fully cook any additions before hand. Our favorites are roasted peppers and potatoes, sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, yellow squash, bacon and sausage. Byron is allergic to onions so we are an onion free inn- but sautéed onions in butter, done before hand, make for a perfect ingredient for you frittata. Remember that all of your vegetables and meats should be cooked fully before adding to your frittata.

5. Watch your Frittata ever so closely as it cooks

A good frittata should have the texture of custard- trembling and barely set. An over-baked frittata will have all the texture and look of an old fashion kitchen sponge:(   One rule of thumb is when the top is golden brown the inside is overdone. You can achieve the golden brown top by shredding cheese on the top of your fully cooked frittata and place it under a broiler for just a few minutes. The other trick is to place your almost finished frittata in a 350 degree oven and continue cooking for 20-30 minutes, depending on size and thickness. Watch the frittata ever so closely to ensure it does not overcook.

6. Season your eggs ahead of time

Salt and pepper are always important. Be sure to season your eggs with salt and pepper before adding them to the pan. When you add other ingredients to your frittata, season them separately. If you are adding bacon to your frittata go a little lighter on the salt as bacon usually is salty already.

7. Have fun with your cheeses

We like to use either cheddar, gruyere, fontina or feta at the inn. Different types of cheeses create different textures and flavors for your frittata. For a standard 12-egg frittata, stir in about one cup of shredded cheese. If you want to top the eggs with cheese add an additional  ¼ to ½ cup more. If you are looking for  an oozing texture- we love to use aged cheddars and gruyere. Fontina is also a great choice but is a more expensive cheese.  A soft cheese, like feta and ricotta, doesn’t melt as well, but it’s perfect if you’re looking for a dense pockets of gooeyness as shown in the picture below. Use about 1/2 cup of soft cheese to 12 eggs as this cheese does not melt and a little goes a long way for flavor and texture. We also like to use a quality Parmesan or Pecorino Romano shredded on the top to add a sharp hit of salty, nutty flavor.

Roasted Red Pepper Frittata with Sausage & Feta
Recipe type: Egg Dish
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Serves: 6 servings
We use all sorts of ingredients for our frittata's- some with ingredients from our garden and some with what's left over. Use your own imagination to create your favorite frittata.
  • 2 teaspoons Olive Oil
  • 6 ounces Sweet Italian Sausage (casing removed)
  • 12 eggs
  • ½ cup ½ & ½ (or other dairy)
  • 6 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
  • salt & pepper to taste (we use 1-teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper)
  • 2 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 roasted bell pepper, peeled, seeded and cut into thin wedges
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  1. In your oven proof 10-11 inch frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring and breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until it begins to brown, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a paper towel to drain. Discard the fat in the pan. Preheat your broiler. Place the bell pepper on a baking sheet and broil, turning occasionally, until blackened on all sides, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool until easy to handle. Peel off blackened skin from the pepper. Remove and discard the stems, seeds and ribs. Slice the pepper into wedges. In a bowl whisk together the eggs, cream, ½ of the basil, salt and pepper. Add the butter to the pan and melt over medium heat until melted. It is very important not to burn the butter. Return the sausage to the pan and add the roasted peppers. Pour the egg mixture over the sausage mixture and cook over medium heat until all edges of the frittata begin to set, about 2 minutes. Using a heatproof spatula, lift the cooked edges of the frittata, and tilt the fry pan to allow the liquid egg on top to flow underneath. Continue cooking, occasionally lifting and tilting until the top is almost set, about 5 minutes more. Sprinkle the top of the frittata with the feta cheese. Place under the broiler until the frittata puffs and becomes slightly browned, about 1 minute. Sprinkle with the remaining basil. Cut into 6 wedges and serve hot or warm with tomatoes.
Bon Appetit!

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