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Frittata - basic technique
This Italian omelette variety is firm, round and not folded - and doesn't need the skill and light touch required to produce a good French omelette.
It can be served plain, or with a variety of fillings (making an excellent receptacle for leftovers, such as ratatouille, sliced new potatoes and cold meats - your imagination is the limit). The technique involves cooking the egg mixture slowly over a very low heat, as opposed to a French omelette, which is cooked very briefly over a high heat. Frittata's, served cold, make ideal picnic food.
Here we give an example of what can be achieved.
For 4 main course servings:
2 tablespoons (30ml) Olive Oil, or 60gr/2 oz Butter (or even half of each)
1 medium Onion, peeled and finely-chopped
1 medium clove Garlic, peeled and finely-chopped
2 big, 4 medium ripe Tomatoes, chopped, and put in a bowl with their juices, and sprinkled with a little Salt & Pepper and caster sugar
180gr/6 oz leftover meats – such as chicken, ham or salami (optional, but if not using, you’ll need to add additional vegetable or cooked fish ingredients)
180gr/6 oz mixed leftover Vegetables, roughly chopped
180gr/6 oz grated Cheese – this could be made up of one or a combination of Cheddar, Parmesan, Gruyere (or perhaps you have some Ricotta to finish)
6 medium Eggs, lightly mixed
A few fresh Herbs, you might have to hand - snipped Chives, chopped Parsley, torn Basil leaves etc. (or ½ teaspoon of dried herbs, such as Oregano, Herbes de Provence or Mixed Herbs – the former from www.gourmetherbs.co.uk are the best as they contain both green anise & lavender)
½ teaspoon (2ml) Salt and a few grinds of freshly-ground Pepper
Equipment needed: a wide and deep frying pan
1. Melt the olive oil/butter in a large frying pan over a low heat.
2. Add the chopped onions, and 'sweat' them for 2-3 minutes, or until they're translucent. Add the chopped garlic and fry for a further two minutes.
3. Add the vegetables, the tomatoes and their juices and cold meat (if using). Increase the heat to medium and turn the mixture over so it heats through.
4. Add the beaten eggs, your chosen herbs plus a little salt and a generous few grinds of fresh pepper.
5. Cook without disturbing for about 4 minutes - or until the eggs have lightly set.
6. Sprinkle the cheese/s over evenly, and either fold the omelette in half, or grill the top to set it in that way.
7. When you feel the top has set enough for your taste, cut the frittata into four pieces and serve. Or allow it to cool if taking on a picnic.