What is frittata?
Italian frittata (pronounced: “free-taa-taa”) is a starter, lunch or main dish consisting of a baked egg cake. The eggs are mixed with other ingredients before baking: vegetables, cheese and/or pieces of meat. The egg mixture is nicely browned in a frying pan. The result should be golden brown and dry on the outside and a little soft on the inside.
The name is derived from the Italian verb, “friggere”, which means “to fry.” Frittatas are usually cooked in the home kitchen; in Italy, you rarely see them on restaurant menus. The dish is often used when leftovers of meat or contorni (side dishes, often vegetables) from the previous day are available. We may think it sounds a bit strange, but Italian mamas also like to use leftover pasta in their frittatas. Often with sauce and all. Worth trying?
Did you know?
In Italy, the expression “la frittata è fatta” exists, which means much the same as, “Now you’ve done it” or “What’s done is done”.
How to make frittata
A frying pan is needed to make frittata, preferably one that also goes in the oven, such as a cast iron pan.
The vegetables for the frittata – bell pepper, zucchini, onion – are first stir-fried. This step is essential, not so much because everything has to be cooked, but because the moisture from the vegetables must be able to evaporate. This way the chef prevents the frittata from becoming watery.
The eggs are beaten with salt and pepper and the extra ingredients: the vegetables, cheese, sausage, leftover meat and/or spices. This mixture is then baked in a hot pan with a dash of oil. Some chefs tilt the egg over and over again until it has solidified. Others turn the frittata after the bottom has turned brown and fry the other side briefly. The pan is also sometimes placed under the grill to solidify the top. Either way, the frittata should not be cooked for too long because if it is too dry, it will be unappetising.
How to eat
The round cake is cut into slices and served. Sometimes the frittata is also cut into small cubes and served as an antipasto.
Frittata is delicious with bread or a salad.
The Spanish variant, the tortilla, is made with potato.