Hai fatto una frittata is an Italian saying that loosely translates as, “You’ve made quite a mess.” Or a series of messes. If you ask me, a frittata is a lovely way to make a mess of whatever summer vegetables you can harvest from your garden or buy at your local farmers’ market. Most cultures have a similar egg dish that can serve as a last-minute dinner, a light lunch paired with a fresh arugula salad, or a snack to keep you going until your next meal.
In Italy, a frittata is traditionally fried in a pan, but long ago I started baking this dish in the oven so that my hands were free to make a salad or appease a child in need of mama time. My youngest still calls it tata—and I am going to share how you can quickly toss one together to please loved ones of all ages. This is my basic go-to recipe, but the possibilities are limited only by your taste buds and your imagination.
• 8 eggs
• 1 cup milk
• 1 bunch Swiss chard
• 1 zucchini, chopped and sautéed
• Olive oil or butter for greasing the pan
• 3/4 cup crumbled feta
• 1/3 oz fresh thyme (just the leaves), chopped
• Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
It’s important to sauté or roast all vegetables before adding them to your frittata so that excess water is cooked out. Place the eggs and milk in a large bowl and beat, then fold in the vegetables. Pour the mixture into a greased 9”x13” baking dish. Sprinkle the cheese, thyme, salt, and pepper evenly on top. Bake for 35 minutes... and done! (Though you may want to stick a knife or toothpick in just to make sure.)
Cut your frittata into six (approximately) 2”x2” squares. Enjoy it right away or refrigerate and save for later, whether as a snack or quick lunch (it’s fabulous cold!)
So very simple, yet so very delicious.
To me, frittatas are like paintings, each one a unique work of inspiration—most anything can go in and create edible art. Here are some yummy combinations:
• Roasted sweet potatoes, curried sweet peppers, and goat cheese
• Kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, caramelized onions, and feta
• Broccoli, cauliflower, and cheddar cheese
• Roasted Yukon Gold potatoes, asparagus, fresh oregano, and Manchego cheese
• Shredded and caramelized carrots, rice, currants, goat cheese, and a little curry powder
• Leftover pasta, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, parmesan, and zucchini
• Shredded beets with goat cheese and fresh thyme
The frittata is the ultimate in cucina provera (humble cuisine) and one of my favorite meals to prepare for my family. So grab some eggs, forage through your garden or refrigerator, and make a delicious mess. And let your children make one, too. I do. Give them little dishes, set out some toppings (like making pizza!), and let them create their own works of edible art. Most importantly, have fun.
Photography: William Lycholaj