So why is it that we broil our frittatas? Once we expose a thin layer of egg to a hot pan and oven—rather than wanting to protect it—suddenly delicacy isn't our concern.
Maybe it's the cheese, or the accrual of distracting vegetables and meats, that allow us to take the pressure off the eggs. Both may be true, but this leaves a lot of room for improvement.
This is where Andrew Feinberg, chef at Franny's and Marco's in Brooklyn, can help. "Instead of cooking the eggs quickly in a hot oven," he told me, "I cook them slowly in a low oven and the result is a very custardy and creamy texture that traditional frittatas do not have." It's confusing that we didn't think of this before.
But there's much more to the genius of his recipe than just babying the eggs. As much care goes into every other piece, so that the frittata isn't just a receptacle for what odds and ends you already have, limited by their merits, but a reason to cook in the first place. When you address each component with intention, there isn't room for textures to bore you, or flavors to clash. Ingredients won't surprise you by cooking too slow or too fast, or being too wet or dry or ungainly.
Feinberg starts by roasting the broccoli in a smarter way: He slices each floret in half, making long, exposed flat sides to rest and sear against the pan. He starts them sizzling on the stovetop, then flips and finishes them in the oven, as you would a steak.
You end up with every piece evenly browned across the flat stretches, frizzled at the edges, and tender and sweet inside. This well-crisped and caramelized broccoli would be a star on its own (or in a warm salad, or on a sandwich), but it also holds up especially well under a blanket of egg.
You'll also add plenty of other attractions to the eggs—grated Parmesan, soft snarls of red onion, lots of garlic sautéed with chile flakes, plus plenty of olive oil to carry the flavors around.
But all of this won't result in too much richness, because you'll serve with another sharp flicker of olive oil and Parmesan, and a squeeze of lemon.
Why did we never think of seasoning eggs with lemon before? Avgolemono and citrus custards might have hinted at its promise, but, like vinegar, it's a surprise, until you learn how good it is.
This also means Feinberg's frittata will brighten any winter breakfast (and lunches too—it makes a great not-sad desk sandwich), but will be an especially welcome pick-me-up for a sleepy, turkey-ed out crowd.
Adapted slightly from Andrew Feinberg, chef/owner of Franny's and Marco's in Brooklyn, New York
10 large eggs 2 1/2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus more for serving 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste 40 turns from a black pepper mill 7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for serving 1 medium (1-pound) head of broccoli (4 cups once trimmed) 1/2 red onion, sliced thinly 1 heaping tablespoon chopped garlic 1/8 teaspoon plus a large pinch of dried chile flakes 1 squeeze lemon, to taste, for serving
Got a genius recipe to share—from a classic cookbook, an online source, or anywhere, really? Please send it my way (and tell me what's so smart about it) at [email protected].
Photos by James Ransom
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I'm an ex-economist, ex-Californian who moved to New York to work in food media in 2007. Dodgy career choices aside, I can't help but apply the rational tendencies of my former life to things like: recipe tweaking, digging up obscure facts about pizza, and deciding how many pastries to put in my purse for "later."