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I’m always on the hunt for recipes that can be made in advance, useful for feeding a family on busy weeknights as well as serving a crowd without stress. Preparing food a day or two before you need it is like saving money for a rainy day: not as fun as flying by the seat if your pants, but helpful, and all the smartest people do it.
This is where the humble frittata excels. This preparation is truly underrated in terms of its versatility and usefulness. Besides being an obvious winner at breakfast or brunch, it can be prepared a day or two ahead of time, portioned into bite-size pieces, and served as hors d'oeuvres at a party or eaten for dinner alongside some salad greens.
My frittata inspiration comes from Chef Andrew Feinberg, who recommends slow-cooking a frittata for a creamy, custardy texture. Since most frittatas are cooked quickly, giving the eggs a slightly spongy or puffed-up texture, a slow-cooked frittata results in eggs that may appear to be denser than the traditional, yet mind-bendingly silky and delicate.
When I make a frittata, I rarely follow a recipe. Instead, I adhere to a few basic principles. First, season the eggs—properly—before whisking them. I crack between 8 and 10 eggs into a large mixing bowl, and I season each yolk individually with a small pinch of salt and pepper. I then whisk the eggs along with a splash of milk or heavy cream. If you try to season the eggs after they have been whisked, it becomes much harder to estimate how much salt and pepper to add, and you run the risk of under-seasoning or over-seasoning.
The next step: Choose the appropriate baking vessel. A large nonstick skillet works best, because you will easily be able to unmold your frittata when it is done cooking. You could also use a cast-iron skillet or a 9-inch cake pan, but in this case, you should cut a circle of parchment paper to fit the bottom of your skillet or cake pan so the frittata won’t stick. Drizzle a little olive oil on the bottom of your skillet or cake pan, and then place the circle of parchment on top. The oil will prevent the parchment from slipping out of place. This is important, because if the parchment slides during the cooking process, then some of the egg mixture ends up cooking underneath the parchment, sticking to the skillet or cake pan and causing a big mess.
When you have selected a baking vessel, your next move is to decide which ingredients you want to add to your frittata. This is your chance to be creative and have some fun. You can use any combination of herbs, spices, cheese, meats, seafood, and vegetables. No need to measure anything here, just use a handful or two of any add-in that you choose. However, keep in mind that certain add-ins should be individually cooked ahead of time (raw protein, vegetables that benefit from a nice sear), while other add-ins can be tossed directly into the egg mixture (cheeses, delicate fresh herbs).
When you’ve chosen an exciting flavor combination for your frittata, simply mix the add-ins with your egg mixture and gently pour everything into your baking vessel. If you can summon the patience to slow-cook your frittata for approximately 40 minutes at 300° F, you will be rewarded with a frittata that is texturally superior. The frittata is done cooking when the center is just firm to the touch.
Keep in mind that different cooking vessels can affect the cooking time of your frittata. Non-stick pans in particular seem to result in a quicker cook time and a slightly thinner frittata. When the frittata has been in the oven for nearly 20 minutes, start to check on it regularly. If the eggs puff up around the edges, that is a sign that the frittata has begun to overcook.
You can store the frittata in your fridge for up to a few days. Gently reheat it whenever you need some quick and tasty sustenance.
What would you put in your frittata? Let us know in the comments!