This dish is my interpretation of frittata di pane, inspired by the version in Faith Heller Willinger’s gem of a cookbook, Adventures of an Italian Food Lover. The simplest of ingredients are transformed into something unique and delicious. The frittata is studded with hunks of peasant bread and crisped and browned on both sides, resulting in a savory French toast of sorts. I like adding a little cream and a handful of minced chives and grated Pecorino Romano for extra flavor and texture. To serve, you cut the frittata into wedges and top with a simple salad of basil and cherry tomatoes. You could use roasted cherry tomatoes, but I find the fresh, juicy tomatoes against the warm, eggy toast to be just right. It’s good any time of day, and to me, just the right remedy when you want to cook something that’s simple yet completely soul-satisfying. - EmilyC —EmilyC
Test Kitchen Notes
This frittata is your delicious passport to southern Italy. The bread transforms it into an almost savory cake where the taste of the pepper and pecorino blend perfectly with the basil-infused juices of the cherry tomato salad (if you're a serious tomato lover, I'd up them by 1/4 cup or so). The result is not unlike panzanella. Fear not the flipping; it's pretty easy. Just use a spatula on the underside and a wooden spoon on the other for support and you're home free. I would recommend browning side one of the frittata for 7 minutes and 5 minutes for side two. And when it's done, it looks great served on a wooden cutting board. - favabean —favabean
heavy cream or half-and-half
extra virgin olive oil
finely minced chives
finely grated Pecorino Romano
Kosher salt + freshly ground black pepper
stale, rustic bread cubes (3/4- to 1-inch cubes)
heaping cup cherry tomatoes, mixed colors and varieties if possible
To prepare the cherry tomato salad:
Cut the cherry tomatoes into halves or quarters, depending on their size. Place the tomatoes in a salad bowl and add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, basil, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside while preparing the frittata.
To prep the frittata:
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, heavy cream, 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, chives, Pecorino Romano, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper.
Add the bread cubes and stir to thoroughly coat each piece. Soak, stirring occasionally, until the bread has soaked up almost all of the eggs. Fresher, softer bread will only take 3 to 5 minutes, while older, staler bread will take 10 to 15 minutes.
To cook the frittata:
Heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a 10” nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. Add the egg-soaked bread mixture, pressing it down with your hands or a spatula into an even layer. Cook until the frittata is golden brown and solid enough to flip over. Slip the frittata onto a plate and heat the remaining 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in the skillet. Return the frittata to the pan on its second side. Don’t worry if it breaks up a little during the flipping or transfer – just piece and press it back together with your hands. Cook until it’s golden brown and crisp on the second side, then transfer to a cutting board.
To serve: Slice the frittata into large wedges, and top each wedge with tomato salad, making sure to include the tomato juices that have accumulated in the bottom of the bowl.