I love making frittatas. I mean, I obviously enjoy eating them, too; but there’s something about whipping up one that brings me pure, unbridled joy. They’re easy, quick, and endlessly customizable. Plus, they’re a great opportunity to clear out the vegetable drawer, as well as any nubs of cheese I’ve got hanging around. As a private chef, I love to make frittatas for clients’ breakfasts—a universally appealing egg dish that saves me from turning into a short-order cook, frying some eggs (one medium, one hard) and scrambling others. This isn’t a diner, okay?
Here, I’ve taken some inspiration from the very beloved appetizer spinach and artichoke dip and turned it into a brunch star. But arguably more important than flavors, there are several key factors to a successful frittata, from ingredient quality to technique and equipment. First, you’ve got to use good, organic, pasture-raised eggs. I am admittedly a snob about the eggs that I use, but a lot of the time, you can get away with using a subpar egg when cooking. This, however, is not one of those situations. It’s the star ingredient, so you owe it to yourself (and your frittata) to buy the nicest eggs you can find. You’re worth it, I promise.
Next, you need a full-fat dairy in the mix. I like using sour cream because it’s rich and acidic. However, you can also sub in equal amounts of Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, heavy cream, or whole milk. Greek yogurt will impart a similar acidic flavor as sour cream, and cottage cheese will give the eggs a thicker, more curd-like texture (which I happen to love), but ultimately it comes down to personal preference. If you go for heavy cream or whole milk, you might miss out on a little bit of acid and texture, but the full-fat dairy will definitely hold up when baked. Without one of these creamy additions your frittata will be flat and dense instead of light and fluffy, so now is not the time to shy away from dairy. It’s also crucial to season your custard mixture with plenty of salt and pepper. If the eggs aren’t seasoned, there’s no chance to save it after it’s baked. (Sure, you could shower it with even more flaky salt, but it will still be a tad bland.) One teaspoon of kosher salt per every eight eggs is a good rule of thumb. You should also season the sautéed vegetables (onion, spinach, and artichoke) to taste, as well. Wonder why frittatas always taste better from a restaurant? It’s because they were properly salted, from start to finish.
Another consideration when it comes to the ideal frittata is the vessel you’ll bake in. I always make them in a well-seasoned 12-inch cast-iron skillet, but if you’re nervous about stickage—which can happen if your skillet isn’t well seasoned—I’d recommend a large, oven-safe, nonstick skillet. (If you’re using a skillet smaller than 10 inches, I’d recommend using 6 eggs to prevent overfilling, and baking for just 8 minutes.)
Cook time is also especially crucial when you’re making a frittata. I think it’s best to take a frittata out of the oven when it's firm at the edges and jiggling in the center, then let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing. If you cook it to the point that the center no longer jiggles, I find that the eggs can taste slightly tough and overcooked. It’s an art, really. And once you’ve got the method and the timing down, you’re free to riff with flavors infinitely. —saratane
- Prep time 15 minutes
- Cook time 20 minutes
- makes one 12-inch frittata
kosher salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
(about 1 cup) mozzarella cheese, grated, divided
(about 1/2 cup) Parmesan cheese, grated
medium yellow onion, finely diced
(about 5 cups, packed) baby spinach
Two 10-ounce jars (about 1 cup) whole artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
(about 1 ounce) arugula
extra-virgin olive oil
Flaky salt, for finishing
- Heat the oven to 350°F.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream, 1 teaspoon salt, and black pepper until totally combined. Mix in the grated cheeses, reserving 1/4 cup mozzarella, and set aside.
- In a 12-inch cast iron or oven-safe, nonstick skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, 5 minutes. Stir in the spinach in batches until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the artichoke hearts and season to taste with salt and pepper. Increase heat to medium-high and pour the egg mixture over and top with the reserved mozzarella. Cook until the eggs set enough that you can run a rubber spatula around the edge of the pan, loosening the frittata from the sides, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Transfer to the oven and cook until the center is barely set, about 10 minutes. Remove and let cool at room temperature for 10 minutes before slicing.
- Toss the arugula with extra-virgin olive oil and place on top of the frittata. Sprinkle with flaky salt and more black pepper. Serve immediately.