Recipes

Frittata frenzy: More than two dozen ways to cook eggs for a crowd

Omelet’s less-fussy sibling: Frittatas, like this one with mushrooms and asparagus, are quick and easy to make, and you can tailor them to your guests’ tastes.
Omelet’s less-fussy sibling: Frittatas, like this one with mushrooms and asparagus, are quick and easy to make, and you can tailor them to your guests’ tastes. TNS

With the holidays upon us, we’re spending lots of time thinking about the big meals: What to serve, who’s bringing the sides, and what kind of pies do I need?

But there are other meals to consider if relatives and friends are descending for multiday visits. There’s breakfast in the morning and lunch at midday, and sometimes even a light dinner, depending on the holiday. One big feast is not going to work for overnight guests, and it’s just a little rude to ask them to bring a sack lunch.

Enter the frittata, a solid offering any time of day. It’s the less-fussy kin of the omelet, and one fluffy-firm, eggy pancake can feed four. Serve it with fruit for breakfast or a salad for lunch or dinner. It can satisfy vegetarians or meat lovers, and it’s the perfect vehicle for leftovers.

Frittatas are the answer for city chicken wranglers looking for ways to use their backyard bounty or for those who use liquid egg substitutes poured from a carton.

Plus, the frittata can be served hot from the oven or at room temperature. Versatile? Heck, yes.

Once you master the basic technique (see accompanying instructions), it’s easy to experiment with add-ins. Keep it simple with fresh herbs; make it trendy with roasted vegetables; ramp it up with tangy goat cheese; or give it an Italian or Cuban flair. You’ll start the frittata on the stove and finish it in the oven, which will brown the top and make any cheese there gooey-bubbly.

These 25 simple eight-egg frittata combinations will get you started.

Day-after-Thanksgiving breakfast? Check.

1. Thanksgiving Leftovers

Add 1 cup each of leftover diced turkey and green bean casserole to the whisked eggs and pour into pan. Top with shredded cheddar cheese before baking.

2. Sun-Dried Tomato

Mix in ½ cup shredded mozzarella and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil to the eggs before pouring into pan, along with 1/3 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes that have been patted dry and chopped fine. Before putting into the oven, top with another ¼ cup of mozzarella.

3. Cuban

This is your homage to the iconic sandwich. While whisking eggs, add 1 tablespoon of yellow mustard. Stir ½ cup grated Swiss cheese along with chopped salami, roast pork and ham into the egg mixture. Top with dill pickle chips after frittata is removed from oven.

4. Ham & Asparagus

Sauté diced asparagus in oil for 3 minutes. Stir ½ cup grated Swiss or Gruyere cheese along with ½ cup diced ham into the egg mixture; bake. Top with snipped fresh chives.

5. Go Greek

Sauté chopped spinach in oil. Add roughly chopped Kalamata olives and chopped fresh basil to egg mixture. (You could also use 1 or 2 teaspoons of dried Greek herbs.) Before putting in oven, sprinkle liberally with feta cheese crumbles.

6. Caprese

Turn the popular salad into a frittata by adding sliced fresh basil and halved cherry (or grape) tomatoes to the egg mixture. Pour into skillet and top with thinly sliced fresh mozzarella; let set and place in oven. Drizzle with balsamic oil before serving.

7. Pizza Lover

Sauté diced green peppers in oil until soft, about 5 minutes. Add 1/3 cup pizza sauce to the egg mixture along with a combination of shredded Parmesan and mozzarella. Top with cooked sausage crumbles and sliced pepperoni before finishing in oven.

8. Portobello & Gruyere

Sauté sliced portobello mushrooms in oil. Stir ½ cup grated Gruyere cheese and 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves into the egg mixture. Finish in oven.

9. Spinach & Feta

The classic flavor combination gets a boost from chopped fresh tarragon stirred into the egg mixture. Sauté chopped spinach and pour egg mixture over top. Scatter with feta crumbles before baking.

10. Green Chile

Sauté 1 small, diced onion. Add ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese and 1 small can roasted, diced chiles to egg mixture and pour into skillet. Serve with sour cream and Sriracha sauce after finishing in oven.

11. Smoked Salmon & Capers

Cube 4 ounces of cream cheese and stir into the egg mixture along with ¼ cup capers and chopped fresh dill. Add a few ounces of diced, smoked salmon and pour into skillet, then finish in oven. Serve with sour cream or creme fraiche.

12. Sausage & Peppers

Sauté sliced red and green peppers (about ½ of each) along with a sliced small onion until quite soft and a large minced clove of garlic, cooking for about 10 minutes. Add 1 small chopped tomato to the egg mixture. Pour into pan and top with sliced cooked sausage, then bake.

13. Spicy Mexican

Sauté sliced scallions and then top with whisked eggs mixed with shredded Oaxaca or mozzarella cheese and chopped fresh cilantro. Brown and set in oven. Serve with sour cream and salsa.

14. Red Peppers & Feta

Sauté sliced red pepper until soft, then top with whisked eggs mixed with a few pinches of red pepper flakes. Top with feta cheese crumbles and bake.

15. Zucchini & Goat Cheese

Sauté sliced zucchini with minced garlic. Pour in whisked eggs and top with knobs of goat cheese. Place in oven until cheese is bubbly.

16. Kimchi & Water Chestnuts

To the egg mixture, add ½ cup chopped kimchi (spicy fermented cabbage found in jars in the produce section) along with sliced water chestnuts and scallions. Finish in oven.

17. Marinated Artichokes

Drain and chop one small jar of marinated artichoke hearts. Add to whisked eggs along with 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese. Let set and bake. Scatter chopped fresh parsley over top before serving.

18. Shrimp Alfredo

Sauté small broccoli florets along with small peeled, uncooked shrimp in the skillet for about 4 minutes. To the egg mixture, add ¼ cup of Alfredo sauce and 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese. Finish in oven.

19. Fresh Herb

To the egg mixture, add ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1 small diced and sautéed onion and 1 tablespoon each minced fresh parsley, basil, dill and tarragon, or any combination you like.

20. Sausage & Red Onion

Sauté sliced red onion just to soften. Stir cooked, crumbled sausage and chopped parsley into the egg mixture. Pour over sautéed onions; set and finish in oven.

21. Chicken & Rice

Sauté about 1 cup of rice along with small broccoli florets in the skillet. To the egg mixture, add diced cooked chicken and shredded Parmesan cheese. Set and finish in oven.

22. Asparagus, Mushroom & Parsley

Roast 1 cup each sliced mushrooms and asparagus in a 400-degree oven for about 20 minutes. Turn down oven and set aside roasted vegetables. Stir into egg mixture along with chopped fresh parsley and ½ cup of Asiago cheese. Set and finish in oven.

23. Spinach & Blue Cheese

Sauté chopped fresh spinach (or another favorite green) until wilted. Into whisked eggs, stir in at least ½ cup of blue cheese. Scatter fresh snipped chives over all when frittata comes out of oven.

24. Bacon & Cherry Tomato

Cook 6 slices of bacon until crispy and crumble into egg mixture. Pour into oiled skillet, then set and bake. Sprinkle fresh chopped basil on top before serving.

25. Potato, Scallion & Goat Cheese

Layer thinly sliced Yukon Gold potatoes into skillet coated with oil. Cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes. Stir sliced scallions (or sautéed leeks) into egg mixture. Pour into pan and top with hunks of goat cheese before putting into oven.

Contact Janet K. Keeler at jkeeler@tampabay.com.

Main dish

Basic 8-Egg Frittata

8 eggs

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon oil

Add-ins of your choice

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk 8 large eggs until lightly beaten. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a 10-inch oven-safe nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. (If you are including any diced or sliced vegetables, do it now. Let them soften, about 4 or 5 minutes.)

You will pour the egg mixture over the sautéed vegetables. If you are adding shredded hard cheeses, such as Parmesan, or other ingredients like crumbled bacon, stir them into the egg mixture just before adding to pan.

When the egg mixture goes into the pan, stir gently until eggs on bottom are set and firm, about 1 minute.

Using a heatproof rubber spatula, gently pull cooked eggs back from edge of skillet and tilt pan, allowing any uncooked egg to run to cleared edge of skillet. Repeat this process, working your way around the skillet, until the egg on top is mostly set but still moist, 1 to 2 minutes.

At this point, if you are using feta or goat cheese crumbles, scatter on the top. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until frittata top is set and dry to touch, about 5 minutes. Run spatula around skillet edge to loosen frittata, then carefully slide it out onto serving plate. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 4.

Source: Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

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