I never cooked before I married at age twenty-three, barely entering our kitchen, just to watch occasionally. Our family had maids, and one in particular cared for the cooking and food activities, including grocery shopping. She, Ann, was in charge and ordered over the phone. As a child, I watched as she sat on the cushioned chair, legs crossed, ordering meats, fruits and vegetables, from her little pad of notes. Ann often smiled, seemed to enjoy chatting with local store owners. That was my introduction to cooking and groceries. My mother, not a typical 60s housewife, likely gave Ann direction. Funny, they both had the same name; my mother’s name had an “e” at the end, however, the maid’s name was without the “e”.
I assume Fritatta’s were not part of Ann’s cooking history, although eggs are economical. From Eastern Europe, many of her dishes were thrifty concoctions, like meatloaf, stuffed cabbage bathed in tomato sauce, beef and barely soup made form scrap bones. She was budget conscious. However, my mother, from a poor household, but marrying a rich man, easily slid into ordering high end foods, like rib-eye steaks, lamb chops, prime ribs.
Once married, a cooking frenzy began form me, one which has not halted in fifty years! Although now, along with cooking, I garden extensively, growing roses, flowers and vegetables, and partaking of crafty hobbies, like sewing and jewelry making.
I discovered fritatta’s several years ago while browsing magazines in a doctor’s office. I tweaked a recipe, naturally, as most cooks do, and had fun making them, using vegetable leftovers combined with fresh ingredients. But, It had been awhile since I cooked one, so it was time to make another.
I saw this recipe in a cookbook and again substituted ingredients, or added different ones, to match my desires. An important aspect of frittata’s is that the individual foods must be nearly all cooked ahead of time, that is sauteed, stir fired, boiled or whatever, before you add the eggs. I really enjoyed making this dish since I had not cooked any frittata with potatoes.
In addition, if you’re an egg eater for breakfast, skip that for a few days, and you’ll especially appreciate a nice omelette-like meal on the light side for dinner or lunch.
1/3 cup milk, or half and half
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 lb. Yukon or white or red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces – peeled or not
1/2 teaspoon cumin, ground
1/2 teaspoon mixed Italian herbs
1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste
1/4 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
6 oz. sausage, spicy or plain Italian or chorizo, which is dry-cured and will need to just be heated through
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon sherry or balsamic vinegar
6-9 scallions, chopped
1/3 cup grated Parmesan, fontina, or cheddar cheese or another good melting one
1 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and adjust the oven rack to middle position. In a large bowl whisk thoroughly the eggs, milk and salt.
2 Heat a large 12-inch ovensafe skillet over medium-high heat, add one tablespoon of olive oil. Add the sausage, cook on both sides until golden brown and cooked through. Cool slightly. Cut the sausage in 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch rounds, then cut again to half them. Remove to side plate. (If using chorizo, add it cut as above, but not until after the potatoes are mostly cooked.)
3 To the same pan, add the potatoes, cumin, Italian seasoning and salt desired. If more oil is needed add it at this time. Stir and cook on medium heat, letting the potatoes turn lightly brown some before turning, 5-7 minutes. Halfway through, add the scallions, cooking all for another 3-4 minutes as the scallions wilt and turn light brown too. Add the sausage now. Stir to warm all ingredients. Lower the heat and add the water and the vinegar, and cook 1-2 minutes more.
4 Add the egg mixture, turn the heat up a little. Let the eggs cook slightly, and after a few minutes use a flexible spatula to stir the eggs gently and scrape the bottom of the pan until curds form. Smooth curds into layers. Turn the heat down, leave the egg mixture undisturbed for 1-2 minutes, while gently on the edges of the fritatta, run a spatula around it to loosen. Place the fritatta in the oven and cook for 8-10 minutes.or until it’s slightly puffy on top with not much of a jiggle when moved, and that it bounces back when touched a little. Do not overcook, otherwise you’re fritatta will be tough and rubbery.
5 Once removed from the oven, immediately sprinkle on the cheese. Let the dish stand for 5-10 minutes before serving so the cheese melts and so that the fritatta will not be boiling hot! do not serve cold.
Tips and Tweaks
- fresh mushrooms, zucchini, broccoli, red and/or green peppers, and white or yellow onions are just some of the vegetables you can enjoy in a fritatta.
- If you don’t have an oven, cook the fritatta stove-top, and remember to cover it with a top, cooking it on low so as not to overcook. Once it’s mostly cooked in this manner you can carefully flip it to let the second side cook and brown slightly.
- Tomatoes are a good addition to fritattas, but add cherry tomatoes on top of the egg mixture once the eggs are partially cooked.
- do not overfill the pan with too many vegetables, otherwise, once the eggs are added the pan might be too full!
- leave out the milk all together.