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A No-Fail Frittata Formula (With A Frittata Recipe!)

Frittatas are a staple meal chez The Modern Domestique. They are so easy to make, great for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and are a perfect way to use up either leftovers or forgotten veggies that are on their last leg. I like to think of them like a quiche, but without all the effort!

A frittata is a great meal when friends come over for a meal, and it makes great leftovers to be eaten warm or cold. I like to serve it with a simple side salad, but asparagus or even potatoes would be good alongside as well.

Another great thing about frittatas is that you don't even need a recipe. All you need is this simple formula, and you can use any vegetables/cheeses/herbs you have on hand!

  1. Pre-cook the veggies and meats: Leftovers are perfect mix-ins for frittatas because not only are they pre-cooked, but serving them again in this way brings new life to whatever you have left from yesterday's meal. If you are using fresh veggies or uncooked meats, make sure to fully cook them before adding the egg mixture and baking. If you are starting from scratch, always cook the onions first to let them caramelize a bit, then add the rest of the ingredients based on how long they will cook. For instance, if you are using fresh broccoli you'd add that next after the onion, followed by bell peppers (after the broccoli has cooked a bit), followed by mushrooms, followed by tomatoes and so-on. This helps to ensure everything is cooked and nothing ends up soggy.

  2. The egg to dairy ratio: If you are making a smaller frittata use 6 eggs and 1/4 cup of dairy, and if you are making a larger frittata use 12 eggs and 1/2 cup of dairy. You can use milk, sour cream, yogurt, milk kefir, or any other form of dairy you have on hand - just make sure it is full fat. Non-fat is basically like adding water, so stick with the good stuff! Also, make sure not to over-beat the egg/dairy mixture. Mix it just enough to combine all the ingredients and then stop - beating the eggs too much will create too many air bubbles and will result in a drier frittata. My advice is to put the eggs, dairy, cheese, seasonings and any fresh herbs in the bowl than whisk it all together, rather than adding individual items to whisked eggs. If you are using a thicker cheese like ricotta or feta, whisk these together with the milk and seasonings first, then add the eggs and mix until everything just comes together. Speaking of cheese:

  3. Pick the right cheese for the right job: Not all cheeses are created equal when it comes to melt-factor. Shredded cheddar, gruyere or fontina cheese will give you melty cheese in every bite. Ricotta or feta will give you bursts of creamy melted goodness, and shredded parmesan or pecorino romano sprinkled on top will add a nice nutty flavor, without the gooey factor. I really like to go all out and mix (when using 12 eggs) 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar and 1/4 cup of ricotta in with the eggs and dairy, and sprinkle 1/4 cup of parmesan on top of the frittata right before it goes in the oven. If you are using 6 eggs, just use half of the measurements above.

  4. Make sure to use the right pan: I like to use a cast-iron skillet, especially if I am using fresh veggies because I can cook the veggies on the stovetop in the skillet, then add the egg and dairy mixture and pop the whole thing right into the oven. If you don't have something that can go from stovetop to oven, make sure to well oil the oven-safe item you choose with butter before adding the ingredients, and make sure to use something that isn't too big: if you are making a 12 egg frittata use something around 10 inches with deep sides, and go a little smaller if only using 6 eggs.

  5. Season it well: Salt and eggs can be a tricky thing, especially if you are adding salty ingredients like bacon or a salty cheese into the mix. I usually lightly salt and pepper fresh vegetables that are cooking, and add about 1 teaspoon of salt to the egg/dairy mixture. If I am using something salty like bacon, then I reduce the salt in the eggs to 1/2 or 1/4 teaspoon, depending on how much bacon I am using. It's always a good idea to salt as you are cooking, but make sure not to over-do it.

  6. Make sure not to over-cook: My dad doesn't like runny eggs. When we are at a restaurant he will order his eggs "so well cooked that they will bounce off the wall". This is not how you should cook a frittata. A good frittata is almost like custard - smooth and creamy, and definitely not the texture of a tennis ball. You'll know it's ready if you use a knife to make a small slit in the center of the frittata and the raw eggs don't run into the slit. Bake at 350° for about 20-30 minutes. Start checking the done-ness starting at 15 minutes though, because all ovens cook differently and it would be so sad if yours burned!

Now you have the formula for the perfect-everytime-frittata, and I can't wait to see what combinations everyone comes up with! In the meantime, here is an easy recipe to follow if you are more comfortable following a recipe than a formula:

Serving suggestion: a side of The Beatles. You can also serve with a side salad, roasted potatoes, bacon, avocado...the possibilities are endless! Let me know in the comments below what you end up putting in your frittata!

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