Frittata Della Domenica – Italian Sunday Egg Pie
by The Well Seasoned Traveler
Sunday (Domenica in Italian) is a special day in many parts of Italy, it is a day where traditionally the family gathers and generally speaking all seat at the table together. As a result, it is generally a day where more food is cooked, both in quantity and variety, with more side dishes, typically having a family favorite contributed by the grandmother, others by the women of the family, and yet others made by the men, plus any additional creations brought in from outside. It seems like a lot, but once you see an Italian family at “la tavola” and see all that food magically disappearing among people, all talking at the same time who seem to be fighting at full voice but are really just pitching in to the Sunday conversation you understand the dynamics of the Italian Sunday table, it is not a meal. It is a ritual full of smells, textures, noises, and tradition. Sunday is also a day for church. Many Italians go to mass on Sunday. Since most churches celebrate their main mass of Sunday at mid-morning, most people are occupied with matters of the soul well into noon. As a result, Sunday lunch usually happens later than usual but before dinner.
Frittata is I would say without fear of speculation a staple on many Italian Sunday tables. It is definitely a children’s favorite. Frittata is how can I put it without getting in trouble… More elaborate than an omelette, but less complicated than a quiche. Although they have their similarities, the main difference is that contrary to the quiche a frittata does not have a crust.
There are as many types of frittata as there are people making them. From delightfully airy vegetable to hearty “maccheroni” frittata resembling a pasta casserole.
We will be making a vegetable herbs and cheese frittata. Simple, colorful and delicious. Worthy of any Sunday table. You can use any vegetable you like, and as many different veggies as you want. My experience tells me that the best results are to combine no more that four at a time, so as not to overwhelm the eggs, and have a more balanced tasting experience. If you have a lot of different veggies to use, make a couple of variations instead of using them all together. You might want to treat your ingredients beforehand, so your final flavors come out outstanding. For example, if you are using eggplant, it is a rather tasteless vegetable on its own, but if you season it properly and grill it or fry it before incorporating it into the egg, it will shine! Same goes for potatoes, a frittata is cooked in fifteen minutes max, so you do not have time for potatoes to fully cook. Cook your potatoes ahead of time. By the same token, sauté blanche or grill char your veggies to give them an extra layer of flavor.
INGREDIENTS (get your ingredients here)
1 dozen eggs
1 cup of half and half
Vegetables of your choice
½ lb. shredded fresh mozzarella cheese
1 bunch of chopped up fresh herbs
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
¼ stick of unsalted butter
Place eggs, salt, pepper, and about 1/3 of the half and half in a deep bowl and beat with a whisker or any other utensil. If using a hand electric mixer or a planetary mixer, make sure you do not over-mix. The reason for beating the eggs is to let air pockets form in the eggs so that they will be fluffier and lighter in the final product. Use the remaining of the half and half to regulate the density of the mix. It cannot be watery, or the frittata will be soggy.
Incorporate the pretreated ingredients (veggies), 2/3 the shredded Mozzarella, herbs and mix well, making sure the ingredients are well coated by the eggs.
Meanwhile melt the butter in a skillet on medium heat, lower the heat as butter melts, do not let burn. Your skillet should be deep enough to make the egg mixture come to a ½ inch of the top. Too wide a pan, and your frittata will be thin and frail, to narrow a pan and your frittata will overflow.
Keeping your heat on low, pour the mix into the pan and cook untouched for about five minutes. The main purpose of this is to form a crust on the bottom of the frittata. While this happens you have two choices, to finish the frittata in the oven or in the broiler. The first will give you more control, especially if it is your first time making it. The second will produce the frittata faster, with more dramatic results like gratinating your cheese on top, but it can easily burn as well so attention is necessary.
Whatever the method you choose, the frittata will be ready for the oven, once half of it is solid, and the top is still runny.
Spread the rest 1/3 of the shredded Mozzarella on top of the frittata before placing in the oven and; if using the oven place the pan on the middle rack at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for ten minutes or until the top is bouncy to the touch; if using the broiler five minutes at 400 F should be enough, but check often.
E Pronto! Buonissimo. Boccati di Cardinale…