March 19th, 2013
A Frittata is somewhat like a cross between an omelette and a quiche (but without pastry). It’s a big egg cake containing meat and or vegetables. Normally the vegetables and meat are fried first and mixed into the beaten egg before cooking on the stove and in the oven. Apparently it’s rare to find Frittata on a restaurant menu in Italy, because it’s normal to make it using leftovers.
The Frittata could possibly be considered an Italian version of the Tortilla Español (Spanish omelette) and the name itself comes from the Italian to fry (friggere). Alan Davidson suggests, in the Oxford Companion to Food, that the tortilla may have originated in Persia as kuku (a fried beaten egg cake containing herbs) and come to Spain with Sephardi Jews or the Moors. This might have arrived in Italy via Sicily at a similar time. It’s also worth noting that the word omelette purportedly comes from the Roman dish overmele – a dish of eggs, honey and pepper, contained in the recipes of the epicure Apicius.
Chorizo and Tomato Frittata recipe (serves 2):
7 eggs (beaten vigorously)
half a hot chorizo ring (chopped)
2 medium floury potatoes (cubed)
1 green pepper (chopped)
1 courgette (chopped)
8 small tomatoes – I prefer Santa for flavour (sliced in half)
6 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
5 or 6 ripped basil leaves
a sprinkle of crushed chilli
4 oz grated cheddar (or other cheese)
sea salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)
extra virgin olive oil (as required)
Beat the eggs in a large bowl, season to taste and set them aside.
Boil the cubed potatoes until they are tender (2 or 3 minutes). Drain and cool with cold water. Pat dry and fry in olive oil until golden. Drain, add salt to taste and put the hot cubes into the beaten egg – they will absorb some of the egg while their heat thickens it a little.
Fry the chorizo in olive oil,
add the green pepper and chilli flakes,
folowed by the courgette – allow them to take a little colour.
The garlic and tomatoes can go in together – don’t cook them for very long – the tomatoes should not be allowed to go soggy or it will be harder to get the Frittata to set.
Stir the chorizo and vegetables into the eggs, with a few torn basil leaves.
Preheat the oven to 200º C. Heat a generous splash of olive oil in an oven proof frying pan (on top of the stove) until it smokes. Pour the egg mixture into the frying pan and immediately turn the gas down. What this does is set the edges and bottom of the Frittata. When the edges are slightly brown and looking like those in the picture above, sprinkle the cheddar on top and put the frying pan in the oven.
Cook for between 5 – 10 minutes, or until the Frittata feels firm to the touch. Flip out onto a plate and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving with a green salad. Frittata can also be served cold and makes a great addition to a picnic in the summer – it can be cut thinly as a sandwich filling too.
I enjoyed my Frittata with a glass or two of Campo Viejo Rioja.