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.
Frittata is quite a versatile dish and can be made with all sorts of meat, vegetables, fish, etc. See here for some recipe suggestions.
What a delightful variation on the theme! I Have not used basil and the sausage in my recipe has oft been some type of salami or N European ‘smoked sausage’. I could barely cook when first married and remember trying to make this as an omelette. Well, it would not set on top, and I got impatient and simply put it under a medium griller to get almost a souffle-like consistency blowing up! Well, after all these years I still make it ‘my’ way and many have enjoyed 🙂 !
Thanks Eha – I think any way is good if you get pleasing results 🙂
Forget the Italians. I’ll take it the Spanish way, with a great sherry. Do you have some? I just know you do. 🙂 Kidding aside, that is an interesting history. So interesting how foods moved from one place to another.
Thanks Michelle – I do have a bottle of Fino stashed away 😉
Fabulous frittata! I love that hot chorizo and all those red pepper flakes!
Thanks Tessa – chorizo goes so well with eggs 🙂
Reblogged this on Scribbler in Seville and commented:
Cool! Thanks Fiona 🙂
I read a comment you left last week, or thereabouts, stating you’d made a frittata. Coincidentally, I had made one the night before and, though it will form the basis for some future post, it’s a far cry from the beauty you shared with us today. You’ve assembled a great list of ingredients, MD, and I’m sure they make this frittata a great-tasting one. Thanks for sharing and for the history lesson. I never would have thought the dish had Persian roots. Imagine that!
Thanks John – I knew I wanted chorizo and tomatoes in the frittata, but the other vegetables were things I had in the fridge. I look forward to seeing your recipe 😉
Beautiful frittata – when we were kids and used to go to Italy for the whole summer, the aunties used to make a huge one every morning with leftovers from the night before and it was part of our lunch on the beach! Love your frittata pan 🙂
Thanks Tanya – I bet those huge frittatas were good. The frying pan is a Le Creuset 23 omelette pan. They don’t make that style anymore, which is a shame, it makes such good tortillas! 🙂
Good old Le Creuset!
Hopefully it will last forever 😉
Your frittata had to be delicious with the chorizo, potatoes and peppers. With the Rioja, a perfect meal.
Thanks Karen – it was!
I love making frittata with leftovers, particularly when I have young broad beans or chard in the garden. Your version looks particularly good though, we still have lots of homemade chorizo to use so will give this a go.
I love broad beans – the season never lasts long enough for me! I’m sure your home made chorizo would be amazing in a frittata 😉
I will definitely be making this, as tortilla is already a popular quick+nutritious dinner for the kids (my kind of fast food), but this looks much more substantial – and as you say, perfect picnic food. The cultural heritage of food is endlessly fascinating, isn’t it? Especially here in the historical melting pot that is Andalucia.
Thanks – tortilla’s my first love – I spent about 6 months questioning people and trying to find out how to cook the best one. As much as I love frittata, it doesn’t have the same soft sticky centre that you get from the caramelised onions in a tortilla that’s flipped rather than baked. Both are quite delicious though 😉
The last post before I go to bed. Damn, now I am hungry.
Thanks Conor – that’s a good compliment 😉
That is a really punchy recipe. Love it.
Thanks Roger and it’s also much easier than a quiche or tortilla!
Adore this one…chorizo, eggs, sounds like you were rummaging around my fridge…or my mind!!!! I also like the fact that you don’t turn the frittata…I make a lot of tortillas and the devil is in the flippin’…
I always flip tortillas – my record is 25 eggs! But I don’t think this kind of frittata will set properly without cooking it in the oven 🙂
That looks so good! I love adding chorizo to tortillas, but with all those other additions it must be even better! We have a wooden tortilla ‘flipper’, like a pan lid but with a slight curve inside, which is very useful in avoiding getting an eggy mess everywhere!
Your flipper sounds good – I learnt (in Spain) by using a non stick egg poaching pan. It was 8 inches across with steep sides. After I’d got the technique down I could do it with almost any frying pan and a plate 😉
I love fritatta, at home when the kids and I were growing up awe called it Fridge-atta.. we ate it often. My chorizo is all gone . I shall buy some more and come back to look at your assembly again! looks grand! and isn’t it great cold too. c
Thanks Cecilia Fridge-atta is an excellent name. I love it cold too, especially in sandwiches 😉
Not too many days go by before I’m making a frittata.. in place of a heavy evening meal, nothing beats a hearty frittata! I found the history behind it very interesting.. I always wondered how it got its name:) I love the addition of chorizo, so would my son!
Thanks Barbara – chorizo does go very well with eggs 😉
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