Frittata Primavera and the Impossibility to Flip

FrittataAh! Frittata. Universally acknowledged as a very rustic and easy to make dish.

Let’s talk about its rusticity first. I have no recollection of any restaurant in Italy that has a frittata on its menu. That’s because it is the quintessential homemade food, not sophisticated enough to be worthy of a restaurant. Nor have I ever eaten frittata in any of the fancy households and parties I used to get invited to in Rome or Milan. Simply not chic enough. But believe me when I tell you that no one, I repeat, no one can resist a good frittata. Β πŸ™‚ Let me tell you a story to prove my point.

Since I was 21, I have been spending my summers at my parents’ beach house on a fairly glam stretch of coast on the island of Sardinia. Usually, before we go to the beach, my mother packs lunch boxes with incredible treats for the whole family and a frittata is always included. We consider my mom the queen of frittata and her grandchildren are crazy about this dish. When lunch time comes, the sleek ladies under the umbrellas start eating their flavorless salads (yup, Italian women tend to be all about looking thin and fabulous) while my mother start pulling out her “rustic food wonders” including her legendary frittata.

At which point, first we get a nasty look from the ladies that says “look at those peasants!” but thenΒ the smell of frittata spreads around and the upscale offspring from the other umbrellas – chased by their nannies – start getting closer like bear cubs attracted to honey. MyΒ mother, who is a woman from the south and, therefore, very hospitable, starts handing frittata bits to everyone and, at this point, the ladies, who are the loving mothers of the kids surrounding us, have no choice but to approach and thank us. And then… the frittata does its trick: a minute later, I can see their bejeweled fingers (the reason why women go to the beach wearing jewels like a madonna in a procession simply escapes me!) with their perfect manicure reaching for the frittata and the only thing my head is hearing is that famous music from Steven Spielberg’s movie “Jaws” that is played when the shark is getting close to its victim. πŸ˜€

Bottom line, everyone loves frittata and I truly believe that it can be served as an appetizer at any party, even the fanciest, if it is properly dressed up. πŸ˜‰

Let’s now tackle the concept that frittata is easy to make. Maybe it is for the other human beings, but for me it is a nightmare. I select the ingredients, I beat the eggs, I pour the egg mixture in the skilletΒ and I let the first side of the frittata cook the way my mother showed me only about a thousand times. Everything seems to go awfully well until it is time to flip the frittata to cook the other side. Et voila’! Depending on where I decide to play the flipping game, my frittata inevitably ends up either on the floor, the sink or the stove πŸ™ I simply cannot do it!

I noticed that lots of cooks and chefs start cooking their frittata on the stove and then continue the cooking process in the oven. Well, in Italy, we do not cook it that way… we flip it and, to be honest with you, I was not ready to settle for the oven option.

Since in my past professional life, I was, among other things, a problem solver, I have now been determined to find a solution to my flipping incapability. After a little research, Williams Sonoma came to the rescue. They carry a fabulous nonstick pan with interlocking handles that lets you flip a frittata veryΒ easily without using a plate and, more importantly, without having your frittata splashed all over the kitchen.

FrittataIf you want to know more about this innovative piece, check it out on Williams Sonoma’s Web site.Β As you will notice, it is a little bit pricey but you can always do what I do when I buy something expensive… I keep repeating myself “because you are worth it”! (no, unfortunately, I’m not a l’Oreal testimonial but I’m firmly convinced of that! πŸ˜‰ )

A few more words before we talk about recipe and method. The gorgeous frittata that you see in the pictures has been flipped in the traditional way, i.e., using a regular skillet and a plate. Did I do it? Of course, not! My mother did. I will describe the way she does it (I’m great at the theory part!) because my mother always taught me that a cook should be able to cook anything from scratch with the only help of basic tools. So just give it a try, if you feel like it. You can always do what I did… resort to technology because if it is true that I treasure my mother teachings I’m also a huge believer that technology is there to make our life easier. πŸ™‚

Ingredients:

1 cup, cut green beans
1 and 1/2 cup, peas
1/4 cup, chopped onion
8 grape tomatoes
2 potatoes
Half of 1/4 cup, extravirgin olive oil
12 eggs
1/2 cup, grated parmigiano cheese
Salt
Ground black pepper

Directions:Β 

Cut the tomatoes in half and the potatoes into small bits.

In a non-stick medium skillet, put the olive oil, the beans, the peas, the onion, the tomatoes and the potatoes. Add some salt (to taste), toss to coat and start cooking on a very low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked.

Meanwhile, put the eggs, the parmigiano cheese, some salt and pepper (to taste) in a bowlΒ and whisk it until you obtain a smooth mixture. When the vegetables are cooked, pour the egg mixture in the skillet. Let it cook for 2/3 minutes and, with the help of a fork, every time the edges of the egg mixture solidify, push them back toward the inside of the frittata so that new raw egg mixture gets in contact with the skillet and solidifies. When the egg mixture is set at the bottom and begins to firm up at the top, move the skillet over the sink (in my experience, it is the easiest to clean if things go wrong), put a plate over the skillet, flip the frittata onto the plate and slide the flipped frittata back into the skillet. Cook a few more minutes et voila’!

May the force be with you and happy flipping! πŸ™‚

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0 thoughts on “Frittata Primavera and the Impossibility to Flip

  1. laurasmess

    Hello Francesca! This is a beautiful recipe… thanks for sharing your cooking experiences with your mum, also. I still remember cooking with my beautiful mother as a young girl. She was a wealth of information, warmth and kindness. I’ve kinda overtaken her in the kitchen skills department now (she was always more of an ‘efficient’ and ‘quick’ cooker of savouries, whereas I enjoy slowly using techniques and creating sweet treats!) but she still provided the basis of what I know today. That will always stay with me πŸ™‚ Anyway, I’ll try your mother’s flipping method. The idea scares me, but hey… I’ll have confidence, we’ll see how we go! Hugs xx

    1. Francesca Post author

      Hello Laura. What a lovely comment! Thank you. I don’t know what I would do without my mother. My culinary approach is…relatively young so she is still my point of reference. And my dad too. Flipping is a nightmare for me but it’s a must- try. Plus there is no shame in admitting that we are not Escoffier. πŸ˜‰
      I look forward to following your blog and your kitchen adventures. Have a wonderful day.

  2. the winegetter

    Flora, Flora, Flora: I just made my first, my FIRST homemade frittata according to your recipe and it TOTALLY worked, flipping and all!!! (It was a bit too dry because I let it on for too long, but that can be improved next time) I am so excited. I threw in bell peppers, mushrooms, potatoes, spinach and zucchini and it all came together nicely. Paired it with vinho verde. Delicious….please, please be proud of me!

    1. Francesca Post author

      Oliver,
      I couldn’t be prouder of you! πŸ™‚ You made my day and I’m so happy that you enjoyed the process and the results. So from now on, just flip it away. πŸ˜‰
      Take care,
      Francesca

  3. Kiara Style

    Inspired by your post I made my favorite Frittata today (onions, zucchini and pomodorini secchi for the extra kick). I canceled Dim Sum lunch with my friend and invited her over to share the frittata with me. We paired the it with a Prosecco – Stefano is probably rolling his eyes at this – and had a great time. I will try your Mom’s recipe soon. I never had frittata with beans! Ciao, Chiara

    1. Francesca Post author

      Thank you, Chiara. I’m a bubble girl. The only thing I would not pair with a bubble bottle is my breakfast! πŸ˜‰ I have no idea about Stefano’s opinion but I think that prosecco and frittata is a combination to die for. I would go for it every day and twice on Sundays. πŸ™‚

  4. afternoonartist

    Oh man, does that look good. Wish I read this post before I ate Raisin Bran for breakfast. There’s always dinner, but I have no fresh green beans, only frozen, and we’re in the middle of a blizzard, so I won’t be running out to the store. Frozen green beans will have to do. And Stefano your photo is gorgeous. Would you be willing to post some tips on food photography? I really need to improve my skills in that area.

    1. Francesca Post author

      Thank you and no worries, Jill. Frozen beens will perfectly do. As to the photography tips, I’ll let Stefano get back to you (he is in Milan right now). I’m sure he will be more than happy to help you. He was born with the teaching gene. πŸ˜‰ Stay warm and safe. Xx

    2. Stefano

      Hi Jill, thank you for your kind words!
      I plan on publishing a post on that very subject – incidentally, a while ago Anatoli from the Talk-A-Vino wine blog had asked for the same thing.
      I cannot commit as to a specific date yet as it may take me a while to pull it together, but I promise I will do it!
      Take care

  5. Jennifer Findlay

    Apparently I’m a peasant too ’cause I think it’s CRAZY to wear jewels to the beach. Your description of your mother’s frittata is making my mouth water, but I’m scared of flipping it too. I can’t even flip pancakes properly.

  6. ChgoJohn

    I’m with Bam. Try as I might, I’m no frittata flipper. I do so enjoy them, though. I did smile when I read that the frittata pan at Williams-Sonoma was “a little bit pricey.” That should be their motto. :”Williams-Sonoma: Where everything is a little bit pricey but you are worth it!” πŸ™‚

    1. Francesca Post author

      Thank you. When I decide to serve frittata for a party, the first thing I go for is a very sleek serving plate. I usually pick a white plate or a plate with a very delicate color: the frittata with all its ingredients is very colorful so you do not want to overdo it with colors. The shape of the plate is also very important. Round or oval is kind of rustic so I usually pick a square or rectangular shape. As to the frittata itself, the triangle cut is perfect for a picnic or a brunch but not for a party so I usually cut it into small square bits. As to the decoration of the plate, I either use lettuce leaves as a base and I put the frittata bits on top and/or I mingle the frittata bits with flowers. Hope this answers your question. Have a wonderful day.

  7. apuginthekitchen

    Your story is wonderful, so vivid I can visualize your family on the beach as well as you in the kitchen trying to flip a frittata. Your Mother sounds like an amazing cook and that frittata is beautiful. I love making them and that William Sonoma frittata pan is on my list. For now I do the plate thing and sometimes it works sometimes there is a mishap. I love incorporating all sorts of vegetables and cheese and voila… a beautiful meal. I think I will make one tomorrow!

    1. Francesca Post author

      Thank you, Suzanne. Glad you put the pan on your list. Let me tell you that it is quite heavy though. That’s the reason why my mom has always refused to even try it. But, in my opinion, it works beautifully and I’m very happy about it.

  8. whiskeytangofoxtrot4

    Lovely story of your family Francesca… I could smell the frittata and see the sparkly jewels… the other thing I love is how just a few simple ingredients make for the best food and memories… where have you been btw? I have missed you… cheers! kimberly.

    1. Francesca Post author

      Thank you, Kimberly. That’s so awfully sweet of you! I have been busy taking care of family members and some stuff that has been lingering for a while but now I’m back to normal and to blogging. Xx

  9. talkavino

    Great story, Francesca – I love the part with the with the Spielberg’s “Jaws” analogy : )

    Talking about frittata – why not just put the lid on and let it finish on the stove at the medium heat? No flipping involved : )
    BTW, that special pan looks very interesting – but, I have to admit that my worst pan experience was with Caphalon non-stick omelet pan – I had absolutely everything sticking to it… That must be just me…

    1. Francesca Post author

      Thank you, Anatoli. No, it’s not you. Based on my experience, the magic non-stick pan has still to be invented. That’s why every time I use a pan, including the Caphalon ones, I use either olive oil or butter. This is the only way to avoid any sticking disaster.

  10. zanzanaglob

    Frittata is not easy at all! I use two pans or a pan and a dish to flip it, after all life is a matter of risk! I am really fond of tortilla, the Spanish version, with potatoes or potatoes and onion…I think they have a secret ingredient though! πŸ™‚

  11. Just Add Attitude

    Francesca, I love your story of family trips to the beach and your mother’s frittata being shared around. Her frittata looks divine in Stefano’s photo. I am not sure if I could flip one, whether the force was with me or not, as I struggle with flipping pancakes! πŸ˜‰

  12. acrusteaten

    Flipping anything is about believing you can do it because the tiniest doubt, flinch or tick will pull disaster. Believe, Flora, believe!

    PS Those William Sonoma pans weigh a ton, but they do work.

    1. Francesca Post author

      Your ps is exactly my mom’s comment. She looks with horror at those pans.
      I like you philosophy. I should put it into practice a little bit more.
      Thanks for taking the time to comment.
      Francesca

  13. Maria Dernikos

    Love the story. I use the grill method and like myhomefoodthatsamore says the heat does ‘fluff’ it up beautifully. I have become lazy. Might though give it another go the old fashioned way.

  14. myhomefoodthatsamore

    I can’t believe the coincidence … we had frittata for dinner tonight, my husband and I. Just eggs and red onions. Frittata is sublime … on the beach, for a midweek supper, for lunch, eaten cold the next day … and it’s so good for you (eggs and all that). The flipping business … it takes a bit of practice, like anything else in life. But don’t knock the oven grill (broiler) method if you are scared about flipping: the heat ‘fluffls’ up the frittata beautifully …

  15. Darya

    I love frittata! I am incapable of flipping anything (I even have a hard time flipping pancakes), so I usually finish it in the oven (and call it a tortilla… I wouldn’t dare to call it a frittata after such a sacrilegious action), or I decide half way through to call it scrambled eggs. What a fun read, and yummy recipe!

    1. Francesca Post author

      Thank you, Darya. You are at least one step ahead of me, though. I don’t even try to make pancakes. Can you imagine flipping them? Usually, when I’m in the mood for pancakes, I spare myself the humiliation and go to the restaurant. πŸ˜‰

    1. Francesca Post author

      Not brave enough? Considering the PhD you got and the field you are pursuing a career in, I would say you are one of the bravest people I have ever met. Flipping should be a walk in the park for you. πŸ˜‰