Once upon a time I was a short order cook at a breakfast place where I slung hash and flipped eggs and flapjacks, and gooped out blueberry compote onto waffles and hollandaise onto crepes. To say that I am well-versed in egg cooking is an understatement. In the four years of cooking I probably cooked more over easy eggs than any normal person in their lifetime.
The one egg dish we didn’t do right: frittatas. That thing that is like a crustless quiche or a thick open-face omelet. When done correctly, it is a decadent breakfast perfectly paired with mimosas or a savory dinner best served with a coffee hard cider (I recommend Bryant’s Hard Cider from Virginia).
Here’s how I do it:
- Dice up your veggies and/or meat. I like seasonal vegetables. Peppers and onions are fairly evergreen so they often find their way into my dishes.
- Cook up the veggies and meats. If you’re using potatoes or raw sausage, plan to throw those into the cast iron skillet first. They take longer to cook.
- Prepare the eggs. This is where the magic happens. When I make scrambled eggs or a frittata, this is my secret: baking powder. Put in a smidge and add a splash of water. Beat the eggs and add salt and pepper to your liking (our dear German friend Michaela swears by adding a wee bit of fancy stone ground mustard to her eggs and frankly, it’s damn delicious).
- Adding it all together. Let the pan cool a bit and butter it up again. Liberally. Pour in the egg and mix it up.
- Don’t screw with it. This isn’t an omelet. So don’t go poking at it or lifting the edges with some spatula. Let it cook. Cover the top with foil and reduce the heat. When the middle is jiggly, remove from the heat. This is where the magic of cast iron takes over. Even after being removed from the heat, it will continue to cook. This is called carryover cooking.
- Add cheese and garnish to the top. Spices, fresh tomato. Whatever. By the time it is done carryover cooking, the cheese will have melted and you’re ready to eat.
I often use leftovers in my frittatas. For the one pictured at the top of this post, I used leftover chicken, potatoes, pickled onions, and then topped it with enchilada sauce. Other times I use garden variety veggies. And sometimes I like to use olive oil instead of butter along with a boatload of fresh herbs and top with mozzarella for an Italian-style dish.