Who doesn’t love having breakfast flavors all day? Frittatas are the perfect vehicle for those classic breakfast components we crave—fluffy eggs, smokey ham, salty cheese—to make the ultimate Italian omelette.
I’ve typically turned my nose up to making frittatas since I don’t really like the idea of my eggs getting that brown crusty layer on the bottom and the edges. Wouldn’t it be rubbery? Make the eggs taste flat? I imagined if you seared a wet kitchen sponge and threw it in the oven, that would be a frittata. A seared soggy sponge.
I’ve mostly made quiches—which has a similar custard-like filling, but it’s poured into a pie crust. And mind you, they always make pretty great lunch fare, but it often has a heaviness and density that I don’t necessarily want. Or what if I just don’t have the time to make, mold, and blind bake the dough? Does it have to be so involved? I gave the frittata the chance to prove its worth day, and WOW did it change my mind!
After researching several recipes, I decided to include the base flavors I know and love that never fail me—smokey diced ham, gruyère and fontina cheese, caramelized onions, fresh parsley, and lots of parmesan. I cooked the frittata in a cast iron skillet over medium heat, and then finished it off to puff up in the oven. I love how thick the frittata turned out. I expected the eggs to be a thin and dense waffle of sorts—at least, those are the ones I’ve had in the past. But this time, the height was perfect. It did come out a bit on the salty side, but the ham was surprisingly sweet and helped balance it out. The texture was perfect. The eggs were light and creamy—and yes, that brown layer of egg formed on the bottom and sides, but it held the slices together perfectly and really had no overpowering flavor or texture that I had assumed it would. The cheese melted into lovely pockets of ribbons that wrapped around the nuggets of sweet honey ham. The onions settled to the bottom and became that perfect layer that hits your tongue on the first bite.
Serve a slice with fresh arugula tossed in a light Meyer lemon vinaigrette, and you have a perfect lunch.
Velvety, pillowy, spongey. The Frittata.
: Caramelized Onion, Smoked Ham, and Gruyère Frittata :
• 6 large eggs
• 2 Tbsp heavy cream
• 1/2 cup gruyère cheese, grated
• 1/2 cup fontina cheese, grated
• 1 Tbsp butter
• 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
• 1 cup diced smoked ham
• 1/4 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
• 2 Tbsp Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
Preheat an oven to 400 degrees.
Melt the butter in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add onion and a pinch of salt. Stir to coat onions in butter and cover with a lid for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions soften. Remove lid and continue to cook onions until well caramelized, another 8-10 minutes.
While the onions cook, beat the eggs and cream in a medium bowl until slightly frothy. Add a pinch of pepper. Fold in cheeses and fresh parsley. Set aside.
Add diced ham to the cast iron skilled and cook 2-3 minutes, until edges of meat become slightly caramelized. Then, slowly pour the egg mixture into the pan. Leave the pan undisturbed over medium heat for 5 minutes until the edges set.
Sprinkle top of frittata with parmesan. Put the skillet into the center of the oven and bake for 10 minutes, until eggs have set and the frittata has fluffed up and edges are slightly browned.
Remove from oven and cool slightly. Use a rubber spatula to help pull the sides away from the pan. Cut into wedges and serve with a light arugula salad.
• For the salad, whisk 2 tsp meyer lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper, and slowly drizzle in 1 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Lightly toss with arugula or other mixed greens.