As a person who at least two to three nights a week doesn’t understand why we plan menus and grocery lists when we could just be eating an egg on toast, scrambled, crispy, poached or soft-cooked and smashed, I, too, would expect this site to have more frittata recipes than it does. (It has one. Sorry.) But I don’t make them much at all because they always feel like a lot of work for something that’s essentially a baked omelet with none of the 2-minute butter-drenched speed of a French one. (We’re also on an omelet kick.)
I blame the parcooked vegetables. Be they peas or broccolini, they almost always requiring trimming (i.e. knife and cutting board), a pot of boiling water, a colander to drain them and then usually an ice bath so they keep their perky green crunch, after which you get to drain them again. Oh and then you’ll probably want to dab them dry on paper towels and all of this is before you even add them to the egg mixture. Maybe you enjoy a ramp frittata? Me too, but they’re going to need to be sauteed for a bit before you add eggs. It’s not like making croissants or anything, but the tiny tasks add up to something that usually outmatches my 5:45pm motivation level.
My other gripe is that although I love my cast-iron skillet endlessly and think I keep it well-seasoned, my frittatas always stick, which leads to scrubbing and the grumpiness that comes from messing with a hard-won finish.
But, we were away for a long weekend — with 0 of 2 children with us, first time ever — eating our weight in Montreal bagels, poutine, pastries, restaurants where children would be unwelcome and a lot of daytime champagne* and while easing back in yesterday afternoon, a spring frittata for dinner suddenly seemed like the ideal antidote. Enlisting my favorite asparagus technique — using a peeler to create long ribbons — ensured that no precooking is required. Crumbled soft goat cheese requires no grating. A few crisped slices of proscuitto crisped at the bottom of the skillet are a cinch and tasty, but we found decidedly not essential here. I found that using more oil than usual and not moving the eggs at all once they hit the pan created a frittata that didn’t stick at all. And finally, as room-temperature frittatas are the norm in Italy, these work well for days you’re ambling haphazardly towards the table, hoping to keep that vacation-y feeling a little bit longer.
* which at least one of us worked off running their first half-marathon; that person was, predictably, not me. P.S. If you’re ever curious about what I’m up to when I’m not here, my personal instagram (@debperelman) is the way to find out — many Montreal outtakes there too; the site instagram (@smittenkitchen) is a great way to find out what’s new on the site, or I think is timely for a revisit.
One year ago: Pudding Chomeur and Potato Scallion and Kale Cakes
Two years ago: Avocado Cup Salads, Two Ways
Three years ago: Ramp Pizza (making this tonight!) and Yogurt Panna Cotta with Walnuts and Honey
Four years ago: Pasta with Garlicky Broccoli Rabe and Classic Ice Cream Sandwiches
Five years ago: Heavenly Chocolate Cake Roll and Crispy Potato Roast
Six years ago: Shakshuka, Easy Jam Tart and Classic Cobb Salad
Seven years ago: Artichoke Olive Crostini, Chocolate Caramel Crack(ers) and Simple Potato Gratin
Eight years ago: Caramelized Shallots, 17 Flourless Desserts and Peanut Sesame Noodles</a (though I prefer the newest version)
Nine years ago: Gnocchi with a Grater and The Tart Margarita
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Salted Peanut Butter Cookies and Baked Potatoes with Wild Mushroom Ragu
1.5 Years Ago: Carrot Cake with Cider and Olive Oil and Homemade Harissa
2.5 Years Ago: Apple Slab Pie
3.5 Years Ago: Pancetta White Bean and Swiss Chard Pot Pies and Apple Mosaic Tart with Salted Caramel
4.5 Years Ago: Cumin Seed Roasted Cauliflower with Yogurt
Shaved Asparagus Frittata
- I added a few slices of proscuitto that I’d first crisped in the pan. While they were certainly not unwelcome, you’re not going to need them here to make a great, even vegetarian, frittata.
- My favorite peeler for ribbon-ing asparagus, and well, basically everything is a y-shaped one. I have this one. I like it so much get stressed when it’s in the dishwasher and I have to be away from it for an hour.
- I ended up expecting to use 4 ounces of goat cheese but only used 2. Use the amount that looks good to you; if you buy too much, the extra is great crumbled on at the end, or basically on anything, in my opinion. You could, of course, use a handful of any other cheese that you prefer here. Frittatas are flexible.
Serves 6 in dinner-sized wedges, presuming a salad or something else on the side. Takes about 10 minutes to prep and 10 minutes to cook, tops.
1/2 pound asparagus, cleaned, not trimmed
2 ounces thinly sliced proscuitto (optional, see Note up top)
8 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk or cream
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
2 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 to 4 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled (to taste)
Prepare the asparagus: No need to snap off the tough ends of your asparagus. Lay a single stalk on its side on a cutting board. Holding onto the tough end, use a vegetable peeler to peel ribbons away from the tough end (and your hand) right through the soft tip. Discard the tough ends once you’re done peeling.
[As you get to the bottom of your stalk, you might find that the raised edge of your peeler is keeping the blade from shaving the asparagus as thin as you’d like. For this, I move the asparagus to the edge of the cutting board with the peeler blade half-off so you can get closer. Just be careful not to shave your cutting board. :) ]
Crisp the proscuitto: If you’re using the proscuitto, heat the 12-inch ovenproof skillet you’ll use for the final frittata over medium heat. Lay slices in a single layer (will need to do this in two batches) and cook them until lightly brown underneath and curling. Flip them for another 20 to 30 seconds then transfer them to paper towels to blot off the extra oil and cool. Repeat with remaining proscuitto. You’ll use the pan again in a minute.
Heat your broiler.
Vigorously beat your eggs with the milk or cream, plus salt and pepper until well-combined. Stir in scallions and crumble in crisp proscuitto, if using. Gently add asparagus peels, just swishing the egg mixture over them.
Heat your skillet over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Let it heat fully, then swish it around so it goes up the sides of the pan. Pour in asparagus and egg mixture, nudging the asparagus around so it mostly stays level with the eggs. Crumble goat cheese over, to taste. Cook gently (lowering the heat to medium-low if needed) for about 5 minutes, until the edges are set and brown but it’s still loose and eggy on top. Transfer skillet to the broiler and cook for another 1 to 3 minutes, keeping a close eye on it, until eggs are set on top.
Let cool for 5 minutes before cutting into wedges, or longer if you’d like to eat it at room temperature.