Frittatas are so versatile, forgiving and adaptable that I’m in danger of serving them way too often. Perfect for brunch, lunch, as an appetizer with drinks or a light dinner, a good frittata can be served warm, at room temperature or straight from the refrigerator.
This egg concoction is even easier to make than an omelet because the “filling” is mixed right into the eggs rather than being folded into the center of the batter while it cooks. Despite instructions from most cookbooks to use a nonstick pan, my favorite vessel is a cast-iron skillet. Thanks to many years of frying bacon, sizzling onions and potatoes, and then being wiped out with paper towels, its surface behaves as if coated. This trusty, all-purpose pan is oven-worthy no matter how high the heat.
A good frittata needs good eggs and very fresh vegetables. Now that the farmers markets are in full swing, both are easily available. Get to the market early because farm-fresh eggs have become so popular that they sell out quickly. This week you’ll also find plenty of spinach, sorrel, watercress, baby kale and lots of herbs — all are the perfect match for those eggs. You’ll want to use them in ways that showcase their delicate flavors, so hold off on cheese, which tends to weigh things down.
Take the Persian frittata that calls for fewer eggs and more greens than the classic European recipes. Nicely seasoned with cumin, cardamom and red pepper flakes, it’s packed with lots of seasonal greens and fresh herbs, including cilantro, parsley, dill and chives. Started on the stovetop, then finished in the oven, it emerges fragrant and brilliant green. This light, vibrant dish is especially good for a late supper on a hot summer’s night. It’s a favorite at picnics and casual feasts. You’ll find as many variations as there are cookbooks from the Middle East.
The recipe is meant to accommodate whatever greens and herbs are on hand so it’s a perfect dish for that late morning brunch after a shopping blitz at the farmers market.
Beth Dooley is the author of “In Winter’s Kitchen.” Find her at bethdooleyskitchen.com.