While working out at the gym a couple of weeks ago, I caught an episode of Tyler Florence’s show on the Food Network, Tyler’s Ultimate. He did an ultimate Saturday breakfast with a blood orange mimosa, a home-made granola/yogurt parfait and a frittata with smoked ham and Gruyère cheese. Check out his recipes on the Food Network website: Tyler’s Ultimate: Episode TU0413H.
I’ve been tinkering with my frittata recipe for years and after watching his interpretation of the dish, I decided to give mine one last go and share the results with you. So much for my 45 minutes on the treadmill.
I first fell in love with the frittata on a trip to Spain, where it is called a Spanish tortilla. I was confused at first because I thought a tortilla was that flour thing you stuffed your burrito into, but it turns out that the word tortilla is derived from the word torta, which means “round cake”. A Spanish tortilla is typically a round omelette made with eggs, sautéed potatoes and onions. It is served at room temperature in cafés or Tapas bars. I was startled when it was served lukewarm, but that’s the tradition. Here in the States, we tend to like our frittatas hot out of the oven or off of the stove, but in Spanish Tapas bars, the frittata sits on the counter all day long waiting for the next customer.
My goal with this frittata is to make sure that the potatoes have just the right texture. They need to be fully cooked, but not overly cooked and it helps if they aren’t too starchy. You don’t want them to go “mush” when you cut through the frittata with your fork. For all of these reasons, I choose the waxy Charlotte potato. Another variety that works well is the Maris Peer. (Want to know everything there is to know about potato varieties? Visit the Potato Council website. The trick is to sautée the onions first and add the potatoes until both are fully cooked. Then you’re ready to cook the eggs with the potatoes.
Another frittata challenge is getting the whole thing to cook all the way through. There are frittata pans at Williams-Sonoma that are frying pans with two sides so that you can flip the entire pan over and cook both sides. Here’s an example:
Other recipes instruct you to finish the frittata in the oven, but you have to have an oven-safe skillet to do that. I don’t have an oven-safe skillet and I don’t have a frittata pan, so I just cook it slowly on the stove top with a lid on it. I’ll explain more about that below.
8 jumbo eggs
1/2 cup half & half
1 cup shredded Gruyère cheese
Salt & pepper
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
1 Tbsp butter
3 large waxy potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
1/2 cup diced shallots
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan
Thyme to garnish
1. Beat together the eggs, milk, salt, pepper and thyme. Stir in the Gruyère. Set aside.
2. Over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions and sautée until just soft – about 2 minutes. Add the potatoes and toss to coat with onion and butter. Stir frequently to keep the potatoes from sticking to the bottom. Adjust heat to keep onions from over browning. Continue to sautée until potatoes are cooked through – as long as 15 minutes depending on the thickness of the slices.
3. Remove the onions and potatoes to a plate and wipe the hot pan with a cloth to remove leftover fried bits. Spray with a little cooking spray if you think you need it. Add the egg mixture. Keep the heat on the medium, to medium high side while the egg starts to set. This will help make the egg mixture pull away from the sides which will make it slip out of the pan later. When the eggs have started to set, add the potato/onion mixture and spread it around evenly and flatly. Reduce heat to very low (you don’t want the bottom to scorch) cover the pan and cook for 30 – 40 minutes.
4. Test to see if it is done in the middle. It may need more time. If it is ready, add the Parmesan cheese and cover for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, slide onto a serving plate and garnish with fresh thyme sprigs. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing up the servings or allow it to cool to room temperature (depending on your taste).