The Easter Frittata was always a much anticipated part of our Easter meal – served and eaten cold, usually the second course behind the antipasto – and after the blessing always offered by my father. Every year, he told an old tale that cautioned us not to eat the Frittata until it was blessed lest a serpent might emerge. As a child, just in case I might have wanted to sneak a bite – I heeded this warning with great trepidation!
Tradition: My parents, Loretta and Attilio, made the Frittata, a day ahead – a huge ritual – using a cast iron frying pan. The ingredients for the Easter Frittata were always the same and reflected some of the freshness of spring. They always included my father’s homemade sausage – the best I ever had or will probably ever have again. My memory is still vivid, picturing us all gathered round, hoping a crumb would drop for us to catch. We watched them prepare the ingredients and create the finished product together. This process involved much drama in the flipping and turning of this giant omelet in the very heavy pan with all the appropriate Bravo’s and gasps at the finish.
Today: For today’s kitchen, it is surprisingly easy to make, can be made a day in advance, and chilled. Besides the Easter presentation, this Frittata has many “anytime” uses: as a preliminary course to a meal, a meal in itself, a brunch dish, or as a delicious appetizer cut into small pieces and served with cocktails. It is a perfect selection for serving On the Patio – making it a great “go-to” dish for my favorite place to dine.
With the holiday and spring fast approaching – let’s get to work! Andiamo!
This recipe makes one large frittata. For a smaller version – just cut the ingredients in half!
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: About 20 minutes
1 dozen eggs
¼ c. heavy cream
¾ c. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese
1 bunch fresh asparagus
Olive oil to drizzle asparagus
1 ¼ lb Italian Sausage -out of casings – broken up into bits (combination of hot and mild is always good)
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. Butter
4 Cloves fresh garlic – chopped finely
2 Tbsp. Chopped Fresh Parsley
2 Tbsp. Chopped Fresh Basil
1 bunch of green spring onions – with green tops – coarsely chopped
¾ lb-1 lb Basket Cheese or Fresh Mozzarella – cubed
(Basket Cheese is a bland and very moist cheese made from cow’s milk and very traditional to this dish. It is very difficult to find in Atlanta and some other areas. Fresh Mozzarella is a perfectly good substitute.)
Whisk the eggs together with ¼ cup heavy cream, salt and pepper to taste, and ¾ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano – Set aside.
Roast the bunch of asparagus – I like the flavor provided by roasting the asparagus. Cut off the ends and bake drizzled with a little olive oil and a little salt and pepper at 400 degrees for about 12-15 min. til just fork tender – do not over cook! Cut the roasted asparagus into 1 1/2-2 inch pieces. Set aside.
In a large non-stick fry pan, saute 1 ¼ lb Italian Sausage in 2 tbsp. Olive oil til no longer pink. Remove sausage from pan with slotted spoon and set aside. Take the fry pan and swirl the drippings around so that the sides are coated. Now add 1 tbsp butter – melt in pan and swirl around the sides again.
Place this fry pan over medium high heat, and add the garlic and green onions. Saute a couple of min. til just tender.
To this pan over medium high heat, now add the parsley and basil – mix together – followed by the eggs. Give it a quick stir. Add the asparagus, sausage and cubed cheese – stir just a little to distribute.
Continue to cook over medium high heat being careful not to burn. After a bit –it should be set on the sides and bottom and be just a little runny in the middle – peek at the bottom – it should appear golden brown. At this point, place it in a 400 degree oven until completely set and firm in the middle.I always tap it with a knife in the middle. If it shakes – it is not yet set. Do not over cook or it will be dry. It should be just set throughout – takes just a few minutes depending on your oven. Check it after about 10.
Two ways: There are two ways to serve this:
1. You can either pop it under the broiler for a couple of minutes to brown the top and then gently slide it onto a plate (use your spatula to coax if needed). OR -
2. You can invert it onto a plate. In this case you don’t need to use the broiler step as it will appear browned on the top when you invert it.
This Easter Frittata a very easy dish to make – just takes a few steps, and it can and should be made a day ahead and served cold! How can you beat that?