July: Frittata Margherita

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FRITTATA MARGHERITA, the July Recipe of the Month, has a little history. Sometimes you wonder how things get started. There are very few pizza lovers who are not aware of the famed Pizza Margherita. One might ask was there a real person for whom this pizza was named? Who was Margherita? Why does a pizza bear her name?

Well, she was indeed real. She even has a Facebook page! All of this “Margherita” hoopla honors Margherita of Savoy, Queen consort of Italy. She was the wife of Umberto of Piedmont, her first cousin…ahem! Her only child was Umberto, Prince of Naples, who became Victor Emmanuel III of Italy. It is believed that she deserves much credit for the unification of Italy with her enthusiastic promotion of things Italian and thus conducting her life in the traditional Italian style of the time including mode of dress, jewelry etc.

She was particularly beloved in Naples, and they named a pizza after her, the Pizza Margherita, which consists of a traditional thin crust with a topping of sliced fresh tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, and fresh mozzarella cheese.

FRITTATA MARGHERITA is similar in ingredients to its famous “pizza cousin”. It is a simple, healthy recipe, with a beautiful blend of fresh ingredients creating a versatile dish, lovely in its presentation of the vibrant colors of the Italian flag. It says “summertime” with its freshness, and, yes, it is one of those dishes that calls me to the patio again and again for brunch, lunch, or as a before dinner appetizer. It is best made in these summer months when tomatoes “talk back to you” with sweetness and flavor. The FRITTATA MARGHERITA is also my husband, Tom’s, favorite frittata!




Serves: 6 as an appetizer

4 as a brunch or lunch dish

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: about 30 minutes


Olive Oil

2 cloves fresh garlic – chopped finely

9 eggs beaten together

1/4 c. heavy cream

1/4 c. Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese or Grana Padano Cheese

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste

2 Large Fresh Tomatoes –  sliced

1-1 1/2 cups Whole Fresh Basil Leaves

8 oz. Fresh Mozzarella – sliced

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste


Rub a 10 inch fry pan with a little olive oil.

You are going to build this frittata in layers.

Sprinkle a  third of the chopped garlic on the bottom of the pan and saute lightly a minute.

Lay some of the tomato slices on the bottom of the pan in a single layer. Sprinkle with some salt and pepper.

Then add half of the basil leaves over the top.

Sprinkle half of the mozzarella slices over the basil.

Follow with another layer of tomato slices – salt and pepper and chopped garlic.

Add another layer of basil leaves and mozzarella slices.

Gently beat the heavy cream and cheese into the beaten eggs, and add some Kosher Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste – mix together.

Then pour the egg mixture over the layers in the pan.

Put in on the stove at medium high. It will puff up a little. When the sides firm up and just the center is still liquid (about 10 minutes) – put the fry pan in the oven at 350 degrees until the frittata is firm in the middle – about 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and invert onto a plate.

Serve warm or cold, slicing in wedges for brunch or lunch and squares for appetizers. If serving straight from the oven, let it sit for about 10 minutes before cutting.

For wine: A lovely Pinot Noir would suit if you would like to serve red. For white wine, I would enjoy a crisp cold Pinot Grigio or Soave.


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Food Photos By Tommy Hanks Photography

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