A lotta frittatas

They’re fancier than scrambled eggs but not quite as elegant as an omelet.

BY DANIEL NEMAN
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE

Frittatas live in that gray area between two of America’s favorite brunch foods, or rather the yellow area. A baked egg dish with various ingredients inside, they are hearty, not delicate; filling, not frilly.

That is why you can eat them at any time, for any meal and at any temperature — hot, warm, room temperature or chilled.

Best of all, they are the ultimate blank slate. You can make them with anything you like. You are limited only by your imagination.

Even with my limited imagination, I managed to come up with five examples. They range from spicy to savory to sweet, with meat, with seafood and vegetarian. Mostly, I drew my inspiration from other

dishes, figuring that whatever works without eggs has a good chance of also working with them.

STRATA FRITTATA
Yield: 4 servings

8 eggs, lightly beaten
6 ounces sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3 ounces (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) whole milk
Salt and black pepper
2 pieces white toast, cut into small cubes
1 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, cheese, mustard, milk, and enough salt and pepper for 8 eggs, until just mixed. Stir in cubes of white toast. Set aside for 3 minutes.

In an ovenproof skillet, melt butter, swirling around on all sides. Add egg mixture and place in oven. Bake until eggs are just set, 15 to 25 minutes.

FRITTATA LORRAINE
Yield: 4 servings

8 eggs, lightly beaten
6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
4 ounces shredded Gruyere cheese, or Jarlsberg or Swiss
3 ounces (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) whole milk
Salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, bacon, cheese, milk and enough salt and pepper for 8 eggs, until just mixed.

Melt butter in an ovenproof skillet. Swirl around all sides. Add the egg mixture and place the skillet in the oven. Bake until eggs are just set, 15 to 25 minutes.

SUZETTE FRITTATA
Yield: 4 servings

8 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon orange zest, minced
1/3 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, divided
1/4 cup Grand Marnier
Salt
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, add eggs, zest, orange juice, 1/4 cup of the sugar, Grand Marnier and salt to taste (remember, you are seasoning 8 eggs). Whisk until just mixed. Add milk and whisk again until just mixed.

Melt butter in a large, oven-proof skillet, swirling it around all the sides. Add egg mixture and place skillet in oven. Cook until eggs are just fully set, 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and turn oven to broil. Sprinkle the remaining 1 teaspoon sugar evenly over the top and broil on the top rack for 3 minutes, until the top is golden brown.

NO-BAGEL FRITTATA
Yield: 4 servings

1 1/2 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 onion, chopped
4 ounces smoked salmon, chopped
8 eggs, lightly beaten
3 ounces (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) whole milk
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons capers, optional
Salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In an ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat, melt 1/2 tablespoon of the butter. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in smoked salmon and cook a minute or 2 until it changes color. Set aside.

Pour the eggs and milk into a large bowl. Add cream cheese in marble-sized chunks, along with optional capers and enough salt and pepper for 8 eggs (if the salmon is salty, do not add more salt). Whisk until just mixed.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon butter to skillet and stir to coat the sides. It’s fine if some of the onions and salmon stick to the sides. Add egg mixture and place in oven. Bake until eggs are just set, 15 to 20 minutes.

HOT MESS FRITTATA
Yield: 4 servings

1 1/2 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 potato, cut into 1/2 to 3/4-inch cubes
Salt
1/2 onion, chopped
1 carrot, sliced thin
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup diced tomato
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder, divided
5 medium mushrooms, quartered
1/2 zucchini, chopped
8 eggs, lightly beaten
3 ounces (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) whole milk
Freshly ground black pepper
Sriracha, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In an ovenproof skillet, melt 1/2 tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and salt to taste (potatoes need a lot of salt), cover and cook, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, onions, carrots, green pepper, tomato and 1 teaspoon of the curry powder. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, an additional 5 minutes. Uncover, add mushrooms and zucchini, and sauté until all the vegetables are cooked through, about 5 minutes more.

Meanwhile, add eggs, milk, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon curry powder and enough salt and pepper for 8 eggs into a large bowl. Whisk together until just mixed. Pour into the skillet and place in oven. Bake until just set, about 20 minutes. Serve with sriracha, if desired.

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