What to serve? We were hosting 12 of our family for brunch to celebrate the visit of our Philadelphia cousins and their 2-year-old daughter. Some of the guests were vegetarians, some gluten-free, everyone loves to eat, and I wanted lots of time with the relatives. I decided to make 2 big frittatas as the centerpiece of the occasion.
Eggs are my favorite morning food, but scrambling, frying, and poaching are challenging for a crowd. Frittatas, however, are easygoing because eggs and flavorings are cooked together in one pan without much attention. Added bonuses: they don’t demand toast as an accompaniment- an important consideration for those of us who are gluten free- and they can be prepared ahead and served at room temperature.
After lots of experiments at Bon Appetit magazine’s test kitchen, I favor the following technique to avoid dry or rubbery eggs: I sauté onions and other flavorings in a heavy nonstick skillet, pour in eggs beaten with cheese, stir the mixture a couple of times to mingle the ingredients, cover the pan and cook over a medium-low heat just until the eggs are mostly set with areas that are still runny. I like to sprinkle on a little more cheese before setting the skillet under the broiler to finish cooking the top. The result: a lightly browned beauty with a tender texture.
Steve, his son Ethan, and my cousin Abe surround me while I cook the frittatas. The four plaid shirts were a coincidence, and I blame the chilly day.
I cooked 2 frittatas for our large group, set them out on the counter, and surrounded them with my gluten-free Herbed Cornbread; Beet, Feta, and Walnut Salad; roasted sweet potato wedges and fresh carrot sticks to dip in a mixture of Greek yogurt, grated lime zest, and fresh lime juice; and white beans suffused with pesto. My cousin Lynn writes The Actor’s Diet blog, and recorded the day here.
One more thing: For lunch the next day I warmed the small amount of leftover frittata in the microwave and then wrapped it, avocado slices, and arugula in toasted corn tortillas.
Shiitake, Spinach, and Goat Cheese Frittata
- 12 eggs
- ¾ teaspoon coarse kosher salt, plus more as needed
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1½ cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, halved and then thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh sage
- 3.5 to 4 oz fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, sliced
- 1 cup packed chopped baby spinach, baby broccoli rabe, or baby kale (about 1.5 oz)
- ¾ cup crumbled fresh goat cheese, about 3 oz
- Minced fresh Italian parsley or whole thyme leaves
- Break the eggs into a large bowl. Add ¾ teaspoon salt and a generous amount of pepper and whisk to blend. Mix in 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese.
- Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a heavy 12-inch heavy skillet (preferably nonstick) over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the sage and then the shiitake. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté until the mushrooms are tender, about 4 minutes. Add the spinach and stir until beginning to wilt, about 1 minute.
- Add the remaining 1tablespoon oil to the skillet and then the egg mixture. Stir gently to distribute evenly. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Sprinkle the goat cheese over the eggs. Cover and cook until the eggs are almost set but still moist in the center, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the broiler.
- Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup Parmesan cheese over the frittata. Broil until the eggs puff, the center is just springy to the touch, and the cheese begins to brown, about 3 minutes. Using a flexible rubber or silicone spatula, free the frittata around the edges. Slide onto a platter or leave in the pan. Sprinkle with the parsley or thyme and sere hot, warm, or at room temperature, cutting into wedges.
Photo of me cooking in the kitchen taken by Lynn Chen