This is my first “baked” frittata. I have always followed in the footsteps of my mother, grandmother, great grandmother and made my frittatas on top of the stove, a method that takes a lot of practice and confidence, perhaps even a hands on lesson. But, this method just might be the way to go if the idea of flipping a frittata is a little intimidating, or if you want to avoid standing at the stove.
I am embracing cast iron with gusto, and decided to turn it into a baking dish that could make a frittata in the oven that gives my stove top method some tough competition. I was hesitant to give this a try, as the protein in eggs naturally wants to bind to a pan, and I didn’t know how the pan was going to behave. Success would mean it would slip out of the pan easily in one piece. Tadaaaaa. It worked.
The eggs baked beautifully, while forming a bit of a golden crust that made for a delicious texture. The inside eggs, beaten with a splash of cream, almost had a quiche like texture, and the end result was show stopping beautiful.
Now that I’ve convinced you (hopefully) of trying this technique, allow me to persuade you to try a broccoli basil combination. I once made a broccoli and basil aoup and was delighted with the aromatic surprise the broccoli needs. Typically broccoli and cheddar travel the egg path together but the mozzarella compliments the basil a bit better, because olive oil is the base and one could put this in a crusty Italian roll and melt even more mozzarella cheese into the bread for a great lunch. I also avoided cheddar, trying to avoid the idea of those many broccoli cheddar casseroles.
I started this with a fully cured pan that has been around forever. It’s my smallest of my three frying pans (8 inch). You can see that there is not a large amount of oil used, at least not as much if this was being prepared stove top. I chopped the broccoli and sauteed in the cast iron pan until the broccoli was tender. This is your judgment call. You don’t want mushy broccoli, but you don’t want it too crisp either. It will continue to cook a bit in the oven, so keep that in mind.
Using an 8 inch pan, I used 10 large eggs and enough broccoli to cover the bottom of the pan. I have a bias toward farmer’s market eggs that are super fresh with vibrant yellow yolks. Good eggs, collected from a caring, humane farm simply cost more money, up to three times what bargain grocery store eggs cost. The good news is that expensive eggs are affordable if you compare them protein to protein. Expensive fresh cage free eggs purchased from the farmer cost on average $.33 per egg. This will make your meal comparable to the $.99 hamburger. The cheap eggs cost $.9 an egg. For $.22 more per egg, you can have a much healthier egg, a happier chicken, and keep your local farmer alive. The eggs look better, taste better and your body knows the difference.
The frittata baked in the oven approximately 30 minutes and came out a slightly golden brown and oh so appetizing.
Please check out my side bar where a number of cast iron dishes are listed.
- 1 large bunch of broccoli or enough to cover skillet, cut into small pieces.
- Extra virgin olive oil or canola oil
- 10 large eggs, beaten
- Splash of cream (optional)
- 1 handful basil torn into small pieces
- 1 cup Fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into cubes or small thick slices
- Sea salt
- Black pepper, freshly ground
- Touch of freshly grated nutmeg
- Saute broccoli in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper until cooked but still firm as it will continue to cook in oven.
- Beat eggs. Add salt, pepper splash of fresh cream and just a touch of nutmeg. The cream results in a richer texture, but is not absolutely necessary. Once broccoli is sauteed, make sure the pan has enough oil on bottom and sides so that the eggs don’t stick, approximately 2 tablespoons. My pan is very well seasoned (cured) and I probably used 1 tablespoon. Add beaten eggs.
- Arrange mozzarella evenly, but not covered all over.
- Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25-40 minutes or until the middle is set. Check at 25 minutes. The time will depend on size of pan, your oven, etc.
- Once frittata is removed from oven, allow to cool for at least 10 minutes. Cut into wedges.
- Frittata is best served at room temperature.