Quick, easy and packed with flavour, frittatas are a great way to transform eggs into meals that go the distance. Here are three simple recipes to try now.
As summer rolls on, it can be tricky to think of ever-more creative ways to eat in the heat. You might have enjoyed giving savoury tarts, noodle salads, and grain bowls a whirl; but everyone has days when they’ve got no motivation to cook or shop, and are in need a quick meal that can go go from pan to plate in 15 minutes – no messing around.
If you’ve got eggs to hand, then easy, delicious dinners will always be within grasp. Take light, fluffy omelettes: whether plain or stuffed with your favourite fillings, they never fail to transform scant ingredients into a real meal. But if you’re after a slightly more substantial dish that can be eaten cold and might stretch over a couple of days, then a frittata is an endlessly satisfying alternative.
Wondering what the difference is between the two dishes? We’ve got you covered. If you’re making an omelette, you’ll most likely be making it just for yourself, and you’ll fold your fillings into the centre of the egg mix.
Italian frittatas, on the other hand, are typically made for a larger group of people, with the fillings worked into the egg mix before it hits the pan. When the edges are set, it may be transferred into the oven to finish cooking, which results in the deliciously deep, quiche-like consistency that lends itself so perfectly to wedge-shaped slices.
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Despite the slight differences in cooking methods, both meals are a great way to make use of a fridge full of leftovers: a handful of new potatoes, half a bag of spinach and a nub of hard cheese can all assume new life when you add eggs to the mix.
Below, you’ll find three irresistible frittata and omelette recipes, courtesy of Gill Meller, Annie Rigg and Katherine Bebo. While there’ll always be debate about where an omelette starts and a frittata begins, these delicious, filling recipes blur the boundaries and combine the best of both worlds. Weeknight meals never looked better.
Gill Meller's omelette with new potatoes, smoked garlic, onions and cheddar
Gill says: “There are a couple of stages that help this omelette stand out. The first is the cooking of the potatoes. Give them enough time in the pan to collapse in the hot olive oil before you spoon them into the eggs, which is the second stage. Stir in the soft potatoes and let them rest there, to soak up the eggs. You shouldn’t be able to tell where the egg begins and the potato ends. The two should – almost – become one. If you can’t find smoked garlic, use normal garlic cloves instead.”
- 6 eggs
- 300ml extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 500g new potatoes, cut into 2–3mm (1⁄16–⅛in) slices
- 4 smoked garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp thyme leaves
- 1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 75g cheddar cheese, grated
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl, but don’t whisk them up. Set aside.
Place a large frying pan over a low–medium heat and add the olive oil. When it’s warm, add the onion and cook, stirring regularly, for 6–8 minutes, until softened but not browned. Stir in the potato slices and cook, turning occasionally, for 15–20 minutes, or until the potatoes are just beginning to break up.
Add the smoked garlic, thyme and parsley and cook for a further 1 minute or so, then use a slotted spoon to lift the potato and onion mixture out of the pan into the bowl with the eggs.
Remove the pan from the heat, but reserve the cooking oil.
Add the cheese and plenty of salt and pepper and stir well to break up the eggs. Leave the mixture to sit for 15–20 minutes.
To cook, heat a medium-sized non-stick pan over a medium heat. Add a dash of the reserved cooking oil and wipe it around the pan with some kitchen paper to coat (you can jar any remaining cooking oil for another time).
Spoon in the potato and egg mixture and give the pan a little shake to even everything out. Cook for 3 minutes, then turn up the heat and cook for a further 1 minute or so, until the omelette is beginning to firm up on the underside.
Place a flat plate over the top of the pan and carefully flip the pan, inverting the omelette onto the plate. Return the pan to the heat and gently slide the omelette back into the pan and cook for a further 3 minutes on a medium heat and 1 minute or so on a high heat, until cooked through and golden.
Slide the omelette onto a plate and allow it to rest for at least 5 minutes before serving with a dressed green salad.
From Root, Stem, Leaf, Flower: How to Cook With Vegetables And Other Plants by Gill Meller (£27, Quadrille), out now
Katherine Bebo’s chorizo, red pepper and pea frittata squares
- 4 cooking chorizo sausages (about 60g)
- 16 eggs
- 300 ml crème fraîche
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 150g (about 1 medium) finely chopped red onion
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 130g fresh or frozen peas
- 1 red pepper, seeded and cut into strips
- 60g baby spinach
- a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4.
Place the chorizo sausages on a baking sheet and cook in the preheated oven for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven, drain on paper towels and cut into 1-cm/1⁄2-inch slices. Cover and set aside.
Reduce the oven temperature to 110°C (225°F) Gas 1⁄4. Put the eggs in a large mixing bowl with the crème fraîche and lightly beat to combine. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick, ovenproof frying pan set over low-medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until soft but not coloured.
Add the sliced chorizo, peas and (bell) pepper strips and cook for 2–3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the baby spinach and stir until the spinach just begins to wilt.
Arrange the mix evenly over the bottom of the pan and carefully pour in the egg mixture.
Reduce the heat and gently cook the frittata, moving the egg in a little from the edge of the pan as it cooks (similar to how you would cook an omelette), using a spatula to run around the outside of the pan. You don’t want to get any colour on the bottom of the frittata, so it is key to keep the temperature low.
Continue running the spatula around the outside of the pan to ensure the frittata doesn’t stick.
After about 10 minutes, once it has just set on the bottom and the sides, place the pan in the oven for 15–20 minutes until the frittata is lightly golden and just set in the middle. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
Once cool, cover the pan with a chopping board and turn it over to release the frittata. Cut it into 4-cm/11⁄2-inch squares and transfer to a plate to serve.
From Big Night In: Delicious Themed Menus to Cook & Eat at Home by Katherine Bebo (£14.99, Ryland, Peters & Small), out now
Annie Rigg’s masala omelette
Annie says: “Potatoes and spinach are not normally added to this Indian staple breakfast dish, but they do add another portion of veggies to your daily quota and make it a more substantial supper dish. Serve it with warm roti, naan or paratha.”
- 6 small new potatoes
- 3 tbsp light olive or sunflower oil
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- 4 eggs
- 3 spring onions, sliced
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 green chilli, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp chopped coriander
- 6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- ½ tsp garam masala
- good handful young leaf spinach
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender when tested with the point of a knife. Drain and cut into quarters.
Heat half of the olive oil in a medium (20cm) frying pan over a medium heat, add the cooked potatoes and cook for 3–4 minutes until golden, turning often. Add the cumin seeds, season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper and, crushing the potatoes slightly with the back of the wooden spoon, cook for a further 2 minutes until crisp. Remove the potatoes from the pan.
Break the eggs into a bowl and mix to combine. Add the sliced spring onions, crushed garlic, chilli, coriander, cherry tomatoes, turmeric and garam masala, season and mix well to combine.
Heat the remaining oil in the pan over a medium heat and ladle in half of the egg mixture. Cook the omelette quickly, swirling the pan and dragging the edges of the omelette into the middle of the pan to allow the runny egg to fill the space.
When the egg is almost set, add half of the potatoes and spinach to the pan and continue to cook for 1 minute. Slide the omelette onto a warm plate and cook the second omelette in the same way.
Serve immediately with warm roti, naan or paratha.
From Eat More Veg by Annie Rigg (£14.99, National Trust Books), out now
Images: Andrew Montgomery; Nassima Rothacker; Ryland, Peters & Small
Christobel Hastings is a London-based journalist covering pop culture, feminism, LGBTQ and lore.