Why This Recipe Works
- Blanching the asparagus keeps it bright green, plump, and juicy.
- Finishing the frittata under the broiler means you don't have to attempt to flip it midway through cooking.
- Salting the eggs in advance helps them retain moisture and remain tender.
After going on at length about my love of French omelettes, it might seem like mastering their technique is my one and only omelette obsession. Which is mostly true. But I also love easy dishes that require minimal technique, and, in the world of omelettes, that distinction has to go to the Italian frittata. No stuffing, no folding, nothing complicated—a frittata is as easy as omelettes get.
Sure, one could argue that flipping a frittata midway through cooking is a challenge, but I'd suggest that you don't really need to do that. It's just as easy to avoid all those contortions and acrobatics by popping it under the broiler to set the top.
When do I choose to make a frittata over a French omelette? I do it when I'm feeling lazy, for one, but even more so, I do it when I want to focus less on the eggs and more on the other ingredients—usually vegetables at their shining best. The eggs just hold it all together and provide enough protein to turn it into an easy meal. The appearance of all the great spring produce at the farmers market is just such an occasion. I can't even begin to describe my glee at seeing the piles of lively ramps and the bundles of stout, fresh-picked asparagus on my most recent visit.
Ramps are delicate wild leeks that are foraged mostly in the Northeast and show up in farmers markets this time of year. (You might also see them in gourmet supermarkets or Asian markets.) They have a garlicky aroma, but, instead of garlic's harsh bite, they leave a sweet, leek-like flavor on the tongue. Because they're so delicate, it's not abnormal for even the freshest ones to have a few dings and dark spots on their leaves. So long as the bulbs are healthy-looking, they should be good to go.
When I'd gotten all my vegetables home, I quickly blanched the asparagus to preserve its vibrant green color and fresh sweet taste, and to give it a tender, juicy bite. Then I sliced up the ramps, separating the bulbs from the leaves. (If you don't have ramps, you can easily substitute a diced leek and a couple of cloves of sliced garlic, for a different but delicious flavor.)
I tossed the sliced ramp bulbs and stems in a skillet—you'll want to use either a well-seasoned cast iron or carbon steel skillet, or a nonstick pan—with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and cooked them until they were slightly softened, then added the leaves and let them wilt. After that, I tossed in the chopped-up asparagus and minced thyme, and poured just enough egg over the whole thing to nearly submerge it all.
Just like with scrambled eggs, the way in which you cook the eggs can have a big effect on the results. Recipes that use higher heat and minimal stirring will give you a puffier frittata, with more heavily browned edges and a drier interior curd.
For creamier, moister frittatas (the way I like them), the main thing is to stir the egg constantly at first, until loose curds form throughout, but stop before they permanently separate into fully cooked scrambled eggs. Then give it a minute or two over a moderate flame to help set the eggs on the bottom, before placing the skillet under the broiler to cook the top.
Spring Ramp and Asparagus Frittata
Fresh-picked asparagus and ramps add a juicy green bite to a frittata that's as pure a celebration of spring as you can get.
10 large eggs
1 pound (450g) asparagus, woody ends trimmed
3 tablespoons (45ml) extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces (225g) ramps, root ends trimmed, bulbs thinly sliced and leaves roughly chopped, divided (see note)
1/2 teaspoon (about 1g) minced fresh thyme leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs with 2 large pinches salt. Set aside.
In a pot of boiling salted water, blanch asparagus until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Using tongs, transfer asparagus to an ice bath or cold water to chill. Drain and cut asparagus into 1-inch lengths.
Adjust rack to 4 inches below broiler and preheat broiler to high. Heat oil in a 10-inch oven-safe nonstick or well-seasoned cast iron or carbon steel skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add sliced ramp bulbs and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in ramp leaves and thyme and cook until leaves are just wilted, about 1 minute. Stir in asparagus and cook until warmed through, 30 seconds. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour eggs into skillet and cook, stirring and scraping pan all over, until loose curds form throughout, about 3 minutes; stop stirring before they permanently separate into scrambled eggs. Let cook until eggs on bottom are set, about 2 minutes.
Place frittata under broiler and cook just until eggs on top are set. Shake pan to loosen frittata, using a spatula to separate the edges if necessary. Turn frittata out onto a plate or serve directly from skillet. Serve warm or at room temperature.
If you don't have ramps, you can substitute a similar amount of diced leek plus 2 thinly sliced cloves of garlic. Sauté both in oil, like the ramps, until softened.
10-inch oven-safe nonstick skillet or well-seasoned cast iron or carbon steel skillet
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 4 to 6|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 15g||19%|
|Saturated Fat 4g||18%|
|Total Carbohydrate 6g||2%|
|Dietary Fiber 2g||6%|
|Total Sugars 2g|
|Vitamin C 7mg||35%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|