A Better Frittata: Tips from Alice Waters

There are a handful of cookbooks we turn to when we're looking to perfect a classic recipe. Alice Waters' The Art of Simple Food has become one of those books. In it, we found three great tips for making the perfect frittata. We love books like this one because they offer great information about the basics of a recipe. Once you've got those down, you can get creative with flavors and ingredients. Here's what we learned about making a frittata:
  1. Cook the vegetables first. This may seem like a no-brainer, but we think it's worth a mention. It's obvious that dense vegetables like potatoes need to be cooked before the eggs are added. But, in the past, we've tossed in raw, quick-cooking vegetables like spinach or mushrooms assuming that by the time the eggs are cooked, they'll have cooked enough too. That may be, but they also release moisture while cooking, and we don't want a watery frittata.
  2. Salt the eggs just before you cook them. Pre-salting the eggs and setting them aside while you cook the vegetables or meat will make them watery.
  3. Combine eggs with other ingredients in a bowl, not the pan. If any of these tips could be called "controversial," this is probably it. Many recipes call for eggs to be added directly to the pan after other ingredients have been cooked. Waters suggests combining everything in a bowl and then pouring the mixture into a clean pan. She doesn't offer any hard science to back up the suggestion, just that the method has given her the best results. We gave it a try and it worked out well. It might not be absolutely necessary, but it did help to evenly distribute all the ingredients.

What are your best frittata tips?

More Frittata Tips and Recipes
Recipe Review: Zucchini-Potato Frittata
Recipe: Lemon Frittata with Leeks and Goat Cheese
Feeding a Crowd: Frittata Squares
Weeknight Recipe: Potato, Red Pepper, and Feta Frittata
Tip: Put Leftover Pasta in Your Frittata

(Images: Clockwise from top, Emma Christensen, Faith Durand, Elizabeth Passarella)

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