Italians love their frittata, (free-TAH-ta ) which is a simpler version of the more famous French omelette. It is a dish where eggs are the main ingredient, and to which vegetables, cheese, meat or even left over pasta is added according to what is available and what takes your fancy…
The difference between a Frittata and an omelette is in the cooking method: in an omelette the ingredients are gently placed into the beaten eggs as they are cooking in the pan; in a frittata, the eggs and ingredients are mixed together, and then cooked more slowly.
For our Wine Tasting nibbles we thought that a Frittata made with seasonal courgettes, with herbs and parmesan would have been an ideal choice. It can be made in advance, cut in bite size pieces and it tastes wonderful cold! Also, the combination of delicate flavours was going to suit our choice of wines for the evening. The wine that suited the courgette’s flavours best seemed to be the Malvasia, a light and aromatic white wine from Lazio, home of amazing frittata!
2 or 3 medium size Courgettes, sliced fairly thinly
5 eggs, beaten
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 clove of garlic, chopped finely
3 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese
A handful of finely chopped garden herbs, such as mint or basil (we used a few leaves of Mentuccia a type of mint that grows freely in the Italian countryside!)
Olive oil for frying
Salt and Pepper
Gently fry the onion and garlic in a couple of spoonfuls of olive oil, until soft, and then add the sliced courgettes and sauté on medium heat. The courgettes should be nicely cooked, not browned and when ready allow them to cool down.
Add the grated cheese, seasoning, chopped herbs to the beaten eggs, then add the cooked vegetable mix.
Heat up the pan, ideally non stick, with a little more olive oil and pour the egg mixture into it, lowering the heat to avoid burning the bottom of the frittata. With the help of a spatula and a wooden fork, allow the upper, liquid part of the mixture to slip down below the solidified part, so that all parts of the frittata are cooked. When the top seems quite firm the frittata is ready to be turned over. What follows may look a little difficult, but it only takes a little practice, and it is fun!
So, remove the pan from the heat and place a flat plate over the frittata with one hand firmly on top of the plate and the other hand holding the pan handle and quickly turn the whole thing upside down. Immediately slide the frittata off the plate (the golden-brown side will now appear on top) back into the pan to finish cooking for the last few minutes.
The more you practice the better your frittata will be, and you will be able to find the correct proportions of ingredients to make the perfect frittata, not too dry, not too runny, and tasting just how you like it.