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The scoop on this recipe…
Well friends, this week has been another one of those endless battles with perfectionism. Sometimes I feel like all I do is try to convince myself that anything less than perfection will not kill me! This beautiful zucchini tomato frittata was a welcome reminder that perfection is not necessary to accomplish a desired result.
I could definitely catagorize this into the growing list of recipes made from a nearly empty pantry. This time I was out of milk, cream, butter, and cheese. Every fritttata recipe I looked up included at least one of these! My first reaction was to sink down on my couch and mope about how I couldn’t make the frittata. But that’s no fun and it certainly doesn’t fill my stomach!
So I decided to make up my own frittata recipe. Worst case scenario, it could be a little disgusting and we eat it anyway. Best case scenario, it could turn out great, and I share it here on the blog.
You can guess how it turned out since I’m here writing about it!
Lesson learned: Taking creative risks pays off. If things turn out well, your confidence soars and you are inspired to take more creative freedom. If they aren’t great, you can still congradulate yourself because you had the courage to step out of your comfort zone.
And let the recond stand: it is possible to make an amazing, fluffy, moist frittata without cream, milk, butter, or cheese.
Some notes for making this zucchini tomato frittata…
There are a few things that worked together to make this recipe a success. The recipe is for my zucchini tomato frittata, however you can use the recipe and these notes as a foundation to create your own flavors. Each point highlights some things I’ve learned while experimenting with frittatas. As long as you follow a few guidelines, you can go freestyle, take some creative risks, and engineer your own combinations.
1. I used a cast iron skillet.
Using a cast iron or enameled cast iron skillet made all the difference in the world. Since the frittata is started on the stove top and then transferred to the oven, you need a pan that is safe for both. Cast iron is my favorite option for this technique because it holds and emanates heat the best. What are the implications for your frittata? You’ll end up with a gorgeous, evenly but gently cooked egg that isn’t scorched on the bottom.
Since this recipe uses tomatoes, an acidic ingredient, my recommendation is to use an enameled cast iron skillet. The enamel coating prevents iron from leaching into food.
As you can see from the pictures, I used my bare cast iron skillet without a problem, but I’ve been consistently seasoning and primping this baby for almost a year. So yes, once a cast iron piece is well seasoned, you can cook with acidic foods. But don’t expect to get great results if you’re working with brand new gear. Until the patina is well established, your more acidic food may have a metallic taste.
Don’t own a cast iron skillet? For enameled cast iron, I recommend this skillet from Le Creuset and this Lodge skillet as a less pricey alternative. For bare cast iron, go with this Lodge. Or better yet, take a look in your grandmother’s kitchen. Well-seasoned vintage cast iron is a jewel for anyone’s collection, and you never know what you might find!
2. I selected and prepared my vegetables for success.
When choosing vegetables and other ingredients such as cheese, take a moment and strategize. Analyze your ingredients and make sure you understand how to bring out the best of each one. Will you saute everything at the same time or add each ingredient one-by-one to give some longer to cook before baking? How long do you want to bake your frittata? Some vegetables take longer to cook than others. The moisture content of each vegetable differs too, and this is important to understand because you don’t want a watery frittata that falls apart when you lift out your slices.
- High moisture foods such as tomatoes are best cut thin and sweated until the majority of their water evaporates.
- Most root vegetables will take much longer to cook through and tenderize. For the best results, slice these vegetables paper thin, shred them, pre-boil, or roast.
- Aromatic ingredients like onions and garlic give their best flavor when minced or cut very fine and sauteed in oil or butter.
- Powdered seasonings can be added to the egg mixture or to the saute. If you add to the saute they will infuse the oil and the flavor will be different than if they are added to the eggs.
- In general, soft cheese melts much faster than hard cheese. If you want a melty, stringy cheese but don’t want to bake your frittata forever, select a soft cheese such as brie or mozzarella.
3. Know how to work with your eggs.
- Crack your eggs into a mixing bowl, to avoid the hassle of fishing shell shards out of a hot frying pan. (Been there, done that. Face-palm. In this case, it’s worth the extra dirty dish.)
- Add a pinch or two of salt to your eggs when you whisk them in the mixing bowl. This results in fluffier eggs.
- Whisk your eggs thoroughly. Because the egg whites and egg yokes cook at different temperatures, you want a thoroughly homogenized mixture to avoid under-cooked/overcooked segments in your frittata.
- Make sure your frying pan is the right temperature when you pour in your eggs. If it is too hot, they will burn on the bottom. Without enough heat they will stick. When using high heat to saute your vegetables, you may want to turn the heat down before adding your eggs. In cases when the pan is extremely hot, turn off the heat and then add your eggs.
4. Timing is everything!
- Preheat your frying pan while you are prepping your veggies. Preheat your oven while you’re sauteing. If you have to wait for the oven to preheat, your eggs will cook too much on the bottom.
- If you are doing a multi-step saute with various vegetables, prep all of your veggies first so you don’t have to pause to cut the next thing you need to add.
- The same goes with cheese. Measure out, shred or slice your cheese before you pour in the eggs. You’ll either add the cheese and pour the eggs over or you’ll add the eggs and then the cheese. Either way, these two ingredients should be prepped and ready to go in quick succession.
That pretty much sums it up! Without further remarks, let’s get to the recipe!
Zucchini Tomato Fritatta
A simple and delicious recipe for breakfast, brunch, or lunch.
- 1 Onion
- 4 Baby Zucchini
- 2 Roma Tomatoes
- 8 Eggs
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Basil Leaves
- Olive oil to drizzle
- Step 1 Cut the onion, zucchini, and tomatoes into paper thin slices.
- Step 2 Crack the eggs into mixing bowl and whisk with a pinch of salt until the whites and yolks are fully blended.
- Step 3 In a pre-heated oven-safe skillet, saute the onions, zucchini and tomatoes with a pinch of salt and a generous drizzle of olive oil for 2-3 minutes, or until excess moisture has evaporated.
- Step 4 Spread the veggies evenly across the pan and then pour the egg whites over the vegetables.
- Step 5 Top with basil leaves and bake in the oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes or until set.
- Step 6 Remove from the oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.