I’ve always like omelets. Growing up in an Italian household, my introduction to them was through frittatas. Large and made with plenty of eggs and grated Romano, they typically featured fried peppers or potatoes and sometimes even left over spaghetti, which was sautéed until a light crust formed on the pasta.
I remember how my aunt stood over the frying pan, wooden spoon in hand, pushing the eggs towards the center allowing the more liquid portion to fall to the sides. “You can’t rush these,” she’d say. Then came the moment of the flip, where she placed a large plate over the pan and, in a flash, inverted the frittata and then slid it from the plate into the pan to finish cooking. Another few minutes of slow cooking followed during which she’d gently shake the pan. When I asked, how did she know it was done, she replied “il naso,” the nose. “You can smell when it’s done.”
The finished frittata was puffy and light, never dry, and the eggs seemed like pillows to whatever the filling.
Eventually, I discovered the French omelet; totally different from the Italian, but that’s a story for another post.
One morning, not too long ago, over breakfast I saw Lidia Bastianich prepare an asparagus frittata on television. The 10 minute spot evoked memories of my aunt and so I decided to make one for dinner that evening. Below is her recipe along with a link to the video i saw that morning.
I modified the recipe by adding a generous handful of grated Parmigiano Reggiano to the eggs before beating. I also flipped the frittata as my aunt did to finish cooking the other side.
Wine Pairing: Falanghina
Lidia Bastianich’s Asparagus Frittata
1 pound pencil-thin asparagus
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 large eggs
1. Remove and discard the tough lower ends of the asparagus. Cut the spears into 2-inch lengths.
2. In a large nonstick skillet, sauté the asparagus spears in olive oil, sprinkling them lightly with salt. Cover the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until asparagus is tender but still firm, about 5 minutes.
3. Beat the eggs lightly in a bowl with salt and pepper. Add the eggs to the asparagus, scrambling the mixture lightly with a fork. Cook 2 minutes, or less depending on the texture desired, until eggs are set, and serve immediately.