Nothing screams spring like asparagus and eggs. Asparagus is the early riser and eggs are the perennial symbol of new life and beginnings. There are so many ways to enjoy the combination. One of my favorites is a frittata, an Italian baked egg dish.
Speaking of which, what’s the difference between a Frittata, Strata, quiche or omelet, anyway? At a high level, they all share similar ingredients. Some have crusts, some don’t. Some are baked, some are not. The beauty of them all is that they are highly adaptable to what you happen to have in your refrigerator. And each has its own texture from crispy to creamy.
More specifically, a frittata has no crust; no cream; begins on the stovetop in a skillet and finishes in the oven. It is served flat in pie-shaped wedges. A Strata is like a frittata but has chunks of day old bread in it; has a custard based of eggs and cream; soaks overnight; and bakes in the oven. It is served like a sheet cake, in rectangular portions. A quiche has a crust (pie crust/pate brisee); has a custard based of eggs and cream; and bakes in the oven. It is served in pie-shaped wedges. An omelet is just eggs and other add-ins, heated in a skillet on the stop top until it sets, then folded in half or thirds – the easiest, but least interesting because the quick cooking time doesn’t allow flavors to fully blossom like the other baked egg dishes.
But today I’m celebrating spring featuring asparagus — and the frittata gets its day in the sun (or oven!). Tonight, it’s dinner. Tomorrow morning, leftovers will be for breakfast. The frittata can follow you throughout the day.
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- 10 large eggs
- 8 ounces medium-sized asparagus spears (8-10 spears)
- 3-4 scallions, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon kosher (not table) salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Pre-heat your oven to 350F (177C)
- Using a vegetable peeler, hold stem end of an asparagus spear and peel strips toward the tip end. Set asparagus strips aside. Discard the stem end. (just like the technique found in my raw asparagus salad recipe)
- Coarsely chop the scallions (greens and whites) and set aside
- Grate parmesan cheese
- Finely chop garlic, and zest a lemon
- Whisk eggs in a large bowl with the garlic, lemon zest, salt and pepper
- Whisk the grated parmesan into the egg mixture
- Heat a 10-inch non-stick oven proof skillet to medium heat
- Add olive oil and butter to the skillet
- Add scallions and asparagus and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally
- Pour the egg and cheese mixture over the asparagus and scallions.
- Cook on the stovetop for 3 minutes, then cover with foil or lid and transfer to the pre-heated oven. This process ensures that the bottom of the eggs cooks through and the oven will quickly cook the rest
- Heat in oven for 8 minutes covered, then remove the foil or lid and cook for approximately another 10-12 minutes. Check often. When the center is cooked through and not jiggly, it is done. CAUTION! Be sure to use a pot holder to remove the skillet. The handle will tempt you, calling your name, “Pull me out!” Ouch! Don’t listen. Yep, been there, burned my hand
- Remove from the oven and let rest for approximately 10 minutes. Keep the oven mitt on the handle to remind yourself and others that it’s still hot. Either cut servings directly from the skillet or loosen the edges with a knife or spatula and remove the whole frittata to a platter and serve. You can even flip the whole thing upside down to view more of the asparagus