About Beth

Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Irene

Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

About Deborah

Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Doug

Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

About Cindy

Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Sandi

Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Jan

Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Jerry

Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

About Palma

Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Kim

Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think.

« Baked Polenta with Bolognese Meat Sauce | Main | Frittata with Onions »

Frittata with Cheese


The first time I remember seeing a frittata on the menu in an Italian restaurant was many years ago. It was listed as an appetizer - Frittata Gamberetti. I asked the waiter what a frittata was. He said, "Oh it's like an omelet, but we don't fold it over. We just pile the shrimp on top." I had a hard time visualizing an omelet as an appetizer and opted for the old standby, Toasted Ravioli, instead.

Fast forward more than 30 years and reading Marcella's description of frittate, she also compares it to an open-faced omelet, but in a much more elegant and appetizing way. Had she been the one explaining Frittata Gamberetti to me, I might have ordered it.

So, now I find myself reporting on Frittata with Cheese. Eggs, parmigiano-reggiano, butter, salt & pepper. A few simple ingredients, one delicious result. The secret to a perfectly cooked frittata is patience. You must have the patience to wait while it cooks slowly over very low heat. If the bottom browns before the top is almost set, the heat is too high. I turned mine down so low, I could hardly see the flame at all.


The trick I use to know when it’s done is to jiggle the pan ever so slightly. If the entire frittata seems able to make ‘waves’, it isn’t done. When you jiggle the pan and only see a slight movement you’re ready to finish it under the broiler – just long enough to set the face, but not brown it.


While the frittata was cooking, it occured to me that I hadn't planned a meal around it, I was just taking advantage of a free hour in the middle of a Saturday afternoon to accomplish my assigned cooking task for the week. On a whim, I decided to turn it into an appetizer as an homage to that long-ago menu item. Instead of dumping shrimp into a pan of eggs, I decided to grilled the shrimp separately. I cut my 10" frittata into 12 equal wedges; placed one wedge on a small plate; laid two grilled shrimp along-side; & garnished with a small dab of pesto. It was quite good, and made a beautiful presentation.


Comments (4)

Emily Hamblen:

That looks amazing. I like how you added the pesto and shrimp...very creative. :)

Deborah responds: Thanks, Emily. I must confess that I love to create my on dishes. That's why this challenge has been so good for me. It imposes a decipline I can learn from.

We flip our frittate rather than use the broiler method. I guess it just seems easier to us.

I am curious about using shellfish with a cheese frittata?

Glad you enjoyed the dish!

Deborah responds: Ah, Susie, the topic of cheese/shellfish. :grin: A debate that will never be settled, I'm guessing.
I agree that in Italian cooking, it is rarely seen. However, interestingly enough, in Doug's recipe tomorrow for Frittata with Onion (which has almost as much cheese as mine), Marcella mentions shrimp as one of the additional ingredients you might choose to add.
I guess for every rule, there is an exception. I am a devout fan of the mussel, and hands down the best mussel dish I ever ate was in Gallopli, Puglia. Mussels cooked in seawater with gorgonzola and fresh parsley.
I think if I had tried to cook the shrimp in the frittata, it would have been unpleasant. But, grilled shrimp served alongside was not offensive at all.

Marcella Hazan:

Oh, Deborah, I don't know that in this frittata, which is so cheesy, the shrimp appeals to me that much. Nor do I get the point of pesto except that it is pretty. Creativity tends to leave me cold. When I was suggesting shrimp with the onion frittata, what I had had was the tiny grey shrimp - schie - of the lagoon, which are divine with white polenta. I omitted it because there are no schie on this side of the Adriatic. I sometimes regret not having had the space or the patience to specify everything. If I had my headnotes would have ended up being many times their current length, which some critics have said is too wordy already.

I wonder too whether it was really the gorgonzola that made the mussels seem so good, or just the surprise of it, or whether it was because the shellfish in Puglia is so delicious that it survives any kind of handling.

Deborah responds: Marcella, I would have loved for all of your original notes to be in the book. The more the better! The shrimp alongside the frittata was ok. I agree that I don't think I would have enjoyed it cooked into the fritatta.
And, I bet that the one I saw on that menu so very long ago, didn't have cheese in it.
You are right about the shellfish in Puglia. It spoils you for shellfish from anywhere else, doesn't it?

It looks wonderful, Deborah!

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 17, 2010 6:40 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Baked Polenta with Bolognese Meat Sauce.

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