Give this 'rustic egg cake' a whirl

22:01, Jan 23 2013
Picnic fare: A frittata can be dressed up with a scattering of fresh herbs on top, and the kids will love it with a slurp of tomatoe sauce.

In his online summer series Joseph Beaumont revisits some of his favourite recipes and provides hints and tips plus suggestions for the odd tipple to make them even more enjoyable.

When I was a child my mother made what she called a Spanish omelette, first frying diced onions and chunks of parboiled potatoes before adding an egg mixture.

The resulting golden disc, finished off under the grill, was in fact a frittata (a Spanish tortilla is flipped in the pan). No matter. It was scrumptious.

Based on the simple idea of frying ingredients in a pan and combining them with beaten eggs - an idea that dates back to the Ancient Persians - the frittata as we know it comes to us from Italy, where slices are taken to work for lunch and served as snacks in bars.

If there is one word that sums up the "rustic egg cake", as one food writer put it, it is "versatile". Frittatas can be served for brunch, lunch or dinner (think Sunday night) and eaten hot, warm or cold. Once you know how to make them you can vary the fillings to suit your tastebuds.

They are a great way to use up leftovers and make an expensive ingredient go further.


Try different fresh herbs in the mixture and grated cheese on top.

Today's recipe is particularly good served with a salad of lettuce, tomato, capsicum and a few chopped black olives, dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette.

Try these variations:

*Kumara, spinach and feta

*Broccoli and bacon

*Asparagus and ham

*Potato, bacon, peas and mint

*Courgette, red capsicum, olives and thyme

*Chorizo sausage, capsicum

*Cooked chicken, tomato and beans

Drinks, anyone?

The choice of wine to go with frittata obviously depends on its main ingredients. But it's a pretty safe bet that a sauvignon blanc, riesling, viognier or rosé will fit the bill here.

Another option is a sparkling rosé, because bubblies go well with fried food.   

Cider is always a happy choice with a rustic dish such as this one.


Potato and Bacon Frittata

Serves 4
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 rashers streaky bacon, chopped
3 medium potatoes, cooked and chopped
5-6 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp chopped parsley

Method: Heat olive oil over a medium heat in a heavy-based non-stick pan. Fry onion gently until it begins to soften (about 8 mins).

Add bacon pieces and cook until crispish, stirring occasionally with a spatula.

Add chopped potatoes and cook until potato begins to colour. Stir from time to time to cook potato evenly and prevent bits sticking to the pan.

In a bowl, lightly beat eggs with a fork, add salt, pepper and parsley and stir to combine. Pour egg mixture into the pan.

Cook until underside is golden-brown - check by lifting edge with a spatula.

Put pan under a medium grill and cook until top is golden.

Slide spatula around edges to ensure frittata is not sticking and slide on to a warmed plate.

Cut into wedges and serve. Some filling variations: Kumara, spinach and feta Broccoli and bacon Asparagus and ham Potato, bacon, peas and mint Courgette, red capsicum, olives and thyme Chorizo sausage, capsicum Cooked chicken, tomato and beans.

The Southland Times