Plain and simple, eggs are the star of breakfast — at least in my eyes. Whether they're fried and topped with a flurry of herbs, poached with a buttery hollandaise drizzled over top, or folded into a perfect French omelet, there isn't a single preparation that doesn't bring me joy. But when I'm cooking for a crowd, my favorite way to turn a carton of eggs into a satisfying breakfast, brunch, or lunch is a big, fluffy frittata.
Simple enough to throw together in a hurry yet impressive enough to look like you planned it, a frittata takes a few staple ingredients — eggs, cheese, and anything else you've got lying around in the fridge — and transforms them into something magical.
And making one couldn't be easier. In fact, according to test kitchen director Josh Cohen, the whole frittata process can be broken down into a few steps:
1. Crack between eight and 10 eggs in a bowl. Season the eggs generously with salt and pepper, then whisk them with a splash of milk or heavy cream.
2. Choose your frittata vessel. Josh says a large, non-stick skillet is your best bet, but a cast-iron skillet or a 9-inch cake pan would also work (just put down a parchment lining for the cake pan).
3. Pick your add-ins. I like to use whatever's in season. In spring, that means tons of crisp, fresh produce. But you can use any combination of vegetables, meats, cheeses, spices, and herbs. One tip from Josh: "Certain add-ins should be cooked ahead of time (like raw protein or vegetables that benefit from a nice sear), while other add-ins can be tossed directly into the egg mixture (like cheeses or delicate fresh herbs)."
4. Mix the add-ins with your egg mixture and carefully pour everything into the baking vessel. You can firm up the eggs over medium heat on the stove before popping them under the broiler for a few minutes to cook through, but Josh's favorite method is to bake them low and slow at 300° F for about 40 minutes (just check on it every 20 minutes or so to make sure it's not burning).
My frittata of choice these days (especially for an at-home brunch with friends) is this spring greens, Parmesan, and pancetta number from Merrill Stubbs. The simplicity of the ingredients list, plus extras like fresh thyme and lightly sautéed onions, really lets those bright spring flavors shine in a way that still feels satisfying. This particular recipe goes from the stovetop to the broiler, so it's ready to eat in under 20 minutes, making it the quickest and lowest-lift option for serving a crowd.
But the real beauty of a frittata is its versatility. Don't be afraid to get creative and experiment with different add-ins to find your favorite. For a little bit of inspiration, check out these other ready-for-the-season frittatas, plus a few ideas for brunch cocktails.
If you've never cooked with wild fiddleheads, don't be shy — they taste like if asparagus and okra had a baby (a.k.a., crunchy and delicious). The fiddleheads, along with mushrooms and some ricotta cheese, give this frittata an earthy flavor and heft that makes it hearty enough for any meal of the day.
Bright and almost spicy, turnip greens make a punchy addition to this six-ingredient frittata that also doubles as a weeknight dinner. Soft potatoes and garlic work well here to balance out the sharpness of the greens, as does a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
Josh actually learned the low-and-slow method from this recipe, which has a custardy texture that most frittatas lack. Tender broccoli, thinly sliced red onions, and a dash of red pepper flakes bring a crunch and spice that complement the creamy eggs in a way that'll keep you coming back for seconds and thirds.
You'll be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn't like this classic combination of spinach, tomato, basil, and plenty of asiago and ricotta cheese. If you're cooking for frittata first-timers, this recipe will be your safest bet.
And some brunch-worthy cocktails
Nothing says brunch quite like a bloody Mary, and this spicy-tangy-savory mix from pickle-maker Rick Field is one of the best I've ever had.
A sweet-tart ginger syrup (made with fresh ginger, granulated and brown sugar, and vanilla) lets this ultra-refreshing cocktail work just as easily at the dinner table as it does in the early afternoon hours.
For those in need of a caffeine fix, this cold brew Negroni is a killer way to kick off brunch. Gin, Campari, and vermouth are the main players here, but a generous splash of cold brew "adds another dimension without destroying the equilibrium," says this drink's creator.
This warm-weather sangria, with fresh strawberries and mint, only gets better the longer you let it sit in the fridge. Prep this cocktail overnight so that the flavors have plenty of time to marinate and so it's ready to pour by the time any brunch-goers walk through the door.
This story was originally published on Food52.com: 5 fluffy, vegetable-packed frittatas to add to your spring rotation.