What exactly is the difference between a crustless quiche and a frittata? I’m so glad you asked because until about a week ago, I was completely in the dark as well. Glad I’m not alone in this 😉
I grew up calling any baked egg dish that didn’t have a crust and was made in a round pan (read: not a casserole dish), a frittata. And then all of these people in the foodie/blogger world started posting “crustless quiche” recipes, which made me scratch my head — Are they the same as a frittata? Are they different? But I never really stopped to research it until I was making this frittata last Saturday morning, and the question popped up in my head again and I decided I had to have the answer then and there.
As it turns out, a quiche (with or without a crust) calls for a custard base — meaning cream is used — and usually goes straight into the oven. A frittata uses very little milk or cream, if any at all, and is usually cooked on the stove-top first and then transferred to the oven for the remainder of the cooking time.
So there you have it! Consider yourself eggucated.
This frittata is my go-to brunch recipe when we have visitors in from out of town or have friends over for a mid-morning meal. While it’s not quite as easy as just throwing a breakfast casserole in the oven, it’s a close second.
I love that it doesn’t require any babysitting or intensive focus for the last 15 minutes, which allows me to enjoy my guests and get a few last minute prep tasks done before brunch is officially served.
It also presents itself as a pretty fancy dish, which also takes the hostess points up a few notches. This would be a perfect item to add to your Easter brunch menu — or any other celebratory breakfast meal for that matter!
I’ve actually been known to make this for dinner quite often and it’s always well received, regardless of the time of day. And we’ve even taken it for lunch as leftovers. Eggs for leftovers? Sounds kinda gross, right? Nope — amazing. I promise.
The other wonderful thing about frittatas? They’re one of those “kitchen sink” recipes. Have some mushrooms and peppers that are about to go bad? Toss ‘em in! Out of parmesan but have a boatload of gouda on hand? Swap it! Just about anything goes.
My go-to is always spinach and tomato frittata though, since we almost always have those two ingredients on hand. And sometimes, when I’m really lucky, I get to pluck the tomatoes from my very own “urban garden.”
I highly recommend using fresh spinach in this recipe, but I’ve also made many successful frittatas with frozen spinach. If you’re looking to pinch a penny or two, frozen is definitely the way to go, but if you can swing it, give the fresh a shot.
If you do go the frozen route, there are a few things to note: You’ll want to thaw the spinach thoroughly — keep in mind that since you’ll only need about half of the package, you’ll want to cut it in half, and only thaw the portion you’ll need. You’ll also need to drain the spinach really, really well. As in squeeeeeze the spinach with all of your might, until most of the liquid has been released. Also, you’ll want to skip the second step in the recipe — add the garlic in after the onion has cooked down a bit instead — and follow the rest of the directions as is.
If you do use fresh spinach, you get to have the fun of watching it cook down. I don’t know why I love the process of wilting spinach so much, but I do → food nerd alert.
Love of wilting spinach aside, my favorite thing about this frittata is that it tastes so fresh. Veggie packed and Popeye approved, it makes for a great guilt-free and powerful start to your day but also tastes so decadent at the same time. I’ll thank my tangy bff, goat cheese, for that.
But really, this frittata is eggcellent, eggstraordinary, eggceptional… eggcetera.
Give it a shot. Your family and friends will be b-egging for more. 😉
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 6 oz. bag of fresh spinach
- 1 clove of garlic
- 8 eggs
- ⅓ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 3 Tablespoons milk*
- ½ teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- ½ of a large onion, chopped
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
- 4 oz goat cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a large, ovenproof, nonstick skillet, heat ½ Tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the spinach to the pan, stirring until spinach is wilted - about 2-3 minutes minutes. Remove spinach from the pan and set aside to cool.
- Once the spinach is cool, drain it well, squeezing out as much moisture as possible. Chop the spinach up into small pieces.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs, parmesan cheese, milk, salt and pepper together.
- Heat remaining olive oil in the pan and saute the chopped onion until it begins to turn translucent - about 3-4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and continue sauteing for another 2 minutes.
- Add the spinach back to the pan, just heating slightly, and then spread the vegetables evenly around the pan.
- Slowly pour the egg mixture into the pan. Without stirring, allow the eggs to cook and set, while pulling back the edges from the side of the pan with a spatula, to allow the liquid mixture to flow underneath.
- Once the frittata is about halfway set, crumble the goat cheese over the top, and transfer it to the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until the center is set and no longer liquidy.
- Remove the pan from the oven, allowing the frittata to cool for 5 minutes before cutting and serving. Warning: be careful with the handles on the pan. They will remain HOT for awhile after being removed from the oven.
** Frozen spinach can also be used - you’ll need ½ of a package, thawed and drained well
*** For the last minute in the oven, I like to turn the broiler on high, just to get a few nice golden brown flecks over the top. Some people hate any brown on their eggs, so do what sounds best for you and your guests!