Frittata: what a great invention! All you need is eggs – better if fresh farmer eggs – and some leftover vegetables. In a few minutes, you’ll have an easy but delicious dish, better if enjoyed along with some fresh bread. One of the most popular Tuscan frittata is the onion frittata.
My most vivid memory of onion frittata is related to summer holidays on the coast.
My parents used to rent an apartment with my uncle and aunt in Castiglione della Pescaia, for the whole month of August. It was the best time of the year for me and my cousin Margherita. We were totally free to run around in the pinewood, searching for clues that could bring us to the gates of the Fairy Land. We rode our bikes for kilometers, even though remaining stuck into the same road.
Each year we tried the adventure of a flea market, setting two boxes at the beach entrance as tables, where we would last old comics, bangles, shells, and other trinkets. We were hoping to sell all this stuff to the bathers coming and going from the beach, but our only customers were our mums, who used to buy all the comics they had bought us the previous days.
The most exciting moment, though, was going fishing with my dad and my uncle Giovanni, after dinner or at dawn.
We would go out the open sea with our rubber boat: I was so enthusiastic, years before reading ‘The old man and the sea’. When it was breakfast time, my dad would take out of his backpack the sandwiches my aunt had made for us, and it was always made with onion frittata. As a child, on a regular day, I would have be struck with horror in front of a breakfast made with onions and not with cookies and jam… but that was my ‘old sea dog’ day, I had woken up at dawn, I had touched a worm and I was waiting patiently for the fishes, so onion frittata panino was the perfect breakfast for me.
Onion frittata recipe
Hearty, filling, sweet and delicious, the Tuscan onion frittata doubles as a main course and as a filling for a panino when you are on the go. When you sandwich the onion frittata between two slices of bread and wrap it in foil, the bread soaks up all the flavors and becomes soft and moist. That’s why, for me, a frittata panino when you are on a trip is the best gourmet meal you can wish for.
- 4 golden onions, about 80-100 grams/3 oz each
- 80 ml extra virgin olive oil , 2 tablespoons to cook the frittata
- Dried oregano
- Crushed red chili pepper
- 4 eggs
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Fine sea salt
- Slice the onions finely with a mandolin, collect them in a large pan with ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil, season with 1 teaspoon of fine sea salt, and stew on medium-low heat for about half an hour. Stir often to prevent them from sticking. They will shrink and get softer and softer.
- After half an hour add a generous pinch of dried oregano, and the chili pepper, and cook for 20 more minutes. They will eventually get soft, sweet and juicy. Let them cool down completely. It can even be made in advance and stored in the fridge.
- Beat the eggs in a small bowl with a pinch each of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the stewed onions and stir well.
- Heat a 8-inch/20 cm nonstick frying pan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Pour in the beaten eggs with the onions and cook for about 5 minutes, until set and golden brown on the bottom.
- Slide the frittata onto a large plate, carefully place the pan over the plate and, in one quick motion, flip the frittata onto the pan. Return the pan to the stove and cook on the second side for 5 more minutes, until set and golden brown on both sides.
- Serve immediately with fresh bread, or sandwich in between two slices of bread and enjoy.
More frittata recipes from the blog
Frittata is a staple dish in the Tuscan countryside. Every household used to raise chickens in the backyard: this meant fresh eggs, a good broth in the cold days and once in a while a Sunday roast with potatoes. For this reason, the variety of frittate is almost countless, and depends highly on the season.
- Artichoke and Potato Frittata. Serve the artichoke and potato frittata with a mixed salad as a quiet lunch, or put it in a sandwich, with arugula, radicchio and radishes and a thin spread of strong mustard.
- Frittata trippata. Eggs used to give the needed proteins and fats to face a hard working day, but instead of being served as a simple frittata or as a fried egg, they resemble another typical Tuscan dish, trippa alla fiorentina.
NOTE: This article was originally published on September 4, 2009, and later revised and corrected in some of its contents.