Delivery alert

There may be an issue with the delivery of your newspaper. This alert will expire at NaN. Click here for more info.

Recover password

Perfect frittatas need oven time

Our spring entertaining often centers on brunch. Hungry, we’re looking for strong coffee and an easy-to-assemble main course. Enter the oven-baked frittata. Fresh eggs, beaten with cream or milk, embrace tender vegetables and fresh herbs.

Easier than an omelet, Italian-inspired frittatas are cooked in a skillet with the vegetables stirred in rather than used as a filling for folded eggs. Frittatas can be cooked completely on the stove top. I prefer to cook them in a low oven where the steady heat prevents excess browning and overcooking.

Accompany the asparagus frittata with sliced ripe tomatoes and crusty bread. Serve the carrot and spinach version with a berry fruit cup and toasted raisin bread.

Potatoes and asparagus make a delicious filling in this baked frittata. (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune/MCT)

Potatoes and asparagus make a delicious filling in this baked frittata. (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune/MCT)


Serves 6

8 small (1-inch diameter) new potatoes (12 ounces total), quartered

1 bunch (12 ounces) asparagus, tough ends trimmed

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 green onions, trimmed, chopped

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

10 large eggs

½ cup whole milk or half-and-half

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 cup diced (4 ounces total) fresh mozzarella or brick cheese

Chopped fresh dill, for garnish

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Put potatoes into a large microwave-safe bowl. Add water to barely cover potatoes. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap vented at one corner. Microwave on high (100 percent power), stirring once, until nearly fork-tender, 4-5 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, cut asparagus into 1 inch lengths and set tips aside. Heat olive oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add asparagus stalks; cook until nearly fork-tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in asparagus tips and green onions; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in potatoes and dill. (Mixture can be made ahead up to 2 days; re-warm before continuing.)

Whisk together eggs, milk, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.

Place skillet with vegetables over medium heat. When hot, sprinkle cheese over vegetables. Reduce heat to low; gently pour egg mixture over vegetables. Cook until bottom is nearly set, about 3 minutes. Transfer to oven; cook until a knife inserted in center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Serve warm sprinkled with more dill.

PER SERVING: 279 calories, 18 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 327 mg cholesterol, 14 g carbohydrates, 16 g protein, 337 mg sodium, 2 g fiber


Serves 6-8

4 cups 1-inch cubes bread

2 small bunches (1 pound total) skinny carrots, (such as tri-color carrots), ends trimmed, peeled

1 medium sweet onion, roughly chopped

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped

6 cups (5 ounces) baby spinach or baby kale leaves

12 large eggs

1 cup half-and-half or milk

½ teaspoon minced fresh thyme or ¼ teaspoon dried

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

½ cup shredded cheese, such as Parmesan or Gouda

Chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley and cilantro

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spread bread cubes on a baking sheet. Bake until barely golden, 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a well-buttered 13-by-9-inch baking dish.

Cut carrots into ½-inch wide rounds. Mix carrots, onions and oil on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt. Bake until fork-tender and golden, 20-30 minutes. Stir in garlic and spinach to coat spinach with oil. Return to oven to wilt spinach, 2-3 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Distribute carrot mixture over bread cubes in the baking dish.

Whisk together eggs, half-and-half, thyme, remaining ½ teaspoon salt and red pepper flakes in a bowl. Carefully pour into baking pan. Use the back of a spoon to immerse bread into egg mixture.

Bake 25 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese. Continue baking until a knife inserted comes out clean, 5-10 minutes more. Use a metal spatula to cut into squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.

PER SERVING (for 8 servings): 285 calories, 18 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 294 mg cholesterol, 18 g carbohydrates, 16 g protein, 634 mg sodium, 3 g fiber