The perfect frittata: Fresh spring eggs, hearty potatoes and the season’s first greens

All About the Eggs

by Anna Herman

These longer days bring a promise of renewal and warmth—the promise of plenty—and have been cause for celebration in most cultures throughout history. As a sure sign of rebirth, the egg—a natural wonder—became an important symbol of this happiness and joy and fertility that heralds spring’s arrival. Eggs have been colored, blessed, exchanged and eaten as part of the rites of spring for countless centuries.   

Greens are a gardener’s first harbingers of spring—tender lettuce, spinach, kale, chard and pea shoots are all planted in late winter and ready for harvest after only a few weeks.

Every spring, in between starting hundreds of seedlings, I hatch a batch of fertile eggs for a classroom or backyard homestead project. When those chicks grow up and themselves start to lay, I make a frittata with some fresh spring greens to celebrate.

Frittatas belong in every cook’s repertoire. Quick to assemble for an impromptu dinner or brunch, leftover wedges can be eaten with a salad or as a sandwich for lunch. A few eggs can bind any number of seasonal ingredients, and the resulting dish is always greater than the sum of its parts.  

The only rule: Less is more. Almost any vegetable, herb, cheese and many meats are great in a frittata, but select just a few ingredients for any given one. Don’t over-beat or the frittata will be puffy. Don’t overcook or the frittata will be dry.    

Potato and Spring Green Frittata
Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 2 large Yukon gold (or other wax) potatoes, cooked, cut in half and sliced thinly
  • 1 large handful pea greens or baby spinach, chopped coarsely (or 1/2 cup thinly sliced blanched asparagus)
  • Coarse salt
  • Fresh black pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup grated cheese (sharp cheddar, Gouda, fontina, Parmesan—or some combination)
  • 8 to 12 eggs, lightly beaten, with 3 table- spoons of milk or cream

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.  In a 10- to 12-inch sauté pan with an ovenproof handle (a well-seasoned cast iron pan works well here) heat the oil till shimmering.
  2. Add the onions and cook until just browning.
  3. On medium heat, add the potatoes and heat until warmed through, then add the pea greens or spinach and remove from the heat.
  4. Season with salt and fresh pepper and spread the mixture neatly in the pan.
  5. Sprinkle the grated cheese evenly over the vegetables.
  6. Season the egg and milk mixture with salt and black pepper, stir to incorporate, and pour the egg mixture to cover the vegetables in the pan.
  7. Return the pan to a burner over medium heat and cook gently for 4 to 6 minutes until the sides just start to come away from the pan.  
  8. Put in the center of the preheated oven and cook until just barely set in the center, about 12 to 15 minutes.   
  9. Remove and let sit another 5 to 10 minutes. Serve wedges directly from the pan or turn onto a plate. The dish can be enjoyed warm or at room temperature for brunch, lunch or supper with a salad, toast or both.

Anna Herman is a garden educator who raises chickens, ducks and bees and grows fruits and veggies in her Mount Airy backyard.