Mushrooms Plus Eggs Equals Frittata

January 15, 2020

In Italy, eggs aren’t considered breakfast fare. Most Italians wake up to espresso and a pastry. Frittatas are for dinner.

There are two types of frittatas: the kind cooked in a pan on a stove burner and the kind baked in a casserole dish in the oven. Oven-baked frittatas, like this one, are ideal for company for a variety of reasons. One, there is little to no chance you will burn it. Two, you can feed more people with food from a large casserole dish than with food from most pans. Three, you can make a few frittatas and put them in the oven at the same time or double the recipe and bake them for a little longer. And finally, you can make these frittatas in advance, store them in the fridge, cut them neatly while cold, and bring them to room temperature before serving.

Leftovers make wonderful snacks, appetizers with wine (when cut into bite-size pieces) and excellent sandwich fillers on crusty bread.

The trick to this frittata, as to any good meal, is its simplicity. Contrary to most American egg concoctions, this frittata focuses on only one ingredient: mushrooms. We don’t distract from its unique flavor with peppers and onions and broccoli and tomatoes.

We do, however, enhance it with a good Gruyere, aged from 18 months to two years, still soft enough to melt. Remember, we’re not looking for a cheese to steal the show, but rather one to play in harmony with the woodsy mushrooms and thyme. When you taste the right Gruyere, you’ll know.

Woodsy Mushroom Frittata
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the baking dish
2 garlic cloves
1 pinch red pepper flakes
2 pounds cremini mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
1/2 bunch thyme
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon tamari or quality soy sauce
45 grinds of the pepper mill
12 eggs
2/3 cup half-and-half or whole milk
5 ounces Gruyere, thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Lightly oil medium baking dish.

Place a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat and let it get hot for a couple of minutes.

Add the olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes. Sauté until the garlic is golden, about 3 minutes. (If garlic burns, start over.)

Add mushrooms and sprigs of thyme, and stir.

Add salt, soy sauce and pepper.

Increase the heat to medium high and let cook, stirring only occasionally until the mushrooms are tender and the liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes.

Lightly beat the eggs with the half-and-half in a large mixing bowl.

Remove thyme sprigs and garlic, then transfer mushrooms to baking dish. Pour eggs over the mushrooms. Use fork or spoon to even it out, and top with the sliced cheese.

Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of the dish. It is ready when eggs are firm to the touch or a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool frittata slightly before cutting.

Note on reheating: Although good cold, the frittata can be covered loosely with foil and reheated in the oven at 350 F.

Serves 6.

Elana Horwich is the author of “Meal and the Spiel: How to Be a Bad Ass in the Kitchen” and the founder of the Meal and the Spiel cooking school. 

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