I learned to make these eggy disks not long after moving to Italy because I loved eating them. Though called frittata in Italy, they bear little resemblance to any of the thick frittatas often served for brunch in the States. It’s basically a very thin, herb-packed omelet that is cooked like a pancake—sizzled on one side until a golden crust forms, cooked over low heat until the top sets, then flipped with a wide spatula and browned on the other side.
Unlike a French-style omelet, these herby pancakes make amazing leftovers. I think the density of the herbs and the touch of cheese keep them tasting fresh and delicious a day or two after they’re made, and in Italy they’re often cut into wedges, slathered with aioli, and eaten as a sandwich filling.
I usually serve them as finger food, cut into strips or wedges. The “party” version of this that I saw occasionally in Italy is a stack of omelets, each flavored with a different herb or leftover cooked vegetable, glued together with mayonnaise. The end result looks like a savory layer cake and is definitely spectacular, though difficult to eat.
In addition to herbs, I’ll also use leftover cooked vegetables in my frittatina. My favorites are zucchini combined with fresh mint or finely chopped, braised or roasted fennel mixed with minced parsley. For a splash of color, finely chopped roasted red peppers are great, especially when combined with fresh basil.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and herbs. Heat a 9-inch cast-iron or nonstick pan over high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the butter and 1 tablespoon of the oil. When the butter has melted, add half of the egg mixture. Cook for 2 minutes. Using a spatula, gently lift the edges so the uncooked egg mixture on the top of the frittatina flows into the pan.
Lower the heat to the lowest setting, cover, and cook until the frittatina is firm on top, about 5 minutes. With a large spatula, lift the frittatina out of the pan and flip top side down onto a plate or pot lid. Add another tablespoon of the butter to the pan, then slide the frittatina back into the pan, top side down. Increase the heat to high and cook until deep golden brown on the second side, about 1 minute. Transfer to a plate or cutting board and let cool to room temperature, then cut into wedges. Repeat with the remaining egg mixture, butter, and oil to make a second frittatina. The frittatina will keep, refrigerated, for several days.
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Reprinted with permission from Home Cooked: Essential Recipes for a New Way to Cook by Anya Fernald with Jessica Battilana, copyright © 2016. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.