The World’s Best Frittatas!

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Happy hens = lots of eggs. That’s my theory and it seems that ours are thriving once again. It may be cold and wet, as winter has us firmly in her clutches, but our girls are laying contentedly. Oh and our daffodils are about to burst into flower even though we are currently shivering and snow covers much of Europe. Talking of the white stuff, I am sending our warmest thoughts to anyone in Chicago; I cannot imagine such cold.

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Our Araucanas, who certainly prefer the warmth, are happily coping with the chilly conditions and are regularly producing their blue eggs to enhance the colour scheme in our kitchen!

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The other day we purchased a couple of new additions for the flock, two new Marans, the medium size dark, almost black hens you see in the photos. These are the ladies who lay the beautiful rich deep chocolate brown eggs and they lay quite reliably all winter long. They originate from Marans (hence their name), the most northern town in the Charente Maritime, which is about an hour to the north of us and situated on the river Sevre Niortaise close to the marshlands of  the Venice Verte.  In other words these birds come from a location and a climate very similar to our own here, which is one of the reasons why I am sure they thrive so wonderfully in our little oasis.

But I digress, on arriving home with our new arrivals,  we found a freshly laid egg in the transport box! Their first. What a way to start life in their new home!

Anyway, what to do with a glut of eggs? I can think of many things (small girls love to bake, of course) but one of our favourite ways to enjoy them is to make frittatas. Now, Roddy will be pedantic and say they’re not really frittatas, but they’re close enough for me to stick a fancy label on them.

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Roddy is a frittata chef par excellence, though my opinion may be biased as I know not any other frittata chefs, of course. A while ago he collected a small pile of tiny 6″ Green Earth ceramic pans specifically for his offerings and after chopping up a selection of ingredients, he then starts making frittatas to order, almost like a pizza bar; there’s a frenzy of beating of eggs, sautéing of lardons, and stirring of bits in his tiny pans.

Of course he always has a couple of sous chefs on hand to catch any spillages!

P7840621 The result is a rip roaring success –  except, and there always has to be an exception, for one member of our family (I won’t name him but he is the only boy amongst the children!!)  who doesn’t like frittatas. He does love fried eggs though, so Roddy conjures up a little treat just for him and everyone is happy.

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But let’s get back to the frittatas. Typically, there’s a jug of beaten and seasoned eggs (about one and a half per frittata), some lardons, onions, peppers, tomatoes, sometimes some diced smoked fish, mushrooms, goat’s cheese, peas, small cubed potatoes (typically cold roasties), chopped herbs and anything else in the fridge that needs a home in a welcoming stomach. Asparagus in season is excellent, and so is cold chicken (which I’ve left to last so any live chickens reading this may not get this far). There’s almost nothing that cannot be used!

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Eggs are whisked by hand or with a beater, but not over-done. A little salt and pepper is added to the mix.

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According to the customer’s order, Roddy will pre-sauté the add-ons,

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and then add the eggs over a medium heat.

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If cheese is part of the order this goes on a minute later. Cheddar is tasty, of course, but of the cheeses available in France, Roddy will plump for very old Cantal, or an aged Gouda before fresh Emmental and Gruyère. Your choice may be very different, of course – Millie LOVES goat’s cheese with hers.

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A couple of minutes of medium heat to set the underside and sides,

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and then the whole pan goes under the grill for a minute or two until it’s all puffed up and golden brown. Fritattas at this stage are very French, and soft in the middle. If you want yours slightly better done (as I do), let them sit on a low heat on the ring for a minute or so longer.

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I love mine with smoked salmon slices and goats cheese,

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whereas Gigi’s favourite is lardons, tomatoes and cheese.

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The beauty of the little ceramic pans is that offerings slide straight out onto plates with ease. A salad and some crusty bread and butter are all that is really needed as an accompaniment.

That’s just one of the things we do with our eggs; we also adore egg mayonnaise sandwiches, tomatoes and egg salads, a good variation of a salade niçoise, and all sorts of other things, but what do YOU do when you have a glut of them?

56 thoughts on “The World’s Best Frittatas!

  • After the nearly 10 inches of snow we received on Monday, seeing your blooming daffodils is making me green with envy. Beautiful frittatas. I tend to smother mine in salsa to hide the taste of the breakfast staple. Happy weekend.

  • On behalf of Chicago, thank you for your kinds words. How grateful we are to have a home and warmth. (Love your frittata essay.)

    • I said the same to the children this week, we had one very cold day, very unusual for us, when it scarcely got above freezing all day, and I said how lucky we are, we are warm and safe and dry. Hope spring arrives sooner rather than later for you xx

  • Good morning from Santa Cruz California. Love having all these pictures and discriptions to give me ideas to cook for my family. Gorgeous here this morning, blue and sunny, my heart just breaks for everyone in Chicago and other area’s not so fortunate. Love following all your posts.

  • That Roddy is the best. Wow and to make each of you these beautiful breakfast delights with your own fresh eggs yum.
    I love seeing the little sou chef’s too. Too adorable.
    Hugs,
    Kris

  • I’m writing from one of Chicago’s northern suburbs, and we’re currently approaching 10°C! The danger now is flooding, as the snowpack quickly melts and rivers and streams, still jammed with ice, can’t move the meltwater downstream. On the subject of an abundance of eggs, my wife — who hails from the southern U.S. — make delicious deviled eggs. But that’s more of a summertime treat. In the cold season, she’ll make a crustless quiche — not too different from the frittatas you described. Enjoy the daffodils! We’re still 8-10 weeks away from greenery of any kind.

  • I love the individual pans. Frittata is a staple at this house. I think of it as comfort food. In fact eggs served any style is regarded as comfort food by me.
    Roddy your a good man…
    Ali

  • So so many things to comment on! First of all, my fave is a 3’40-50″ boiled egg, the white slightly wobbly, the yolk ever so slightly runny…. I know I’m THAT easy to pleasy!!!! And I only eat organic eggs if I can help it. I’ve found that I get rather brown eggs in France and much more white ones in Switzerland. In CH you only get free-range and environmentally and chicken-friendly eggs, whereas in France many (too many) people still don’t care if their eggs (as do chickens) stem from factories, batteries or what other horror environments – I once got nearly in a fight when a woman asked me (of all people NOT to ask!) which eggs she should buy. When I told her that SURELY she wouldn’t buy eggs from tortured hens (battery held chicks), she said: Mais they are so much cheaper than yours (I had just put organic eggs in my caddy) and I only use them for baking! I said to her: But you are going to eat your baked good surely? And she, quite pee’d off by now, and surely regretful that she’d asked me, replied: Bien sûr I eat them…. I’m so food conscious that I read EVERY label of goods I don’t know already and try to cook only from fresh stuff. I can’t say why I like brown eggs better, it is probably the colour speaking to me, and the yolks are darker too which I like. Well, as Hero Husband often says: Tout est dans la tête (it’s all in the mind)….
    Your Chef de Cuisine is – w/o the shadow of a doubt – the ‘greatest’. We used to call his frittata offerings simply ‘omelets’ (which technically they aren’t of course but when I was younger we didn’t know that in our family) and it was very often exactly what you wrote too: Whatever we have lying around and/or what’s in the fridge, available from the garden, France has (to me) the best offerings in the ham department, old Cantal or very old Gouda or very old crumbly Cheddar is it for me too…. not the young ones with too subtle taste, totally agree with Roddy. One of my problems in CH is the prize of eggs…. no frittata will be served as it would end up the price of a high end menu. But had I chickens, I’d delight myself in doing a cook-up with all those ingredients, I’d add lots of flat parsley, rocket leaves, braise some onions and garlic with my lardons….. aaah, I’m getting all hungry again! You know already just looking at the colour palette of your hens’ layings is giving me a burning desire to run into the modest kitchen of HH’s latest abode and check out the microscopic fridge for a little bit of something interesting! I will however send you a pic of the marvellous tulips I bought on Thursday, a stroke of sheer luck – to bid the spring to make an appearance here. My tulips and daffs are also looking good and ready to burst at any moment, I have timidly blooming primroses, beautiful hellebores and lots of hungry birds hanging in the trees (at home).
    We will have so much to tell…. can’t wait. Thank you for this beautiful Sunday gift.
    And YES, commiseration with the poor freezing friends in Chicago and other ‘alaskan’ regions of the US. The coldest I lived through was -17°C in Zermatt and I was there by choice not by necessity. I simply cannot imagine such cold and I send you all warm thoughts and prayers as layers against the freeze!

    • Well when you are here next month I shall persuade you that blue eggs are the best!! Really there is no difference but they are fun! Our daffs are fully out in some parts now, what a wonderful sight after winter, not long now and Spring will be here xx

  • My husband made the yummiest omelets and do miss him and them. The little pans look so sweet & love the stove. We are having sunshine today and the birds are singing – I think they think its spring! Thanks so much for pictures! Looking forward to daffodils here!!!

  • The Polar Vortex that engulfed Chicago was indeed the coldest I’ve ever experienced, and the best approach was to stay inside. Now we are back to the usual average cold and gray skies. Your lovely photo of the chickens in your yard with sun shining on green grass and daffodils blooming was warming to the soul. Thanks.

  • Have those small pans also tho’ not as many . . . love frittatas for a quick and filling meal and make them more=or=less Roddy’s way, probably cooking them about as far as your likes . . . oh, do wish I had such beautiful eggs! Love your garden photo naturally . . . just the right temperatures after having baked in 35C – 45C murderous heat for nearly two continuous months with the hottest temps NSW has ever experienced. Have been mostly nude and totally breathless as no air con around 🙂 ! But have friends both in Chicago and in the country in central Illinois. Impossible to run a farm full of animals when the pipes are frozen and one cannot give them a drink: poor Cecilia carried huge containers of water warmed in the kitchen, two by two, all day long to keep her animals and livelihood alive and going . . . none of us should complain seeing that . . . . we were so worried when the dizziness overcame her and her mind and not just her body were affected by the horror cold . . . better now and family has arrived back home to help . . .be glad you have escaped the extremes . . .

    • How hideous for your friend, farming in such cold must be a true nightmare. I remember one winter as a child when we had blizzards in southern England and all the pipes froze and we had to go across the fields by tractor, breaking down hedges to get to the animals as the lanes were blocked with snowdrifts. I was only tiny and so I got to sit in the heated cab, but my father and our farm workers were frozen xx

  • I make an oven pancake that takes 6 eggs for the two of us – that is a treat when eggs are a bargain price. I also do a cheese souffle and maybe a chocolate souffle!

  • Lovely…. I make mine almost exactly the same way, only difference is I make 1 large one and invert it on a cake plate. It generally makes an appearance on ‘Meatless Mondays’ served with a simple green salad. I dream of having some girls of my own one day…how fabulous to have home laid eggs and your chooks look very healthy and happy!

    • You would love having your own hens, I hope it is a dream that comes true, there is really nothing quite like collecting the eggs each day, still gives us a real thrill years and years later and I grew up on a farm with chickens and yet still I get immense pleasure from our own eggs! Xx

  • Nothing like the taste of home produced eggs, is there! Ours have just started laying well again now the daylight hours are longer. Lovely to see your colourful hens among the yellow daffys and green lawns, a cheering photograph.
    May one ask if your small red dishes with handles are cast Le Creuset or something different? I have been looking for the very same for some time, but have not managed to track them down yet. Perfect for en cocotte.

    • I think you mean the small green dishes? If so no they are not Le Creuset but very similar, they are heavy cast iron with a ceramic non stick coating. One of the best parts is the fact that the handles are metal rather than plastic so that they can be put safely in the oven to finish off a dish or under the grill. Xx

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