Frittatas, as simple as they seem, can be a challenge to pull off well. The secret to a perfect frittata, or almost any egg dish for that matter, is slow cooking. A frittata should be firm enough to have structure, while at the same time, tender to the bite. If you cook the egg mixture too fast, the result will be dry, crumbly, and off-tasting.
The simple pantry ingredient that will help make your frittata wonderfully tender, while still respecting the structure of the eggs? Cottage cheese. Not fan? No worries. The cottage cheese will melt into the surrounding eggs and other ingredients, and just make it all taste good.
Here’s a fritta perfect for spring, with fresh chopped leeks and artichoke hearts, Parmesan and cottage cheeses, and seasoned with tarragon. Enjoy!
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 2 cups sliced, cleaned leeks, white and light green parts only (sliced in half lengthwise, then sliced crosswise, about 1/4-inch thick slices) (see How to Clean Leeks)
- 4 ounces frozen artichoke hearts, thawed, sliced into 1/2-inch slices
- 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon (can sub 2 teaspoons of chopped fresh tarragon, or dried herbes de Provence or dried thyme)
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 5 eggs
- 8 ounces (1 cup) small curd cottage cheese (can use ricotta if you prefer)
- 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Fresh chopped chives or parsley for garnish
1 In an 8 to 9-inch oven-proof stick-free pan (like hard anodized aluminum with stainless handle) or well seasoned cast-iron pan, melt butter on medium heat. Add the sliced leeks and gently cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Once the leeks are cooked through and softened, add the artichoke hearts, tarragon, and salt. Cook until the artichoke hearts are warmed through, then remove from pan to a bowl and set aside.
2 In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and the cottage cheese. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, Parmesan, and baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and whisk. Stir the artichokes and leeks into the egg mixture. Note that the color of the mixture may change, don't worry if this happens, it will go back to normal when cooked.
3 Wipe out the pan with a paper towel. Then melt another tablespoon of butter into the pan on medium heat, and swirl along the bottom and sides to coat well. Pour the egg mixture into the pan, swirling to make sure the artichokes and leeks are evenly distributed. Lower the heat. Cover the pan, slowly cook on the stove top for 12 to 15 minutes, until all but the center has set. You'll need to check every few minutes. The heat should be high enough to set the mixture, but low enough so that the edges don't brown. This frittata benefits from slow, gentle cooking.
4 Place rack in upper third of oven. Preheat the broiler. When the frittata is mostly set, except for the center which is still wiggly, place the pan in the oven. Broil for 3 to 4 minutes until the top is lightly browned and the center has set.
5 Remove pan from oven. (Be careful about the hot handle! Use a pot holder. I like to run an ice cube over the handle to to be extra safe.) Use a blunt knife or a metal spatula to loosen the edges of the frittata from the pan. Gently insert the spatula under the frittata to loosen it from the bottom of the pan. Then gently slide the frittata onto a serving plate.
Garnish with chives or parsley to serve.