Monday, March 19

“It's Fri—taaa—taa!”

Every Friday after school, my mom and I delivered groceries to my grandmother in her little apartment. (More about her here). We arrived at her front door, arms heavy with Stop n' Shop bags, and would ring the bell with a free elbow. Invariably, I would complain about how long it was taking her. (I swear, it took her 5 minutes to walk the 10 feet from her recliner to the front door). And invariably, we would hear her voice from within, “Aspette! Aspette!” (Wait! Wait!). With my arms completely numb by this point, she would finally let us in and exclaim: “Oooohh, I’m so glad you came! I just made a nice fri—taaa—taa. You’ll have some.” She said it every time as if she didn’t expect us.

Though we ate frittata often at home, I associate it most with Spring and with Nan; Fridays during Lent we would abstain from meat, so she always made a simple vegetable frittata, which was waiting for us when we arrived.

On a typical New England March day (rainy and raw), we couldn’t wait to get inside her toasty warm apartment where the thermostat was always set at 78 degrees. Her cramped apartment exuded comfort: as a girl, I loved the way every nook and cranny was filled with furniture and heirlooms and the way the smell of baked goods and coffee filled the rooms. It was so quiet that I would just sit crouched on her sofa in the few beams of light from the late afternoon sun and listen to the ticking of her grandfather clock. After filling ourselves on frittata, my grandmother (and oftentimes my mother and I!) would fall asleep.

Frittata is really nothing more than eggs with vegetables, cheeses, or meats cooked into it. Yet, made the right way, it is oh-so-satisfying. Of the countless delicious meals my grandmother made, my mother still says her frittatas were the best. They were always simple: potato and onion, sausage and pepper, or spinach and Parmesan. Invariably, we would ask her: “But Nan, what do you do? Nobody makes frittata like you.” To which she would shrug her shoulders, throw her hand in the air, and reply,“What? What do I do? It’s frittata,” then smile to herself. She loved the compliment, and we knew it.

Nan’s Potato, Pepper, and Onion Frittata
Print recipe only here.

1-2 tsp olive oil
1 small potato, diced
1 small onion or shallot
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
5 eggs (Egg Beaters or whites only are also fine)
A handful of fresh basil, thinly sliced
A handful of fresh parsley, chopped
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
A few shakes of crushed red pepper
A few dashes of salt

Over medium-low heat, add olive oil to an 8-inch non-stick skillet; and potatoes and sauté until golden brown, about 5-7 min. Add onions; cook another 2-3 minutes. Add red bell pepper strips; cook another 2-3 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat the eggs in a small bowl; add fresh basil, parsley, cheese, salt, and red pepper. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet. With a fork, gently move the egg mixture from side to side as it begins to cook to ensure that it cooks evenly. Do this until the eggs start to solidify and a crust begins to form around the edges. This takes about 5-8 minutes. Give the pan handle a jiggle, and when the eggs appear set, remove the pan from the stovetop and place under the broiler. Broil for 3-4 minutes, until the top begins to puff up and turn a golden brown. Keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t burn. Once nicely browned, let cool for a couple of minutes before slicing. Serve hot or at room temperature. Makes 2 large or 4 small servings.

Leftovers? Try a Frittata Sandwich

Since no one left Nan's house without food (ever), we would often eat frittata for lunch the next day. Mom would put it on toasted Italian bread with a little bit of homemade tomato sauce ("gravy" for the RI readers) and melted mozzarella. It's one of Jeff's favorites.

I am submitting this post to the Ellie of Kitchen Wench who is hosting a lovely once-off event: Nostalgia Tastes Bittersweet. Also, for another springtime frittata recipe, check out Toni's asparagus frittata at Daily Bread Journal.

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Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Such a lovely photo of the three generations of women in your family! I love frittata, too. When I make a veggie one, I don't mix the parm in it, but sprinkle it on the top before the frittata goes under the broiler. Will try it your way, to compare.

O Mama Mia said...

Girl, you always know how to make me drool all over my laptop!
Fabulously beautiful pic of your three generations, too!

isabilla said...

ciao Susan, siete bellissime!
you, your mamma end your nan are very beautiful :) when I read your stories about you and your nan, I'm feel a little bit of jealousy, because both my nan's died when I was child...and I was grow up missing them... your nan give you a lot of love, and also her traditional know-how about food! she seem very adorable :-)
:-* grazie for this frittata-recipe,
good week! isa

Sig said...

A very nostalgic story Susan, and a lovely photo of the three of you.

Frittata looks great, it is very similar to the Spanish tortilla right?

Anonymous said...

I saw you pictures and think you are a very beautiful girl.

I was wondering if you are a free agent and would consider going out on a date with me?
We can take about my dedication this year to Thai food and how I plan on mastering it within 6 weeks.

Do they have Thai frittatas ? Maybe we can invent one.

Brilynn said...

Great story! I love the looks of that frittata sandwich... and as an added bonus frittata is just fun to say!

Mishmash ! said...

Susan, whenever u write about ur nana, I am so touched I was very close to my grandma too.
hmm...frittatas....urs look yummy toooooo :) Perhaps, ur grandkids will tell the same about ur firttatas, who knows ! :)


Stella said...

DELICIOUS indeed. oh geez, I love frittatas. Prefer them to omelettes definitely!
And Susan, it's a beautiful picture of 3 beautiful women you shared here:)
You look a lot like your mum!:)

Anonymous said...

A great story and delicious photography [as always]. Red bell peppers are an excellent choice for this. I find the taste of green bell peppers harsh.

Anonymous said...

I've been wanting to do frittata for sometime...looks like it's time now ;p
Yours looks so very EGG-cellent!

Asha said...

Beautiful looking family there!:))

Fri-Taaa-Taa looks yummy,thanks for the recipe.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Lydia-Thank you; it's precious to me since both my mom and grandmother rarely allow pictures of themselves.

Jess-Aw, that's sweet of you.

Isabilla-You know, Nan is the only grandparent I knew growing up. My other grandmother passed away a couple of days after I was born, and I never had the opportunity to meet my grandfathers. You're right, food bound us together, and I like to think I inherited my love for Italian cooking from Nan (and Mom). Thanks for your lovely note.

Sig-Thank you! A frittata is made from eggs with veggies, etc. cooked into it, whereas a tortilla is made from ground corn or flour. Perhaps you're thinking of a tortilla made with eggs, like heuvos rancheros? Those are delicious.

Craig-I'm a taken woman. A happy one too. Good luck with the Thai frittata.

Brilynn-It is fun to say, isn't it?

Mishmash-What a lovely thought. Thank you so much.

Valentina-I can guarantee you that you just made my mom's day.:)

Terry B-I agree. The sweetness of the red peppers balances the pungency of the onions nicely.

Tigerfish-I hope you try it! They are so easy, versatile, and delicious.

Asha-Oh, thank you!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Hey Sig,
I was just on another food blog (Porcini Chronicles) and saw a recipe for Tortilla de patatas. I had never heard of that, so maybe that's what you were thinking of too. What a coincidence!


Parisbreakfasts said...

Frttata is my most favorite dish, but I never thought of putting it in a sandwhich!?

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Three generations of beauties!! Thank you for such a Beautiful story! I love the sandwich!

Anonymous said...

Once again a gorgeous post and this is a great recipe. Thanks!

Kajal@aapplemint said...

Hey Susan,u look just like ur mom.and thats a wonderful pic of all 3 of u.Mums food is the best matter what they make...even if it is just a fritata.I wish my gran was around:-(
She would've really been happy to see me today.

Susan in Italy said...

Hi Susan, Your blog is a great find! Thanks for contacting me. I did a lot of grad school as well, met my husband in school as you did and moved to where the job took him, hence Italy. Parallel lives?

Patricia Scarpin said...

Susan, what a beautiful post. The photo is amazing, too - this is a family full of great looking women!!

I love frittatas - actually, I love anything with eggs. :)

The idea of making a sandwich with the left overs is fantastic.

pinknest said...

mmmm!! lovely. what a delicious idea to make a frittata sandwich. love it.

Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful post, and a tasty lookin' frittata! I've got to say that I love the idea of a frittata sandwich, what a great idea for using up leftovers! Thank you so much for taking part in this event :)

Sig said...

Susan, yep Spanish tortillas are spanish omelettes , and doesn't use any flour.. I just googled and figured that Italians call it frittata and Spanish call it tortillas. :)

Unknown said...

I LOVE frittata and actually made one for supper tonight! Asparagus, mushroom, and tomato. Yum! Can't wait for zucchini and squash to be affordable and want to try eggplant as well. YUM!!!! Great summer and spring food.

Anonymous said...

Yum, Yum, Yum! My mom used to make a version she called potato and egg pie. I haven't come close to mastering it yet. Yours looks so fabulous! Again - the Stop n Shop...." la la la" :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan, you were just "featured" in a food meme in my post! :p
Any favorite food gem to share with us?

sher said...

That was truly a wonderful post. I was moved and delighted reading about Nan and how she made the frittata for all of you. And that sandwich? Marvelous! Thank you for sharing those memories.

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Susan, I love frittata and make it often -- you can get creative, and it never fails to please! Next time, I'm going to have to try the frittata sandwich, too!

Anonymous said...

I'm adding this to my menu plan right now. It looks fantastic!

Passionate Eater said...

I think it is all that great cooking in your family, because your mother and grandmother are gorgeous and so young! Also, I never said this, but I love your leftover idea. What a delicious post, I am in the mood for pan-fried eggs now!

Toni said...

Susan, I love this post! I love the memories you share, and the terrific photo of 3 generations of beautiful women.

Never thought of making the leftovers into a sandwich - great idea! Especially when you use a great bread, as you have here.

Thanks for the reference to my fritata. (Pardon me - that's fri taaa taa! ;-)

Connie said...

what a great story, thanks for sharing. i feel all warm and homey now! and a fritata sandwich sounds oh so good

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

That's a nice family photo!
Your frittata looks delicious and that sandwich is gorgeous! I could do with one of those right now...

Madame K said...

I'm very happy to have found you and your blog.

Your food looks fantastic...wait, I'm getting a little hungry!

wheresmymind said...

I keep forgetting I've gota Fritatta post that I need to post!! Yours looks too good...especially the sandwich :)

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Carol-It's sooo good on crusty bread!

Tanna-How sweet of you to say. Thank you.

Elizabeth-Oh, thank you so much.

Kate-You are so right. Mom's and Nan's food is the best because it's simple and made with love. Thank you.

Susan-More similarities?! I guess we were meant to meet; it's a good thing we both love food blogging.

Patricia-Oh, thank you! I love the sandwich too!

Pinknest-It makes leftovers much more appetizing.

Ellie-It was an absolute pleasure to partake in the event. Thanks for hosting it.

Sig-Thanks! I'm glad I learned something new. :)

Claire-Ooh, I can't wait for summer zucchini! It's one of my favorite frittata additions.

Chris-I actually thought of you when I was writing Stop 'n Shop. How funny is that? :)

Tigerfish-I'll have to check it out.

Sher-I really appreciate that. It's a wonderful memory.

T.W.-It's even better the next day!

Kristen-Oh, I'm so pleased!

Passionateeater-They really are young looking. Nan is 98 years old, yet everyone thinks she's 20 years younger. Let's hope I inherit their good genes!

Toni-You won't be disappointed with the sandwich. And it was my pleasure.

Connie-Thanks so much. I felt that way writing it too.

Mikaela said...

"Fri—taaa—taa" sounds like, waaaay more exciting "frittata" :)

Another awesome story, lady!

MeloMeals said...

The three of you are beautiful...reading your blog is such a great little peek into your family. Just lovely.

Cate said...

That sandwich looks delicious ... haven't had a frittata in ages, but it's a great way to clean out the fridge.

Burcu said...

I love reading your stories and looking at your pictures. delicious!

Chubbypanda said...

Nicely done. I first learned about fritatas from, of all people, Martha Stewart. It didn't take me long to leave her perfect, sterile world in search of delicious imperfection. Thanks for the recipe!

Lisa Johnson said...

Oh I love fritattas! I made one last week. I think I'm going through and egg, vegetable, cheese thing, because I made quiche this week!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Rosa-Any time is a good time for a frittata sandwich.;)

Karen-Thanks! I think your blog is delicious too!

Jeff-I can't wait to see yours!

Mikaela-Oh, thank you. It's so nice to hear you like them.

Melody-I just can't think about food without thinking about family.

Cate-It is; anything goes!

Burcu-Oh, thanks!

Chubbypanda-Yeah, I definitely don't associate frittatas with Martha. They seem to easy for her. Thanks!

Anali-They're so easy, versatile, and healthful, aren't they?

christine said...

What a wonderful idea to make it into a sandwich! I never thought of that. I love fritattas and I like to make it different each time, experimenting with new ingredients. Now I have another one! :) I loved reading your story of Nan, and bringing her those groceries and how she'd make you wait all the time at the door. It made me smile. :) I could almsot see her so excited all day Friday cooking those fritatas in the kitchen, hardly able to wait for you and your mom to arrive. She's lucky to have you both. :)

Gattina Cheung said...

Susan, I got to make this frittata tomorrow for lunch, I doubt if there will be any left-over though =)

J said...

Susan, that was a lovely family picture :) Your story reminds me of my grandma whom I'm very close to. The Fritatas are lovely, will surely make this!

Melting Wok said...

I thought I was looking at Glamour magazine, and not foodblogga hehe, 3 charlie's angels on the front cover, nice one, Susan :) Btw, love all sorts of frittatas, you can basically whip it up with anything with eggs. I see you don't use flour ? That's great :) By the way, I did my frittata a while back, I used fish with herbs and spices, just thought I share it with you here :)

Monika Korngut said...

What a nice story to go with the recipe and the pictures make my mouth water.
Looks delicious, and I'm sure it tastes amazing.

Freya said...

Wow, you are popular! I love fritatta but it is difficult to get the seasoning right (mine always turn out so bland!). Great post!

Deb said...

My favorite part of the post? The picture of course. I have one very similar..thanks for bringing to mind a very sweet memory!

Jeanne said...

What a great post - and a wonderful photo of three generations together. You are so lucky to know your nan - I only met two of my grandparents and never lived in the same town as them. I love frittata too - so easy and always satisfying. In the unlikely event that my husband ever leaves any leftovers (!!) I will definitely try the frittata sandwich idea - mmmm!

Anonymous said...

This post brings me right back to when my Nonna used to cook for me. Your frittata looks wonderful, especially in the sandwich.

Anonymous said...

I love your story of Nan! I love grandma stories :) She is a sweetie! And you guys are quite the trio :)

I like fritata too...and the sandwich reminds me of when they make sandwiches out of tortilla de patata in Spain (which I also enjoy)...

Rachael said...

Susan - what an absolutely lovely story. By the way, you look so much like your mother and grandmother! My father always makes frittatas for a breakfast/brunch treat, and every time I make one I think of family too.

Fantastic idea to serve it as a sandwich. Portable frittata!

s'kat said...

I'm guessing the secret ingredient was 'love'! And what a fabulous picture of the three of you!

Lucy said...

Great looking frittata. What a divine lunch offering.

Susan, your photos are becoming really gorgeous. Inspiring.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful memory and recipe.

Ari (Baking and Books)

Anonymous said...

Beautiful Frittata! (Here in Spain we make something similar, called "tortilla española", but I like your sandwich idea better! Gravy and cheese? I think I may have just drooled. :P Great post! :)

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Susan, another great story. I feel like I know your family (I wish I could come over for dinner sometime!)

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Christine- She really did look forward to our visits. We miss them so much now.

Gattina- There aren't always leftovers here either.

Jyothsna- I am so glad it made you think of your family too.

Shirley- If you think flattery is going to get you somewhere, you are absolutely right. :) Thanks for sharing yours.

Monika- Thanks. Glad you liked it.

Freya and Paul- I always go heavy on the herbs.

Deb- Unfortunately we have very few of the pictures. I do cherish them.

Jeanne- Thanks. Nan is the only one of four grandparents I ever knew.

Anthony- Thanks. Jeff says the sandwich tasted as good as it looked.

Joey- I would love to see (and try) one in Spain.

Rachael- Thanks. You just made my mother so happy.

S'kat- Your guess is right.

Lucy- Thanks. I sincerely appreciate the compliment, especially coming from you.

Ari- Oh, thank you.

Canarygirl- Thanks so much for stopping by. All these mentions of Spanish tortillas have inspired me. I can't wait to try one.

Meeta K. Wolff said...

Three generations of gorgeous women. Susan, you touched my heart in every way. Loved that story so much that I've bookmarked it to be able to read it over and over again.
The fri-taa-taa does sound delicious with all those wonderful aromas and flavors. Thank you for this post Susan!

Scribbit said...

Okay I've had frittata but the idea of putting it in a crispy roll to make a sandwich is genius.

I can hear your grandmother's voice "Aspette!" The picture of you three is beautiful--

Pip said...

This is a very touching story, and food is always bound to family stories (or at least is for me)! The picture with the three of you is simply fantastic! :)
In Italy frittata is very common, is often made with leftovers and is the ideal meal when you're out of time. Italian frittata and Spanish tortillas are basically the same thing: maybe the big difference is that tortillas are thicker and smaller than frittata but that also doesn't occur all the time. The best known Spanish tortillas are the "tortilla de patatas" (with potatoes) and the "tortilla de cebollas" (with onions), but sometimes they're mixed together. They're also often served as "tapas" (small appetizers) in pubs and bars during happy hours.

Rachel Rubin said...

My grandma always used to say Aspette too! But she never made frittatas. I have never successfully made a frittata. I've tried them a few times but they always burn or else I end up with scrambled eggs.

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan - I love fritata, and I love your story (and pics)! This fritata is both delicious and inspiring!

Scott at Real Epicurean said...

The sandwich looks the best bit to me...I must be far to common ;)

Wandering Chopsticks said...

This was such a touching story. I love all your grandma stories actually. I can't believe she's 98! Tell her she looks fabulous. She looks decades younger.

Warda said...

This is the first time that I see your blog and I am already delighted by its stories and the recipes. Like you, my nana was my insperation and my best friend.She was also my full time baby-sitter until the age of four. Every time I miss her, I make her signature dish: roasted chicken with roasted potatoes. For the frittata, I have never seen one in a sandwich. Looks delicious though. I am happy that I came across your blog, I'll be back and I hope you are feeling better.

Julie said...

I have a pan that is strictly for frittatas. Just like my grandmother I tell everyone that nothing else is ever to be cooked in that pan.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I just googled frittata and found this post. This is a really great story. I too had an Italian grandmother who I called Nonna who made very simple and delicious dishes like frittata. Nonna passed away several years ago, and I pretty much stopped eating frittatas, but after reading this it makes me think I should try them again. She would be proud I think. Thanks again for a beautiful story. Denise from New England