22 Nov


from Daniela del Balzo of Daniela’s Cooking School in Rome

Which came first, the frittata or the omelette?

Does it matter?  Less than the chicken/egg conundrum certainly.

What does matter is the distinction between the two:  an omelette being a fold over  envelope of sorts holding in a variety of ingredients, whereas the ingredients of a frittata are added to the egg mixture itself resulting in a kind of pie.  Also note that in Italy, la frittata is not a breakfast dish (Italians don’t eat eggs in any form in the morning), but is served at lunch or dinner.

Besides being an excellent and inexpensive source of protein, a frittata is easy and an opportunity for infinite creativity.
But you don’t need to go all crazy coming up with a lengthy list of additives just because you can. Often less is more –  we’ve all heard that, haven’t we?  And so it is with Daniela Del Balzo’s following recipe for frittata di zucchine.

Please keep in mind that cooking in Italy is nowhere near an exact science, measurements are casual to say the least.  Una manciata (a handful)  is an actual form of measurement, begging the question, “whose hand?”.

Non si può fare la frittata senza rompere le uova.
That’s an Italian proverb meaning “if you want to make an omelette (ie. change or accomplish something), you have to break some eggs. Of course, there’s always the potential to create a mess – in life and with frittatas.

So let’s begin.


– 3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
– 1 clove garlic, whole
– 4 to 5 zucchine (depending on the size), about 2 cups
– about 1 tbs fresh mint leaves (or 2 tbs fresh basil)
– 5 eggs
– 2 tbs milk
– salt and pepper to taste

1.Wash, peel, and slice the zucchine into thin discs.
2. Place 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil and the garlic clove in a frying pan over medium high heat.
3. When hot and slightly sizzley (but before garlic becomes brown or even golden – burnt garlic ruins any dish), add the zucchine, salt, pepper and mint leaves. Cook, stirring occasionally, until zucchine often and become golden brown.  Take out garlic and remove from pan and set aside to cool.

4. Crack the eggs into a bowl, adding salt and 2 tbs milk, and beat with whisk for a few minutes. Add the zucchini and stir to mix well..
5. In the same pan where you have cooked the zucchini, place 1 tbs olive oil.
6. When the oil is hot, pour in the egg and zucchine mixture and  cook over high heat for a few minutes, then lower to medium heat.  Lift sides occasionally with rubber spatula  to check for browning.

7. When the underside is almost golden brown,  place a dish wide enough to extend outward a bit from the pan and flip it onto the dish  (I do this close to the sink) and then slide back into the pan and continue cooking on medium heat until set all the way through, about 2 more minutes depending on size of pan and thickness of the frittata.
8. Allow to cool and serve either warm or at room temperature.

Consider serving for lunch or dinner with a green salad and a crisp white or light red wine.

And finally — rejoice in having broken those eggs!

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