I originally wanted to call this Denver Frittata. Partly to amuse myself and partly because, finding myself with extra of the ingredients needed to make a classic denver omelet, I instead planned a frittata. A denver omelet is popular with restaurant goers (and therefore a common menu item at diners) because its simple, straightforward combination of ham, green peppers and cheese (often cheddar) plays very well together. Sauteed peppers offer a sweet and vaguely sour counterpoint to the fatty, salty and sweet crisped ham while cheddar offers a slight tangy, rich sharpness in the background.
Why a frittata? Well, to be honest I thought I knew what a frittata was for many years and as I learned from my friend Lisa, the blogger at Italian Kiwi, I was wrong. I’d been applying that term to any crustless egg pie, baked or fried. The problem is that frittata literally means “fried”. Not only is it fried, it is also composed of an aerated egg batter which has been vigorously whipped. The resulting fluffy egg pie seems so simple, yet is difficult to master. So I decided to make a frittata partly to practice my technique. As to the other part of my motivation? Fried fluffy savory egg pies are delicious.
Makes 1 (8 in) pie
4 jumbo eggs
1 ounce sharp cheddar, finely grated
1 ounce ham, diced
1/2 large green bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup neutral oil (divided)
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1. Whisk eggs together with the cheese and season with salt & pepper.
2. In a medium sized skillet or heavy bottomed saucepan (cast iron is best) , heat 3 Tablespoons oil. Over medium heat, saute the ham and peppers until peppers are soft and the ham has been seared all over (6 minutes).
3. While the peppers and ham saute, whip the eggs quickly and with great force. You will notice bubbles begin to form, then the egg batter will start to increase in volume.
4. Distribute the ham and peppers evenly across the bottom of the skillet and pour egg batter over them. Fry for five minutes and leave the frittata alone. No flipping or stirring necessary. If you’re worried it will burn, make sure you check for smoke or a burnt smell frequently and adjust heat as needed.
5. Slide a plate over your pan and carefully invert the pan onto the plate. Thump gently to loosen the frittata. It should come off mostly or all in one piece.
6. Return pan to the heat and add the remaining 1 Tablespoon oil. Slide the frittata back into the pan and allow it to finish cooking for 3 minutes.
Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and serve.