Technique Guide: Upside Down Frittata


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(Note: this post was originally published on April 7, 2019. The date above reflects migration to the new platform.)

Why It's Awesome

Everyone loves a good brunch dish, right?? Frittata is one of my favorites because it's relatively quick to make, can be made ahead, and can be served hot, room temperature, or cold, all of which make it a really versatile option for entertaining. Plus it's veggie-forward and isn't nearly as rich as quiche (no crust, no added dairy).

But this isn't any old frittata. This is an upside-down frittata! Here, I'll describe everything you need to know to put a 180-degree spin (literally) on the Italian classic. It's the same idea, but so much prettier!

In short, you make a frittata and flip it over. The beauty of this approach is that it allows you to decorate the bottom, which eventually becomes the top, leaving you with an awesome flat surface for all your beautiful veggies. You can really go crazy here with design, making this the star of your next brunch get-together.

About This Post

This post will walk you through how to make an upside down frittata, step by step. You'll see lots of photos throughout, showing a couple different creations as examples. I hope this will help you visualize how to make this dish happen!

Keep in mind that you can use whatever veggies you like here. In general, I suggest choosing veggies that are really pretty and a bit on the harder side, since really soft veggies will just turn to mush during the cooking process. The sky is the limit here, so you can have fun imagining all sorts of seasonal or themed frittatas.

And please remember to share what you make! This is such a fun dish, especially for entertaining, and I'd be so happy to see your photos on Instagram.

Step #1: Prepare Your Veggies

Things with a flat surface (e.g. zucchini) will work best. Choose what you want to use, prep them as necessary, and cut them into thin slices. I try to have all the veggies ~0.25'' thick so that they'll cut easily once they're inside the firttata but will still maintain their shape.

Some veggies may require pre-cooking; for example, really assertive things like onions, or really hard things like sweet potatoes. In that case, you'll definitely want to roast or grill ahead of time. Grilled red onions or sweet potato rounds are really flavorful and beautiful, and halved roasted brussel sprouts are just plain fun, but they all need a bit of love beforehand.

Soft veggies (zucchini, tomatoes) don't need to be pre-cooked since the ~10-15 minutes they'll get in the pan is sufficient.

Step #2: Prep Your Eggs

Working in a 12'' skillet, I find that 6-7 eggs is the fewest I can get away with. More is fine (I think the most I've done is 12), you'll just need to cook slower and longer. If you want to do fewer, scale down to a smaller skillet. (Frittata makes awesome leftovers though, so don't be afraid of extra).

Crack your eggs and give them a good whisking. Add in any additional spices and seasonings. For example, for an Italian-inspired flavor profile, you could add dried oregano, basil, and paprika. Salt and pepper generously.

Step #3: Oil a Non-Stick Skillet

This is critical for making sure the frittata comes out cleanly. I generally use olive oil, but whatever you prefer is fine. Make sure the bottom and sides are thinly but evenly coated. Please don't skimp on this step, you really don't want your beautiful creation to stick!

Step #4: Lay Out Your Veggies

Before turning on the burner, lay your veggies out on the bottom of the skillet. Have fun with it! You can scatter them around randomly or make patterns. You can nest them inside one another, as I've done with the onion rings shown two photos above, or put them into a whimsical spiral like the brussel sprouts directly above and below. Do whatever you think will make your frittata pretty and unique.

Step #5: "Glue" the Veggies In Place

This is the single most important piece! If you only remember one thing from this post, it should be this. This is the magic trick!

First, turn on the burner and get the skillet warm enough so that the veggies start to sizzle. Then, very delicately, spoon a small amount of your egg mixture around the veggies. Wait a minute or two until the egg has set. Don't move forward until you have done this!

Getting the veggies set into a thin layer of egg (i.e. before adding the rest of the egg mixture) is critical. If you add all the egg mixture right away, the veggies will just float to the top and you'll lose your pattern. It's very sad, I speak from experience. Definitely definitely do not add the rest of your egg mixture until the veggies are securely locked into place.

Check out the photos directly above and below, both of which show this step for different patterns. Note how the egg layer is very thin and the veggies are still sticking up out of it. Add just enough egg to coat the bottom of the skillet.

Step #6: Add the Rest of the Egg

Proceed to this step only after the initial egg layer has solidified. Very gently, pour in the rest of your egg mixture, making sure not to dislodge the veggies from their delicate position on the bottom of the skillet. I usually pour it over the back of a spoon. You could also ladle it in slowly.

Step #7: Cook

There are differing opinions about how to cook a frittata. My preference is to cook it about 75% of the way on the stovetop, then finish it under the broiler.

For the stovetop phase, keep your burner low so that your eggs cook through without browning the bottom (which will eventually become the top). This will go more quickly if you have a lid that fits your skillet, since it will trap the heat inside and cook the center of the frittata more efficiently. If you don't have a lid, put a cookie sheet over the skillet.

When you can see that everything except the top surface has set, put it under the broiler to finish. Keep a close eye on it the whole time! This will only take a few minutes, but it helps to set that annoying center part that's tricky to cook otherwise.

Step #8: Flip It!

When your frittata has finished cooking, flip it upside down to reveal your awesome design. A fast, smooth, single motion works best. Be brave, you can do it!

I like flipping it onto a small plate that fits inside the skillet- that way, the frittata won't have to fall to land on its new surface. If you want to go that route, choose a round plate that's smaller than your skillet, but only by a bit. Hold the plate against the top of the frittata, then flip so that the plate is on the bottom and the skillet is on the top. Use a spatula to slide the now upside down fritatta onto a different plate or board for serving.

(Note: if by chance something goes wrong, don't worry! Your frittata will still be delicious. Just flip it back to the orientation in which you cooked it and serve as-is. No one will ever know it was supposed to be upside down).

Step #9: Garnish and Enjoy!

You can garnish the frittata with any of your favorite fixings (pesto, salsa, cheese, nuts, etc), or serve garnishes on the side so that people can dress up their slices individually. Whether you serve the garnishes on top or on the side might depend on how long the frittata will sit out until you're ready to eat, and/or on whether you want to set aside leftovers. If it's going to sit for a while or you're planning leftovers, it's best to keep garnishes on the side.

Serving Options

One of the things I love about frittata is that it's great hot, warm, or cold. This really makes things easy! Feel free to serve it right away for a hot dish if that's what works for you. Or, if you're prepping a few more dishes, let the frittata cool down to room temperature and serve it that way, an hour or so later.

You can even make this dish ahead of time! If you're hosting a big brunch or have houseguests who will need breakfast, make it the night before and keep it in the fridge. Then, either serve it cold or reheat it in the microwave. If you're going this route though, definitely leave off any garnishes or toppings until just before serving.

Got leftovers? Awesome! Just keep them in a tightly-sealed container. They make for a great lunch or an easy dinner option.

Closing Thoughts

Isn't this just the best?? It's such a pretty dish and can be made with any veggies and spices you can dream up. Plus it's a total show-stopper and can certainly serve as the centerpiece for your meal. Seasonal or holiday-appropriate variations are a blast and make for easy entertaining.

Share It!

It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.

Technique Guide: Upside Down Frittata

I'm turning this classic brunch dish upside down... literally! This frittata variation is easier than it sounds and a total show-stopper. Dress it up with whatever veggies you love most!




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