An quick way to enjoy zucchini from the garden is to make an simple zucchini frittata. This dish is a one pan wonder that starts on the stovetop and is finished in the oven. No flipping required. Enjoy this meal for a simple dinner or for a brunch. And as an added bonus, it freezes beautifully making it a wonderful make ahead meal.
The Difference Between a Frittata and Other Egg Dishes
An omelet, quiche, frittata and Spanish omelet all feature eggs. And to make things even more confusing, can have nearly identical ingredients. The differences are how they are prepared and cooked.
- A frittata is Italian for “fried” which is convenient since it is made in a frying pan. It is based on beaten eggs, salt, and cheese but after that, you can add whatever sounds delicious. Started on the stove, it is often finished in the oven so you need to cook it a pan with an oven-proof handle. The eggs are well-set and it doesn’t have to be flipped in the pan to finish cooking.
- An omelet is also cooked in a pan with sloping sides like a frying pan, but it is finished completely on the stove. The egg mixture is cooked and other ingredients are folded into the layer of eggs, then turned out onto a plate.
- A quiche is traditionally baked in a pastry crust. It also is based on eggs and cheese but features a whole list of other ingredients. It is baked in the oven.
- The Spanish tortilla is similar to the frittata but features eggs and potatoes as the base. It is often cooked to be a little runnier than a frittata and this dish is flipped in the pan on the stovetop halfway through cooking.
Zucchini is a prolific vegetable that can double in size almost daily in the right kind of weather. A member of the summer squash family, it is best when picked at 8-10 inches long. This means the seeds are tender. When the zucchini gets large, the seeds turn hard and bitter. If you have large zucchini you want to use in cooking it is best to discard the hard seeds and connecting flesh. You may also want to peel strips of the skin off as well since the skin becomes thick and tough as it matures. Choosing a small to medium size vegetable ensures the zucchini is sweet and tender.
Plan on a medium-sized zucchini to produce about 1 cup grated zucchini. There are about 3 zucchinis (medium-sized) in a pound. Store zucchini (unwashed) in a plastic bag for up to 5 days in the crisper drawer in the refrigerator. If your garden is bursting with zucchini, you can grate the vegetable and freeze it in zip-close bags in the freezer for up to six months. Be sure to thaw in the refrigerator and drain off the water that is disgorged during the defrosting process.
No matter what size of zucchini you cook with, it is important to take the step to disgorge the vegetable. A zucchini, like eggplants and cucumbers, are mostly water. In the case of zucchini 95% water. This water leaches out into a cooked dish that can dilute the flavor and make the dish soggy. The solution to this problem is to let the salt draw out the excess water before you mix the zucchini into your dish.
How to Remove the Water from Zucchini for the Zucchini Frittata
- Slice or grate the zucchini as the recipe directs. then place the zucchini in a bowl and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon kosher salt.
- Let the sliced or grated zucchini rest for 20 minutes while the salt wicks the water from the vegetable by osmosis.
- Drain the water off the zucchini and then wrap the slices or grated vegetables in a towel and squeeze any remaining liquid off.
- You may want to rinse off any remaining salt and gently squeeze the zucchini dry again. (I find that most of the salt is drained off with the water.)
These steps will prevent having the soggy bottom to the zucchini frittata.Print
A simple zucchini frittata that is easy to make and enjoy for brunch or dinner. The recipe includes tips for avoiding a soggy bottom to the dish.
- 2 medium zucchinis, washed and grated (about 2 cups)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 onion, diced, (about 2/3 cup)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 6 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup milk (half-and-half or heavy cream)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2/3 cup gouda cheese, grated (2 ounces) or you could substitute gruyere or your favorite cheese
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
- Grate the zucchini and place in a bowl. Sprinkle surface with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and set aside for 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Meanwhile peel and dice the onion, set aside.
- In a medium bowl combine the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper and whisk until well combined.
- After 20 minutes, drain the water from the grated zucchini and gently squeeze dry with a towel.
- In a medium fry pan (with an ovenproof handle) over medium heat, combine the oil and onions and saute until the onions begin to caramelize, about 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the grated zucchini and stir well to combine and to cook off any remaining water, about 1 minute more.
- Transfer the vegetables from the pan to the bowl with the egg mixture and spray the bottom and sides of the frying pan well with oil.
- Stir the eggs and vegetables together and add 3/4’s of the cheeses. Stir to combine.
- Pour the eggs, vegetables, and cheese into the oiled frying pan and top with the remaining cheese.
- Carefully transfer the frying pan to the preheated 400°F oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown on top and the center is firm to the touch.
- Remove the frying pan from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes.
- Slide the frittata out onto a plate and cut into wedges. Serve warm.
You can add other ingredients such as 1 cup cooked bacon, sausage, or ham if desired.)
I used a 10″ cast iron frying pan for this dish. I like that diameter to produce a thicker frittata. If you use a larger frying pan, you will need to check the frittata at 20 minutes, since the mixture will be thinner and thus cook faster.