One of my obsessions is the muffin pans. Its versatility is endless – I use it for baking but also for cooking in general – on rare occasion, as a shape holding container for my steamed pork buns. It also seem to keep my potions in control and I can carry my own food on the road; avoiding to stop by my favorite deli to get that awesome egg sandwich in the morning and thinking after… What’s in this thing??? So a few years back, I started to make eggs in the muffin pan. I think it might have been very popular method to cook small meals in the muffin pan by then, and it was a natural flow for me to experiment.
frittata [frih-TAH-tuh] An Italian OMELET that usually has the ingredients mixed with the eggs rather than being folded inside, as with a French omelet. It can me flipped or the top can be finished under a broiling unit. An omelet is cooked quickly over moderately high heat and , after folding has a flat-sided half-oval shape. A frittata is firmer because it’s cooked very slowly over low heat, and round because it isn’t folded. ~ Herbst, Sharon Tyler and Ron Herbst. The New Food Lover’s Companion. 4th ed. New York: Barron’s, 2007. Print. p. 276
Frittata, what I call a cousin of an omelet, comes from the derived Italian word, friggere, which means to fry. So it should be “fried” not “baked.” This explains why it usually made in the frying pan/skillet with oil requiring flipping. I broke that rule by baking but with a generous amount of oil in each cup of the muffin pan to create similar environment as “frying.” The essential main ingredient is eggs, usually many of them. By mixing other ingredients, such as herbs, veggies, cheese, and meats, it creates totally different experience to the egg eating. And it becomes this gorgeous all-in-one meal. Well, hello, eggs.
I made Frittata with different veggies in the past although there’s one ingredient that I always came back to, Spinach. I grew up with a lot of them as my mom used to say I can’t be like the Popeye the Sailor Man if I don’t eat them. The best combination I’ve found was the spinach and artichoke, which seems to be getting rave reviews around me, and have been expanding my experiments around those two ingredients. Past couple of years, I’ve included caramelized onions, and more recently, pancetta. As a bacon lover, I used good amount of bacon with no reservation for a while but I ran into the problem when I used this fancy-pants bacon with a strong hickory flavor. I felt like throwing a tantrum. So substituting to pancetta gave me the pork flavor without the smokiness of the bacon that often has, without sacrificing the taste.