Asparagus and Gruyère Frittata

I made this, my very first frittata, for our Mother’s Day brunch a few weekends ago. Initially I had considered a quiche, but didn’t feel like making a crust so the frittata was my Plan B. Had I known how easy and versatile frittatas were, I probably would have been making them years ago! Basically if you have eggs, you can make it happen. Throw in whatever veggies, cheese or meats happen to be in your fridge – anything goes! I chose to incorporate asparagus, my favorite spring veggie, and Gruyère, the best cheese ever, in ours. The asparagus retained just a little bit of its texture so it wasn’t at all mushy, and the cheese, which is cut into cubes rather than shredded, became little pockets of melty goodness once cooked. This came together in less than 15 minutes so it’s a really great last minute meal idea.

Asparagus and Gruyère Frittata

Because I made this just before everyone arrived for brunch, I didn’t want to put the meal on hold while I took photos. I figured if there were leftovers, great, and if not, I’d make it again sometime to photograph and share (assuming we liked it). It turned out we did have a few slices remaining but I wasn’t in the mood to take pics immediately so I stuck them in the fridge. I was bummed when I pulled them out the next day – the color, especially the green of the asparagus, which had been bright and vibrant was now dull and not very appealing. Rest assured yours will look better than what you see here if you serve it immediately :) The good news is it tastes great either way!

Asparagus and Gruyère Frittata
adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, May/June 2005

12 large eggs
3 tablespoons half and half
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut on the bias into 1/4-inch pieces
1 shallot, minced
3 oz Gruyère cheese, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

Preheat your broiler, with an oven rack placed about 5 inches below it.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, half and halfWhisk eggs, half-and-half, salt and pepper until completely combined.

Set a 12-inch nonstick skillet (make sure it’s oven safe!) over medium heat. Add the oil, and when hot, throw in the asparagus. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the asparagus has lightly browned on the outside and is nearly tender, about 3 minutes. Add the shallot and cook just until slightly softened, about 2 minutes.

Add the cubes of Gruyère into the egg mixture and stir to combine. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet with the asparagus and shallot, and cook, using a rubber spatula to stir and scrape the bottom. Large curds will begin to form after about 2 minutes, but the eggs should still be quite wet. Shake the skillet to distribute the eggs evenly then allow to cook for 30 seconds without stirring – this will set the bottom.

Transfer the skillet to the oven and set under the broiler. Cook until the frittata puffs and the surface browns slightly, about 3-4 minutes. Don’t walk away – you may need to rotate your skillet for even cooking, depending on your broiler. Cut into the frittata with a parking knife – if the eggs are just slightly wet and runny, it’s ready. Pull the skillet from the oven and let the frittata stand for 5 minutes, then slide it out of the pan. Cut into wedges and serve.