Egg promotion is winding down, but what a lot of attention it got! (NPR’s Steve Inskeep talked to me about it on Morning Edition. It inspired an egg-centric stroll through Manhattan with NYTimes reporter Alex Witchel. It was covered favorably in Sunday’s NYTBR by William Grimes. Debbi Snook covered it for my hometown paper. And the Wall Street Journal ran an excerpt on page one of its weekend section.)

But now that the fun is subsiding, I reflect on where it began: for me with this humble frittata. In fourth grade someone told me or I saw on TV how to make one. And so, home alone with only four channels to entertain me, the video game Pong a blip on the horizon, and hungry, really hungry, I made the above. It was not just the creation itself that was exciting (me! I MADE this!), it was also delicious. And satisfying. I felt good after I ate it, not lethargic or enervated.

This was good food and I’ve never not cooked since.

And it was the beginning of what would culminate in the new book, Egg. (The company that runs Little, Brown, I would like to add, Hachette Book Group, is waging a public feud with Amazon over the cost of electronic books; in what amounts to several sucker punches, Amazon is actively trying to diminish the sales of Hachette books, and it’s hurting authors; why my books Egg and Schmaltz are actually cheaper if you buy them from Barnes & Noble. See this story on Hachette head, Michael Pietsch, from yesterday’s NYTimes for more on what’s at stake. And why it breaks Malcolm Gladwell’s heart.)

But this will end. Eggs will not. They are, after all, the world’s most versatile ingredient. And inspiration: look at all the good things that happen when you make a frittata!


All photos by my ace photographer, Donna Turner Ruhlman.

Potato, Onion, and Cheese Frittata

  • 1 small potato, peeled and cut into small dice (about 1 cup/225 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • ½ onion, cut into small dice (about ½ cup/100 grams)
  • 6 eggs, thoroughly blended
  • ½ cup/60 grams shredded cheddar cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 avocados, peeled, pitted, and diced (optional)
  1. Preheat the broiler.
  2. In a medium nonstick fry pan, combine the potatoes and olive oil over medium-high heat and stir or toss them in the pan to coat them with oil. Add a three-finger pinch of salt, just to coat the surface. When the potatoes are lightly browned, add the onions, salt to coat the onions, and continue to cook until the onions are tender, stirring or tossing the potato and onion.
  3. Place the eggs in a medium bowl and add the cheese, along with ½ teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper, and stir to combine and disperse the cheese. Pour the egg mixture over the potatoes and onions and reduce the heat to medium, swirling the pan so that the eggs even out. Cook until the edges are set, a couple of minutes depending on the heat level, checking to make sure that the eggs aren’t sticking. Place the pan underneath the broiler until the eggs are just set, a minute or two depending on your broiler. When the top is set, invert the frittata onto a cutting board, cover with the diced avocado, if using, and cut into wedges. Serve.

Serves 4


If you liked this post on mushrooms, check out these other links:

© 2014 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2014 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.


23 Wonderful responses to “It Begins When You Make a Frittata”

  • Dean

    You were on precocious 10 year old.

    What’s wonderful about this basic recipe is how you can adapt it to your whims. I look to see what leftover, partially used veggies are in the fridge, dice them and add to the mix. A bit of extra Parmesan laying around? Grate it and add it to the party. A bit of sausage? Why not? Herbs? Check.

    Frittata is great hot, room temperature like the Spanish eat it, or cold (least favorite, but still good.)

  • Tags

    If this is what they’re doing out in the open, Amazon should consider that this invites scrutiny of what they’re doing with the rest of their iceberg.

  • Jen

    Frittatas are the best! I make them for dinner all the time and they really are so adaptable to whatever you have on hand, provided that includes several eggs (and why wouldn’t you have those?). The leftovers also travel to work with me the next day pretty well for reheating. I can’t say enough good things about them. They’re even super healthy. A great way to pack a whole bunch of veggies into your meal!

  • Glenn

    I remember the first frittata I made about 3 years ago (I’m 61 btw). It was a big hit w/the wife. I came to love cooking late – after my son was already a chef & my wife suffered 3+ years of illness. I became the chief cook by default & w/my son’s help, & ALL of Ruhlman’s books, I can pretty much cook whatever we want to eat. The new EGG book is great!

  • Carolyn Z

    My copy of Egg arrived at last from Jessica’s Biscuit. Are they having the same fight as with amazon?

    The book is substantial, hefty. Congrats!

  • Debby

    Love the post, the recipe and Shmaltz is one of my favorite books…but not seeing any mention of mushrooms in the recipe other than at the coda…

  • Natalie Luffer

    For me eggs ring right up there with chicken soup. for whatever ails you a sunnyside yolk running over a buttered toast making it soft and rich at the same time…a scrambled egg for those with a toothache…even the sick pet gets an egg when feeling blue or recovering from surgery…a light supper with a cup of coffee…what does an egg NOT do? Put an egg on anything and voila it becomes a meal.

  • Dave

    Non-stick pan + the high heat of a broiler? Is that really advisable? I assume old-fashioned non-stick-ish cast iron would work as a reasonable alternative?

    • Chuck McLean


      Hard-anodized non-stick pans are typically oven safe to at least 400 degrees. Even under the broiler, you aren’t gonna’ have a problem for a few minutes.

      I would bet cast iron is gonna’ stick. I’ll have to try it.

      • Howard Bacaaazeo

        I’ve never used anything but cast iron for my frittatas… and in 25 years I’ve never had one stick.

  • Carole

    What makes a frittata a frittata? It just look over done scrambled eggs. How could it possibly taste good cold are at room temperature? Cold scrambled eggs are horrible.

    • Michael Ruhlman

      It’s Italy’s version of the French omelet, where the garnish and egg are mixed together. Yes there is some browning and that has its own flavor. And it’s delicious room temp thanks to the potato and onion. especially good with some avocado on top.

  • Christine

    Michael, I have a similar frittata story. As a pre-teen with only four TV channels, I often watched cooking shows on PBS. Thanks to a TV cook who’s name I’ve long since forgotten, I was introduced to the exotic frittata. Only this one was stacked! Three separate frittatas, each with their own distinct mix of veggies (eggplant/tomato; zucchini/basil; and potato/pimento), were layered with herbed nuefchatel (also exotic!) spread between each. A simple tomato sauce was ladled over the top of the tower. I made it for supper that night for my parents and sister, and some 30-plus years later, I still make it often for my husband, daughter and mom who lives with us.

  • Dustin

    I make 3 egg ‘frittatas’ 2-3 to times a week- I have a fairly unreliable electric stove with tilted burners, so I sauté everything then pour eggs and cheese over the mixture and throw into a 300 degree oven for 12 minutes- slides right out of my little nonstick skillet. Though unsure if I’m making what is technically just an egg bake and not a frittata…is there a set difference between the 2?

  • Brenn

    In my house this would serve 2. But pretty sure my husband could eat the whole thing if allowed to.

  • Betty

    What kind of nonstick pan are you using? I worry about putting them under the broiler because some are not safe for high temps.

    • Dean

      For the minute or 2 that the pan is under the broiler there shouldn’t be a problem because the coating won’t get that hot. However, putting a non-stick pan for a long time in an over over 450 degrees is a definite hazard ( Calphalon and Dupont say 500 but I err on the safe side.). Here’s a link to some safety info from DuPont who creates the chemicals used on most non-stick pans.

  • Rachele

    Just treated myself to a hard copy of your beautiful egg book. It’s eggsactly what I was hoping for. I cracked it open Sunday night and have been devouring it like a novel each evening. I’m eggstremely eggcited to begin cooking and learning. I’ve always been shy about making egg dishes – my past results have been far from stellar – but I think that your book is going to give me the confidence to come out of my shell. I have had so much success learning techniques from your blog and your books, and do not eggspect this eggsperience to be any different! Sorry – apparently I have eggs on the brain thanks to you.

  • Mitch

    Frittata is my go-to meal when there is “nothing” in the house to cook. It becomes a “refrigerator” frittata, using bits and pieces of veggies (you know those onions that are growing stems?) and cheeses that have been lost and almost moldering in the back of the crisper drawers. I like to add the grated cheese on the top just after the surface begins to set. I use 8+ eggs to be sure there is enough left over to have a cold slice or two as a snack the next day.

  • Peter W

    Just ordered my copy through B&N. Amazon can piss off. (I’m surprised you relegated your rant to a parenthetical paragraph. I’d have expected more ire from you on this issue)

  • madonnadelpiatto

    An Italian staple indeed! we have it once a week. I don’t have a broiler in my gas oven so I cook mine covered with a lid and over very slow heat. It puffs up and looks pretty and soft.

  • ilana

    We have chickens, ducks, geese, guineas and turkeys here – ergo, scores of fresh eggs. And sometimes we just can’t keep up. Very much looking forward to adding your book to the shelf right next to the stove, where I know it will opened daily.