Spinach Frittata with Bacon and Cheddar is an Italian-style flat omelet that’s baked in a skillet. This frittata recipe features spinach, bacon and cheddar cheese. It’s perfect for holiday brunches or other special occasions
Frittata is an egg-based Italian dish similar to an omelette or crustless quiche, enriched with additional ingredients such as meats, cheeses, vegetables or pasta.
The Italian word frittata derives from fritta, the feminine past participle of “to fry” (friggere), and was originally a general term for cooking eggs in a skillet, anywhere on the spectrum from fried egg, through conventional omelette, to an Italian version of the Spanish tortilla de patatas, made with fried potato. Outside Italy, frittata was seen as equivalent to “omelette” until at least the mid-1950s.
In the last fifty years, “frittata” has become a term for a distinct variation that Delia Smith describes as “Italy’s version of an open-face omelette”. When used in this sense there are four key differences from a conventional omelette:
- There is always at least one optional ingredient in a frittata and such ingredients are combined with the beaten egg mixture while the eggs are still raw rather than being laid over the mostly-cooked egg mixture before it is folded, as in a conventional omelette. Eggs for frittata may be beaten vigorously to incorporate more air than traditional savory omelettes, to allow a deeper filling and a fluffier result.
- The mixture is cooked over a very low heat, more slowly than an omelette, for at least 5 minutes, typically 15, until the underside is set but the top is still runny.
- The partly cooked frittata is not folded to enclose its contents, like an omelette, but it is instead either turned over in full, or grilled briefly under an intense salamander to set the top layer, or baked for around five minutes.
- Unlike an omelette, which is generally served whole to a single diner, a frittata is usually divided into slices. It may be served hot or cold, accompanied by fresh salads, bread, beans, olives, etc.
For this frittata recipe we cook everything in a cast-iron skillet because it can be heated on the stovetop and then transferred to the oven where the cooking is finished. But any other large skillet that is safe for both stovetop and oven should be fine.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
- 8 eggs
- ½ cup whole milk
- ½ lb fresh spinach, rinsed, dried and torn into roughly 1-inch pieces
- 8 slices bacon
- ½ large onion, peeled and diced
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Preheat oven to 450°F.
- Cook the bacon in a cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. When bacon is crispy, remove it from the pan, drain on paper towels and set aside. When it’s cool, roughly chop it into ¼ inch pieces — or just crumble it up.
- Reserve about 2 Tbsp of bacon fat, then add diced onion and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes or until it’s slightly translucent.
- Turn off the heat under the pan, then add the spinach pieces and stir with a wooden spoon for a minute until the leaves are fully wilted.
- In a glass mixing bowl, thoroughly beat the eggs until nice and frothy. Add the milk and stir until combined. Season to taste with Kosher salt.
- Pour the egg mixture into the skillet, and sprinkle the bacon pieces in as well. Give everything a stir to distribute the ingredients evenly. This is the last time you’re going to stir, so get it all out of your system now!
- Turn the heat under the skillet back on to about medium and cook for about 5 minutes or until the egg begins to set. No stirring!
- Add the grated cheese, sprinkling it evenly across the top, and then transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until the eggs are fully cooked.
- Makes 4 wedge-shaped portions of frittata.
NOTE: If you don’t have an oven-safe skillet, you can pour the egg mixture into a baking dish and add the cooked onions, spinach and bacon as well as the grated cheese, and just bake the frittata in that dish. If you do it this way, add 5 to 10 minutes to the baking time and check to make sure the egg is fully cooked before serving.