Spring Bacon, Asparagus, and Red Potato Frittata plus Tips for a Making a Perfect Frittata
The inspiration for this recipe came from a new cast iron skillet I acquired recently that goes from the top of the stove to the oven. I have always wanted to try making a frittata so this seemed to be the perfect time. The appeal of a frittata is you don’t have to make a crust like you do for a quiche, and you can use any kind of leftovers in it so food doesn’t go to waste. However, I learned there are a few tips and tricks to make them come out just right!
I found out the hard way, that if you don’t follow certain guidelines when making a frittata, it will come out tasting and looking like you filled your pan with sponges, poured eggs over the top, and baked them. I have never actually bit into a sponge, but I have a pretty good idea what they taste like now! 🙁 It is not something I ever want to repeat. So with that said, here are some guidelines to follow that help to ensure you end up with a flavorful and custardy frittata.
- Full fat dairy is key to a custardy, smooth texture in a frittata and great flavor. Without the dairy, it’s a little bit like eating a cardboard box versus an actual slice of pizza. The rule of thumb is 1/2 c of full fat dairy to every 12 eggs (1/4 cup for 6 eggs, etc.). I know we want to save calories wherever we can, but this is not the place.
- Do not overcook! This is so important. Take your frittata out of the oven 5 minutes before you think it is done. It will continue to cook in the pan. Overcooking results in sponginess. Yuck! You want your frittata to be smooth and velvety.
- Fully cook most add-ins. They will not cook very much in the oven, and this also helps to rid veggies of excess water which can alter the consistency of your eggs. Especially with very watery vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, squash, or mushrooms, it can become a problem.
You can see from the picture above, the difference in the parts of the frittata that are cooked longer. The bottom and sides that are more done have that spongy texture, and the middle where it isn’t cooked as long has that velvety, custard-like texture. You want to aim for as much of the frittata as you can to be like that middle texture. You can’t help getting some sponginess, but try to get as little as you can.
The great thing about this recipe is it feeds a crowd and would be perfect for a Mother’s Day brunch or wedding or baby shower. The Cream Cheese Filled Banana Bread recipe from last week would be a nice side with a fruit salad. I highly suggest cooking the vegetables, and bacon the day before as it does take quite a bit of time to get them ready. You can cook the frittata ahead of time, and just serve it room temperature or slightly warm in order to not have to worry about it when guests are arriving. The advantage of using a cast iron skillet is it stays warm for quite a while and you can just serve it in the pan if you want to. For a prettier look, I recommend saving some of the vegetables and bacon out and placing on top of the frittata the last 5 or 10 minutes of baking.
I’m excited to try some different frittatas with leftovers in the coming months. I will definitely be adding dairy and monitoring the cooking time carefully, though. No more sponge frittatas for me! I think it scarred me for life. But I have learned so much about cooking eggs in the last couple months that it was worth it. I have learned many ways how not to make a frittata! I hope you learn from my mistakes and never have to experience a sponge frittata. Sponges are definitely better used for cleaning! 🙂
Bacon, Asparagus, and Red Potato Frittata for a Crowd
- 12 oz. thick cut, apple-wood smoked bacon (Trader Joe’s is the best I’ve eaten)
- 1 lb. 8 oz. of small red potatoes, approximately 10
- 1 bunch regular size asparagus spears (not the skinnier ones)
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1/3 c plus 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 24 large eggs
- 1 c half and half
- 1 tsp. salt plus more for seasoning vegetables
- 1/2 tsp. pepper plus more for seasoning vegetables
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- Preferably the day before you want to make the frittata, cook bacon in the oven at 400 degrees on parchment paper for approximately 23 minutes, turning at 8 minutes. See my How to Cook Bacon in the Oven post if needed. Watch carefully at the end as time depends on thickness of bacon and can burn so quickly. When finished cooking, place bacon on paper towel lined plate to cool. When cool, cut or break into 2 inch pieces.
- Wash and cut red potatoes into 1/4 ‘s, or approximately 1 1/2 inch chunks. Place in 9×13-inch pan, and pour 1/3 c olive oil over potatoes. Mix until all potatoes are evenly covered with oil. Place potatoes in a single layer, skin side up and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover tightly with foil, and cook at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Take foil off and cook for 10 more minutes. Remove potatoes from pan with spatula and place on paper towel lined plate to absorb grease. Dab a paper towel on the top of the potatoes to get rid of any excess grease. Set aside to cool.
- Wash and trim the ends off of the asparagus. I like to be pretty heavy-handed with the trimming as the ends can be very tough and stringy. Place asparagus on a cookie sheet with a lip so the grease doesn’t spill in your oven. Pour 1 Tbsp. olive oil over asparagus. Mix to coat asparagus evenly with oil. Place in a single layer in pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for 8 minutes at 400 degrees. Immediately take asparagus off pan and onto a paper towel lined plate to stop cooking. Dab paper towel over the top to absorb grease. Set aside to cool. At this point, if you are doing the veggie prep the day before you are baking the frittata, place the bacon, potatoes, and asparagus into baggies, separately, and place in the refrigerator.
- When ready to assemble the frittata, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a 12-inch cast iron or oven proof skillet, place 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Turn stove to medium low, and place onions in skillet. Saute until soft and tender. Watch carefully so they don’t burn. After onions are done, remove them from the skillet and turn off the burner.
- In a separate bowl, stir the eggs, half and half, cooked onions, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper until thoroughly mixed.
- Turn burner on VERY low, and pour egg mixture into pan. Place pieces of bacon, asparagus, and potato in pan so they are evenly distributed, SAVING SOME FOR GARNISHING THE TOP OF THE FRITTATA LAST 5 TO 10 MINUTES OF COOKING.
- Turn burner off and place skillet in preheated oven.
- Cook for 20 minutes, covered.
- Take cover off of frittata, and add bacon and vegetables saved for garnish. Cook 10 more minutes, uncovered. (If you use a different size pan, adjust cooking time accordingly.) Check for doneness with a knife. It should be almost set, but not quite. It will finish cooking a little bit after you take it out of the oven. Watch carefully at the end and don’t overcook for a creamier texture.
- Let sit for at least 10 to 15 minutes before cutting. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Refrigerate any leftovers.