Full disclosure: this recipe began as a last-ditch attempt to use all the Swiss chard that arrived in my CSA box this year. I wasn’t sure how much I actually liked Swiss chard, but cooking it with eggs and cheese seemed like a pretty good way to start. Ta-da! It worked! Even aside from the eggs and cheese, I found that I loved the earthy, fresh flavor of the chard. The salty Parmesan (and a little bit of butter) gives the frittata a savory richness without overpowering the chard, and the chard stems slowly sautéed with a thinly sliced onion add a nice subtly sweet note. The result is a dish that tastes both comforting and virtuous – and is totally satisfying for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
This has quickly become a go-to weeknight dinner for me. As someone who has been known to eat scrambled eggs or a bowl of oatmeal for dinner left to her own devices, this is an easy way to elevate a lazy breakfast-for-dinner into something worth making for friends.
Now, a frittata is not hard to make, but it can take a few tries to get it exactly right. I played around with lots of variations- different numbers of eggs, amounts of milk, cooking methods, etc. – to come up with a good, basic frittata recipe. And though you can definitely experiment with the vegetables and cheese you use, I want to share my three most important rules for making a frittata that comes out light, moist, and creamy every time.
First, cook the Swiss chard (or any other vegetable you’re using) until it has released all of its water before adding the eggs, or you will end up with a very sad, watery frittata. Swiss chard, like spinach, will shrink an incredible amount as it cooks. This is a good thing! If it seems like there is a lot of Swiss chard in the pan, you still have a ways to go before you’re ready to add the eggs.
Second, whisk the eggs together very gently. We are going for a soft, creamy texture here. Beating the eggs with a whisk whips air into them, which might seem like it will make the frittata nice and airy. But beware- the eggs will puff up in the oven only to collapse into a dense brick. 😦
Finally, and I can’t stress this enough – take the frittata out of the oven when it is just cooked. The center may be still be a little bit wet, but don’t worry, the frittata will keep cooking as it sits in the pan. I always check it right at 20 minutes, and only if the frittata feels very wet all the way through do I pop it back for a few more minutes. Just remember – if in doubt, take it out!
Swiss Chard & Parmesan Frittata
Ingredients1 small bunch Swiss chard (8 oz.)
1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, cut in half through the stem and thinly sliced
8 large eggs
1/3 cup whole milk
1½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
DirectionsPreheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Rinse the chard under cold running water, and separate the leaves from the center stems. Dice the stems into 1/4 inch pieces and set aside. Roughly chop the leaves and place them in a colander. (Do not pat them dry.)
In a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or ovenproof saute pan, melt the butter over medium-low heat, swirling the pan to coat the bottom and sides. Add the onions, diced chard stems and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tender. (If the onion begins browning, lower the heat.) Add the leaves in two batches and cook for 8-10 minutes, tossing occasionally, until wilted and tender.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, gently whisk together the eggs, milk, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper until just combined. Stir in the Parmesan. Pour the egg mixture into the sauté pan and stir to combine with the chard and onions.
Bake for 20-22 minutes, until the frittata is just set. Place an oven mitt on the handle of the pan (it will be HOT!) and use a paring knife to loosen the edges of the frittata from the sides of the pan. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving, then gently slide a spatula underneath the the edges of the frittata to further separate it from the bottom and sides. Carefully slide the frittata onto a serving platter, or serve directly from the pan.