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Smoky frittata, for sharing with friends on a spring weekend morning

October 7, 2011

EDIT: Fine, the weather didn’t oblige in Christchurch, but this would still be good on a rainy day :P

Frittatas can be very hit-and-miss. They’re so easy and versatile, which is great, but sometimes a little extra consideration can separate the average from the really moreish. I recently had some from a friend whose signature potluck dish is a crustless quiche and it has renewed my faith in them! This frittata was originally going to be a use-up-stuff-in-the-fridge affair, but with the addition of a bit of smoked garlic and smoked paprika, it was a breakfast treat without much extra effort.

By the way, for all of you lucky foodies out there with huge whopping 10″ cast iron pans – I envy you. This recipe is for people without cast iron pans or with wee ones (like mine), who can make this in a cake tin or one of those silicone cake thingers.

I use a special smoky spice mix to achieve a smoky flavour without meat, but you could just use smoked salmon, or extra smoked paprika, or chipotle flakes, or bacon (although I’d urge you to get Havoc or Cressy Farm if you can, or whatever your favourite local free range bacon is). If you don’t want mushrooms, cauliflower would still work really nicely, and onion would obviously work in place of the baby leeks. Use whatever potatoes you like – waxy or floury. Any strong cheese will also work for sprinkling on top – you don’t need much, just a touch if you’re going to use it. Instead of cream you can also use sour cream or creme fraiche, ricotta, and some types of cottage cheese (some brands do weird stuff though, so only use cottage cheese if you know it works). Whatever you do, make this someone else in the kitchen – it makes for a really wonderful weekend morning!

Smoky frittata

serves 3-4, in one 8″ cast iron pan (you can use a springform tin or cake tin but make sure it’s leakproof and non-stick and well greased (unless using silicone)! You can also use ceramic quiche thingees but preheat them in your oven so they’re nice and hot when the egg hits the, or butter them up generously!

  • 2 medium/large potatoes, chopped into small/medium cubes (about 2cm) boiled in salted water until a knife slides in easily*
  • 2 baby leeks, or large handful chopped adult leek, or an onion, roughly chopped (dump onion in with mushroom if using)
  • generous handful of brown button or little portobello mushrooms, or cauliflower florets (dump in before mushroom if using), or whatever veg you have that would work well with a smoky flavour (maybe leftover roast veg), halved
  • oil & about 20g of salted butter (or oil) for cooking
  • about 3/4 tsp smoky spice mix: smoked paprika, regular paprika, ground cumin, garlic powder, salt, sugar, red pepper flakes (optional) and pepper (in order of amounts – you want 1/4 as much cumin as regular paprika)
  • smoked paprika for sprinkling**
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional: smoky mustard (I get mine from Grower’s Direct Market), finely grated strong cheese
  • 4 free range, good fresh eggs
  • about 100ml/g cream, creme fraiche, ricotta or sour cream
  • optional: chives for garnish
*I didn’t boil with salt because I use the boiling water on my garden (cooled, obvs), but if you don’t have a garden this will improve the flavour

** Use a good brand! I use La Chinata which is available at Mercato (their website only has prices for the large tins but they are cheapest for this brand in Christchurch I’m fairly certain)

Preheat oven to 200C with a rack arranged at the very top of your oven. Set your potatoes on to boil. Whisk eggs and cream together until uniform with some salt, pepper and mustard if using, and set aside.

Heat your cast iron pan (or a pan that is not non-stick, as you will be using a very high temperature) on high heat, unoiled. Add about a Tablespoon of oil and immediately add the mushrooms. Swirl the pan and toss or stir about with a spatula. Once multiple sides are seared, add the leeks and butter. The leeks should still go a little brown from the remaining heat in places, and should soften and collapse. Turn off heat. If using a cake tin dump the veges in the cake tin, scraping as much stuck-on stuff in, and pop in the oven to heat the pan up.

By now your potatoes should be done (you want them to be hot when you pour the egg over to help cook the eggs without burning the outside of the frittata), drain and sprinkle over the smoky spice mix. If using a cake tin, remove from oven. Dump spiced potatoes over your veges. Sprinkle over a little more salt and stir through – even knock up the corners a bit, which lets the egg flavour really get into the potato. Immediately pour the egg over, top with a small amount of cheese, and put straight into the oven on the top rack. Bake about 10-15 minutes until the whole thing has puffed up and the top is golden in parts. A knife stuck into the centre should also come out clean, and nothing should wobble.

Once cooked, garnish with your herbs, sprinkle with more smoked paprika, and let sit for about five minutes to let the egg calm down a bit and make it easier to serve (will stick less too). Serve in the pan if you like.

PS. I know I come across as obsessed with salt sometimes, but if your frittata is a bit tasteless, a bit of extra salt sprinkled on top will bring it to life. Always use sea salt for finishing touches though – grains of the iodised stuff is awful to get in a patch! It’s easy to undersalt this because the potatoes cut the saltiness a lot.

Currently Clickalicious

Jasmine pandan macarons @ Alanabread

Chia cookies @ Pea Soup Eats

Peanut oat cookies @ Bites and Bliss

Pumpkin & brown butter blondies @ Raspberri Cupcakes

Cherry pistachio goat cheese balls @ 6 Bittersweets

Foodie favourites at the moment

From now on I’ll be sharing a bit more about what’s got me salivating recently, to celebrate some of my favourite local/NZ foodie finds (a bit like “Some of our favourite things” at Lovely Wee Days). It might not be as regular as Currently Clickalicious, but meh. Let me know if you’d prefer separate posts, even if they are sans images (I can’t be bothered photographing while I’m eating out, the lighting is too variable).

NZ wide

Palestinian medjoul dates at Trade Aid – These are admittedly a bit pricey but are soooo amazing! Much more plump and not as dry, with a more caramelly flavour. I was going to make one of the bajillion date-chocolate recipes I’ve got bookmarked but I’ve eaten half the packet since buying them a few hours ago, and don’t know if they’ll last until the end of tomorrow. Woops.


Yummy, healthy & inexpensive eats at Topkapi Turkish Restaurant/Takeaway (who have reopened Moorhouse Ave end of Manchester St). Love the vegetarian range and that it’s also delicious! The meals are really generous (ie. one main will be more than enough) so order with care! If these guys started delivering I would barely cook dinner at home >.<

More regular updates on Facebook

8 Comments leave one →
  1. October 8, 2011 2:02 am

    This looks amazing. My mom and I used to make quiche all the time and finally tried a frittata for Christmas brunch one year. They’re even better! I’m bookmarking this one. :)

    Thank you for linking back to the oatmeal cookies!

  2. October 8, 2011 4:14 am

    I’ve been enjoying frittata’s of late recently, esp, made with home grown potatoes. But i would never have thought about adding smoky flavours, until now. Thank you so much for introducing your recipe to us, as I now something similar will be on my breakfast table soon.

  3. October 8, 2011 6:50 am

    This looks so good, I don’t think I’d share. OK, maybe I’ll share on Facebook, so people can make their own.

  4. October 8, 2011 8:48 am

    I also like a good frittata – and this one looks tasty. I’ve made 3 frittatas so far this year (, but it’s been a few weeks…I might have to make this one soon. :)

  5. October 9, 2011 10:35 am

    Such a great frittata!! I miss my cast iron pans (they’re in storage) but was thinking of making a frittata or quiche this week so will give this a go!

  6. October 10, 2011 2:11 pm

    A delicious sounding frittata..being a fan of smoked paprika just think the smokiness it would be deliver would be fantastic.

  7. October 10, 2011 3:16 pm

    i like your pictures and would like to invite you to share them on

  8. October 10, 2011 3:47 pm

    Mary: Interesting…I love a bit of pastry myself but frittatas are a lot easier.

    Shaheen: Hehe, I add smoky flavours to a lot of things. I figure if potatoes and bacon work together they will definitely work with smoked paprika and other smoky things…

    Stef: Thanks, I love that you have a summery one. To me frittatas are all about using whatever’s tasty and at its peak and chucking it all in :D

    Katherine: Let me know how it goes! I think if you tried preheating a hot ceramic pie plate or something that would work just as well as a cast iron pan, and it’s just as pretty too!

    Mairi: I’ve started putting it in almost everything! Yet I’ve still got heaps…well worth the price, which at first caused a little jaw-dropping

    Foodie: Thanks, although I’m easing off the submissions to new sites as it takes a lot of time and I’m lazy :P If you have an automated system like Knapkins then I’d love to join.

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