Everyday Celebrations: Asparagus and Basil Frittata

Cover recipe from Everyday Celebrations by Donata Maggipinto, Copyright 2005
Asparagus and Basil Frittata
Celebrations4It may be relevant to note that I picked up this little cookbook in my local grocery store’s bargain bin.  I’m always a little skeptical of things found on clearance… figuring there surely must be something wrong with a product for it to have ended up in such a place, practically begging to be bought.  On the back of the book, the author is described as an Entertaining Expert.  She shares her sensational craft and food recipes for seasonal decorating and heartwarming gatherings in your home.  For $5.99, I was easily sold. 

The cover focuses more on decor than recipes.  There are two small pictures of food on the cover, and the Asparagus & Basil Frittata is one of them.  This crustless, low carb meal appealed to me because of its fresh, healthy ingredients-perfect for lunch.  The photograph in the cookbook displays a frittata that is fairly thick and fluffy.  Mine didn’t turn out like the picture at all.  Although I liked the frittata a lot (especially with a spoonful of sour cream on top), I had some problems with the recipe (see my notes at the end of this post).  One reviewer on Amazon gave this cookbook a scathing review.  I’m not sure it deserves that, though sometimes I do wonder if publishers turn out some of these little cookbooks without paying close enough attention to the content. 
Celebrations1Asparagus and Basil Frittata
Source:  Everyday Celebrations

Ingredients:
8 eggs
3 Tbsp. whole milk
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
1 Tbsp. grated lemon zest
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
12 asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups)

Directions:
1.  Preheat the broiler. 
2.  In a large bowl, beat the eggs, milk, cheese, salt, and pepper together until just blended.  In a small bowl, combine the herbs and lemon zest; set aside.
3.  In a 12-inch ovenproof skillet (or 2 smaller skillets), melt the butter with the olive oil over medium-high heat.  When the butter foams, add the onion and cook until soft, about 3 minutes.  Add the asparagus, spreading evenly to cover the bottom of the skillet.  Pour the eggs over the asparagus, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the eggs are just firm around the edges, 4 to 5 minutes.  Using a spatula, lift the edges and tilt the pan to let the uncooked eggs run underneath.  Cook 2 minutes more, then sprinkle the top with half the herb mixture and place under the broiler.  Cook until the top is set and golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes.
4.  Remove the skillet from the oven and run a knife around the edges of the frittata.  Invert a plate on top of the skillet, and holding the plate and skillet together firmly (with potholders), turn them over, releasing the frittata onto the plate.  Sprinkle with the remaining herb mixture.  Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 6 (as part of a lunch buffet)

Notes from Culinary Covers:
*12 asparagus does not yield anywhere near 3 cups (no matter how large your asparagus are).  Twelve asparagus were just fine for this recipe, but the mention that they should fill 3 cups had me a little frazzled that I didn’t have enough.
*The recipe indicates that a 12-inch pan is appropriate for this frittata.  If a 12-inch pan were used in the recipe testing/food styling, they would not have ended up with a fluffy, thick frittata as pictured.  My frittata (using large eggs) turned out very thin, and if I were serving it to guests as part of a brunch buffet, I’d be embarrassed.  A 10-inch pan should be indicated as the appropriate pan for this recipe.
*The frittata was filled with plenty of herbs, so the addition of even more herbs on top of the frittata was a little bit overkill.  I had quite a bit of the herbs left over.
*With a 12-inch pan, I had difficulty releasing the frittata onto a plate.  It was better to flip onto a cutting board and then use a plate to flip it again (the top was much prettier than the bottom, which was messed up from using the spatula to scrape underneath).
*I’d recommend adding an additional sprinkle of Parmesan on top, along with a drizzle of sour cream.

Did this recipe deserve the cover?  No.  Although it was a delicious frittata, there were too many problems with the recipe as written.  Make the changes indicated in my notes above, and the recipe will be perfect.  If a recipe is chosen for the cover, it really should be able to shine without having to fuss over it.  I practically had to re-write the recipe.

Lori is the founder of RecipeGirl.com. She's a professional recipe developer and food writer, and she's the author of The Recipe Girl Cookbook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: April 2013). Beyond food, Lori enjoys traveling, being outdoors, running, and maybe even singing a little karaoke. The mountains near Lake Tahoe are home for Lori and her husband of 18 years. They have an 12 year-old son who blogs at RecipeBoy.com.

12 Responses to “Everyday Celebrations: Asparagus and Basil Frittata”

  1. 1

    VeggieGirl — November 9, 2009 @ 6:08 am

    So colorful!
    Sorry it wasn’t too worthy though :(

  2. 2

    Maria — November 9, 2009 @ 8:31 am

    Sorry it didn’t deserve the cover. Love your photos!

  3. 3

    Jessica @ How Sweet It Is — November 9, 2009 @ 8:32 am

    The recipe really didn’t even work?! Wow! That is crazy. It does look beautiful, though.

  4. 4

    Jamie — November 9, 2009 @ 11:08 am

    It is interesting to hear that the recipe pictured could not have been made as it was written. I’ve made an asparagus and Roma tomato frittata before, and it was wonderful. Next time I am going to add basil and Parmesan.

    • Lori Lange replied: — November 9th, 2009 @ 1:54 pm

      Jamie- I actually did make it as written, it just didn’t turn out the way it should have.

  5. 5

    Debi(Table Talk) — November 9, 2009 @ 7:28 pm

    You did a great job with your overhead shot to compensate for what you described as a much flatter fritatta. The herbs in the shot are really nice.
    Recipe testing is worth its weight in gold—without it the recipe looses credibility.

  6. 6

    Wendy — November 9, 2009 @ 8:49 pm

    I always like looking at the clearance cookbooks ate Borders or B&N, but never buy because I’m afraid like you. I look to see, if by chance there is a cookbook on my wishlist there.

    Your fritatta looks delicious.

  7. 7

    Louise — November 10, 2009 @ 12:11 am

    Hi Lori, Your adjustments are just perfect. I always use a 10 inch pan and usually 1 cup of vegetable to every two eggs. All the more reason why we need you to set us straight. Thanks for sharing…I absolutely adore, frittata!!!

  8. 8

    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction — November 10, 2009 @ 10:27 pm

    Pretty – I love frittatas… Amazing that it didn’t work as written, though. Whatever happened to recipe testing?

  9. 9

    LilSis — November 11, 2009 @ 9:39 am

    I love a good frittata! But, like you, they aren’t as appealing when they turn out too thin. I love a nice, fat, fluffy frittata. Great notes on the recipe!

  10. 10

    Patti — November 11, 2009 @ 2:47 pm

    I love the idea of this new blog! It’s great to see how things really turn out! Keep up the good work.

  11. 11

    Beanie — December 26, 2009 @ 6:24 pm

    This is very similar to many frittatas I have made in the past. I added some red pepper and didn’t have any fresh parsley, so just omitted that. I also used Pecorino Romano because that’s what I had on hand. The lemon zest adds a nice brightness. I always make sure my onions are caramelized to get that flavor, which I love. I used my Calphalon Everyday pan which I think is 12″. This came out perfect and I would highly recommend this for a brunch or casual dinner…. It’s on my starred list!

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