This is one of the real classics of this region's cuisine (Friuli-Venezia Giulia).You will find it wherever you travel, especially in the springtime when wild herbs sprout in fragrant profusion all over La Terra Fortunata. The key here is to use as large a variety of herbs, grasses and greens as you can locate. It is traditional that there be at least five different types. Among the most famous are silene, hops, melissa, mint, verbena, basil, marjoram, sage, parsley, spinach (just a little), fennel leaves, Swiss chard, zucchini (courgette) flowers, wild fennel, beet greens, chervil, sorrel and celery leaves. This frittata is served piping hot, tepid or cool. As always, it should be covered if allowed to cool and cut into wedges before serving.
Thoroughly butter the bottom and sides of an 8-inch nonstick skillet. If 2 tablespoons are not sufficient, use more butter. Place the pan over low heat; when the butter becomes warm, add chives or onions. Heat gently, just until they give off a little fragrance. Add the herbs and greens and, if necessary, a little more butter. Stir so that all the flavors mingle.
While the greens are heating, beat the eggs, milk, flour, cheese and a little pepper into a large bowl. Add the egg mixture to the greens and stir with a fork, taking care to avoid scraping the fork along the bottom of the pan. While working with the fork in 1 hand, shake the pan continuously to prevent the frittata from sticking.
Once the frittata has a rather firm skin on the bottom, slide it out of the pan and onto a plate. Invert the frittata back into the pan so that the less-cooked side of the frittata is now face-down in the pan. Return to the heat and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, shaking the pan continuously to prevent sticking. The frittata is done when the bottom is firm and light chestnut-brown.
Slide the frittata onto a dish for serving. If you plan to cool the frittata, cover it with a clean cloth or paper towels. Cut into wedges before serving.
To make a baked omelet, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Prepare the greens as above and transfer to a buttered 8-inch baking dish. Beat the eggs, milk, flour, cheese, and pepper in a large bowl and pour over the greens. Bake for 15 minutes, unmold onto a plate, cut into wedges, and serve.
Although usually served plain, you can drape a paper-thin slice of prosciutto di San Daniele over the frittata before serving.
This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional. It has not been tested for home use.
Copyright Fred Plotkin from La Terra Fortunata, Random House 2001