Quick-cooking eggs are an easy choice any time you need a light lunch in a hurry, but not all egg dishes come together quickly. More sophisticated dishes such as frittatas — variously described as baked omelets or crustless quiches — typically contain diced vegetables, sliced meats, shredded cheese or other ingredients that require preparation. For true convenience, one option is wrapping and freezing frittatas to reheat as needed.
A Skillet Full of Variety
A frittata is essentially a deep omelet, a mixture of eggs and other ingredients begun on the stove top and then finished under your oven’s broiler. Frittata is the Italian term for the dish, but other countries such as Spain and Iran have similar dishes that are equally treasured. Any combination of vegetables, herbs, mushrooms and fresh or cured meats can be added to the eggs, as long as their flavors work with one another. The eggs themselves can be enriched with milk, cream, sour cream or plain yogurt, softening the frittata’s texture and adding to its flavor and nutrition.
Freezing Your Frittata
Once your frittata has cooled, you’re ready to prepare it for freezing. It’s important to leave as little air as possible inside the package because over time the eggs and other ingredients can oxidize and develop unpleasant flavors. Vacuum sealers give the best results because they extract most of the air before they seal the bag. You can achieve similar results by carefully wrapping either the whole frittata or individual portions in plastic film wrap, then bagging the wrapped portions in a heavy-duty freezer bag. You can also bake individual mini-frittatas in muffin pans, taking out as many as you need for a given meal. Label and date your frittatas, because they’re best within the first 2 to 3 months.
Reheating Your Frittatas
Don’t thaw them before reheating, which just encourages them to weep moisture. Instead, remove the plastic packaging and re-wrap the frozen portions loosely in aluminum foil. Heat them gently at 325 degrees Fahrenheit in your oven or toaster oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they reach a food safe internal temperature of 165 F. Alternatively, heat them at half-power in your microwave, then let them rest for a few minutes so the heat can equalize throughout the frittata. The reheated eggs will be slightly drier and spongier than a freshly made frittata, but still tasty.
Choosing Your Ingredients
Although your options are wide open when you make a frittata for immediate consumption, freezing makes some choices better than others. High-moisture ingredients such as zucchini and some wet-cured hams release a lot of water when they’re thawed, and can make the frittata unpleasant unless they’re used minimally. Fresh herbs and dry-cured meats are better choices, because they release little moisture. Your eggs will have a better texture after freezing and thawing if you add a bit of acidity in the form of buttermilk, sour cream, yogurt or a few drops of lemon juice.
References and ResourcesOn Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen; Harold McGee
North Dakota State University Extension: Food Freezing Guide
ResourcesAmerican Egg Board: Muffin Frittatas
The Kitchn: Feeding a Crowd -- Frittata Squares
The New York Times: Iranian Herb and Walnut Frittata