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Piscirova ri Spàraci | Asparagus Frittata | Frittata d'Asparagi

A classic springtime frittata of asparagus and scallion.

Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Sicilian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 as a main course
Author Sicily Anywhere

Ingredients

  • 1 pound-ish fresh green asparagus 400-500 grams
  • 3-4 scallions large, or more if smaller
  • 6-8 eggs depending on size and how tall you like your piscirova
  • 1 handful grated pecorino cheese or grana/parmigiano about 30g or 1/3 cup
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt as needed

Instructions

Prepare the vegetables

  1. Wash the asparagus and scallions thoroughly and blot them dry with a clean cloth towel. 

  2. One by one, grab each asparagus stalk in one hand (your left hand if you are right-handed) with the tip pointed away from your other hand. The white, hard, fibrous end should be toward your other hand. Grab the very end of this with the tips of your thumb and index finger and gently bend the end until it breaks off naturally. Hopefully you broke it off right where the asparagus gets tough and fibrous (take a bite - you'll know right away). Vary your technique until you're breaking off just the fibrous bits and keeping every tender inch of asparagus for your dish. 

  3. Inspect the dark green end of the scallion for a point where it becomes dried out and/or fibrous. Cut the green part off at that point and discard. If the outermost layer of the white part is dry and/or damaged, peel off and discard. Cut off the fuzzy bottom end.

  4. Cut the asparagus into 1 centimeter or 1/3 inch pieces, leaving the tips with a good amount of stalk attached. Roughly chop the scallions. 

Make the frittata

  1. Heat a 10"/ 25 cm nonstick or very well-seasoned steel pan over medium heat. Add the oil and the vegetables and a healthy pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the vegetables start to give off steam. Notice the smell of asparagus get markedly stronger as this happens. 

  2. Cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the vegetables are nearly tender, about 15 minutes total. Continue to pay attention to the smell: if the pan dries out too quickly it may start to burn. If needed you can lower the heat a little and add a tablespoon of water to finish cooking the asparagus. 

  3. Meanwhile, break the eggs into a bowl and add the cheese. Using two forks held in one hand, beat the eggs with the cheese until combined. No additional salt is needed. 

  4. Uncover the pan and raise the heat slightly. Allow any remaining liquid to evaporate completely, until the vegetables begin to lightly brown. 

  5. (At this point, many recipes would advise you to let the vegetables cool and then add them to the egg mixture, mixing with the raw egg and then returning the entire mixture to the pan. Some people (myself included) skip this step and proceed directly as follows. I've never noticed any discernible difference.)

  6. Add the eggs to the pan and stir them well, breaking up curds as they form and mixing them thoroughly with the vegetables for a minute or two, until there are set curds throughout the mixture. This step prevents the frittata from being fluffy. 

  7. Lower the heat to medium-low (or low if your stove runs hot) and cover the pan. Leave it to cook undisturbed for 10 minutes, always smelling to make sure everything is ok. Lower the heat if it you detect any burning.

  8. After 10 minutes, uncover the pan. Ideally if you grab the handle and jerk it gently but firmly from side to side the frittata will move independently of the pan. If not, gently shake the pan and nudge the frittata with a wooden spoon until it plays along. 

  9. Now the magic act: Cover the pan with a clean plate face-down. Hold the plate down firmly while grasping the handle of the pan with the other hand. In one quick motion, invert the pan allowing the frittata to drop onto the plate. Gently slide the frittata back into the pan to continue cooking the other side. Cover the pan again and allow it to cook undisturbed for an additional 5-7 minutes.

  10. If the above acrobatics stress you out, you can make the frittata in an ovenproof pan and instead of the previous step, place the pan under a preheated broiler for about two minutes or longer, until the top is cooked and nicely browned. But rest assured it is simper to do than to describe.  

  11. Poke a wooden spoon under the frittata to make sure it's browned nicely and cooked through on the bottom. You can invert it onto a serving plate or simply slide it out sideways, choose the side the looks nicest to face up. 

Recipe Notes

You can serve the frittata hot or lukewarm or room temperature or cold, though not directly from the fridge (give it ten minutes to break the chill of the fridge before serving).

It makes an excellent appetizer by itself or as part of an assortment, or a simple main course with crusty bread and a flavorful salad. Any frittata is good as a sandwich filling or to take on a picnic.