This asparagus frittata brings out the best of spring flavors. Thinly sliced potatoes, snappy asparagus, and custardy eggs are all dusted with melty cheese and fresh tarragon for an easy weeknight dinner.
Seeing the first asparagus of the year spread out on the kitchen table is exciting — it feels like the official beginning of spring. There are many recipes to herald the start of the season, including ones that are elegant and complex, as well as time- and labor-intensive. But the week has just begun, so let’s take it easy for now. A frittata, refined with aromatic cheese and tarragon, and crowned with crisp green asparagus, sounds just right. It’s a main dish for two or makes for a nice nibble when you have a few friends over to enjoy a bottle of wine.–Meike Peters
☞ Table of Contents
How do you flip a frittata?
The hardest part of this recipe might be flipping it, especially if you’re using a heavy cast-iron skillet. If sliding it onto a plate and inverting it back into the skillet seems too stressful, you can try conquering it with a spatula and removing sections at a time before flipping. And actually, you don’t truly need to flip it—you can, instead, slide the whole shebang under the broiler to get the top golden brown so long as you’re using an ovenproof skillet.
- 4 to 7 ounces trimmed green asparagus
- 3/4 pound peeled waxy potatoes very thinly sliced (about 1/8- to 1/4-inch | 3- to 6-mm thick), preferably using a mandoline
- Olive oil
- 1 medium (6 oz) onion cut in half and thinly sliced
- 4 large eggs
- Fine sea salt
- Pinch of nutmeg preferably freshly grated
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 ounces aromatic mountain cheese that melts well such as Gruyère, Comté, or Appenzeller, coarsely grated
- 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves
- Set the oven to broil (quicker method) or preheat to 500°F (260°C).
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and blanch the asparagus until just al dente, 45 to 90 seconds, depending on the thickness of the stalks. Drain, rinse quickly with cold water, and pat dry.
- Spread the potatoes in a single layer between 2 layers of paper towels and pat them dry.
- In a heavy, ovenproof 10-inch (25 cm) skillet over medium heat, warm a splash of olive oil (about 1 tablespoon), add the onions, and cook until golden and soft, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Move to a small bowl or plate.
- Add another generous splash of olive oil (1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons) to the skillet. Layer the potatoes in the skillet, spreading them in 1 to 2 even layers.
- Cover the skillet and cook the potatoes over medium heat until golden, about 12 minutes, reducing the heat if the potatoes brown too quickly. Remove from the heat.
- Using a thin metal spatula, loosen the potatoes from the sides and bottom of the skillet. Cover with a large dinner plate or rimless baking sheet, and then carefully and quickly flip the skillet over. Keep the potatoes on the plate or baking sheet while you add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet. Slide the potatoes back into the skillet and return it to medium heat. (*If all this sounds a bit too dramatic, you can also use a spatula to simply lift sections of the potatoes right in the skillet, drizzling a little olive oil into the pan before each flip.)
- Spread the onions on top of the potatoes, cover, and cook for 2 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk the eggs with 1 teaspoon salt, nutmeg, and pepper. Pour the eggs over the onions and potatoes, cover the skillet, and cook for 2 minutes.
- Arrange the asparagus on top of the eggs, cover, and cook until the egg is just set, 2 to 4 minutes.
- Sprinkle with the cheese and slide the uncovered skillet under the broiler, or bake at 500°F (260°C) until the cheese melts, 1 to 3 minutes.
- Sprinkle with tarragon, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Frittatas are a weeknight problem solver. They’re quick and easy, filled with anything green and fresh from the garden, and any bits of spare soft cheese. This asparagus frittata totally hits the mark. Savory potatoes, topped with nutmeg dusted eggs, al dente asparagus and a sprinkle of soft cheese. It should feed 4 people, but it’s so good, it may only serve 2.
This asparagus frittata was challenging on a number of fronts but in the end, it was worth it because the flavors were awesome. Another dish that didn’t last very long, which is always a good sign.
The recipe calls for cooking the potatoes for 12 minutes (or until golden) on medium and that if the potatoes start to brown too quickly, to lower the heat. I lowered the heat anyway because my stove runs hot but I found it awfully difficult to check the bottom of the potatoes. I’m not quite sure what “until golden” means here unless it’s the bottom, but again, that was hard to tell.
The rest of the recipe went swimmingly and everyone loved it, so no harm, no foul. The tarragon on top before serving was a genius move, as well.
I have tried frittatas on a few occasions and haven’t had much luck with them—until I tried this one. The thinly sliced potatoes are what make the difference, I think; they cook quickly and evenly so there isn’t much chance of raw bits in the finished product.
Separately cooking all 3 vegetable components may seem like a lot of unnecessary work but I honestly believe that this is what made the dish a success for me. I was fairly conservative with the nutmeg but next time I would add a little more—maybe an eighth of a teaspoon instead of a trepidatious “pinch”. The tarragon, however, came through and added a distinct flavor.
I used a Gruyère that was devastatingly good on its own and even better melted all over top. This was the most successful frittata that I’ve made to date and will be my preferred one from now on. It was divine.
This asparagus frittata was a pretty great dinner. There are quite a few steps that need to be done to bring it together, so I wouldn’t describe it as quick and easy. But it certainly is simple and straightforward. I loved all of the components. And it didn’t take long to make. The whole thing came together in 45 minutes.
We had it as dinner for two. I’d be tempted to make it again to serve for brunch guests with a salad. I would have preferred if the potatoes, and asparagus had been seasoned along the way. I’ve never had nutmeg in eggs before, and was very pleasantly surprised by its contribution to the flavor.
This asparagus frittata was a great success, but then what could possibly go wrong with a frittata with beautiful asparagus, potatoes, and cheese? Tender, fragrant, and delicious, it made a wonderful summertime dinner with a melon and feta salad on the side.
The recipe did require a bit of improvisation with a couple of steps (read on). I wasn’t able to flip the potatoes as instructed, as they didn’t form one solid crust in the skillet—plus, there were many loose slices as over half of the area had 2 layers of potatoes. Flipping them in sections using a metal spatula not only worked well, but was also simple and stress-free. (I don’t think I would have been able to turn over my heavy cast iron skillet so confidently.)
In order to avoid overcooking my pencil-thin asparagus, I skipped the blanching step altogether. It turned out to be the right call. After 4 minutes on stovetop and 2 minutes under the broiler, the stalks were still bright green and had that perfect crisp snap.
With prep and everything, this takes about 40 minutes to make. There isn’t much hands-off time since there are a lot of moving parts in this asparagus frittata.
First of all, I used very thin asparagus, the thicker stalks we get here in Hawaii tend to be very woody, even higher up on the stems. Using my mandoline on its thinnest setting (1/8″), I prepped the potatoes and onions on the same setting. I used Comté cheese for this version.
Since my asparagus was so thin, I blanched them for 1 minute and then used the ice water to shock and cool them quickly. I also like the brightness this brings out in green vegetables.
For me, a “splash” of olive oil looks to be about 2 tablespoons, enough to cover the bottom of the pan once heated and swirled around. I figured this was the intent of the writer since the next step was to layer the potatoes in the pan, I made sure they were evenly distributed and let them cook. This fed three people, keeping in mind that one of them was a 13 year old boy so it would feed 4 normal eaters.