Breakfast fit for a cartoon sailor: Spinach and caramelized onion frittata.

December 18, 2006


“He’s strong to the finich cause he eats his spinach…”

If you weren’t brainwashed into eating this perfect vegetable by a husky sailor with a muscle disorder, you’re missing out. Not only is spinach tasty by itself — sauteed with butter and garlic, eaten raw as a salad, or apparently, following Popeye’s example, straight out of a can — it also plays nicely with others. What others? Well, eggs, bacon and carmelized onions, for example.

Well, you might argue, lots of things probably taste good with eggs, bacon and carmelized onions. … Exactly. This recipe can satisfy the spinach lover or the spinach faint of heart. Fluffy eggs surround a mound of dense, green goodness, which is punctuated by sweet carmelized onions and the wonderful maple-salty goodness of bacon. And of course, the cheese — a lovely golden topping to cap off the verdant frittata.

Try it. You know Popeye would eat it — it’s gotta be better than spinach straight from a can; though, we don’t recommend trying to lift a car over your head after eating it. I mean, it won’t make you that strong. (Which is a shame, really.)

Click here to download the recipe for this fritatta.

I think of this dish as an homage to “quiche Lorraine,” that brunch and hors d’oeuvre staple with spinach and ham. Yet, I have to admit that in the morning when I am cooking, dealing with pastry is not my idea of easy living. If you buy pre-made then it’s easy enough, but I don’t usually have it on hand. So I toss the whole idea of the pastry crust and go straight to my favorite egg cooking method—Frittata.

Frittata is simply an Italian style omelets where you add fillings to the egg. It’s cooked on the stove and finished off under the broiler. It’s very easy, and to me it’s so much easier than an a traditional omelet (AKA French style) because I don’t have to worry about folding. I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve said four letter words to myself while I’m trying to fold over an omelet.

While my wife lovingly muses about the featured ingredients in this dish, I want to give a bit of attention to a background player in this dish—nutmeg. To some, it might seem like an odd time to add this spice which is more often associated with baked goods. Yet, it adds a freshness and zest to the dish. While people may not know what the ingredient is, I’m fairly confident they’ll appreciate its presence. I hope you enjoy!


Spinach and Caramelized Onion Frittata

Yield: 4-6 servings
1 lbs frozen spinach *
8 large eggs
1 large onion (sliced)
1 cup grated gruyere
2 slices thick cut bacon
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 Tbsp. butter
olive oil

* This is a something I keep around fairly often. It keeps well for long periods of time and makes this a dish that can be prepped and completed without a run to the store. I don’t see a problem swapping out fresh. I would use about 1 1/2 – 2 cups of chopped as a replacement.

1. Thaw and drain spinach. You are trying to remove the excess moisture from the spinach If you use frozen, you can let it thaw in the microwave and then strain while caramelizing the onions.

2. In a large skillet over medium heat, add 2 Tbsp. butter. Once the butter is melted add the onions and lightly salt. Let cook, while stirring every few minutes until the onions are dark brown (about 30-40 min).

3. In a separate skillet, or after the onions, fry the bacon until crisp. Once cooked, slice it into pieces and set aside.

(NOTE: If you wanted to do this the night before, at this point you can stop and consider this just prep before cooking. Nothing made so far won’t keep.)

4. Preheat your broiler to high.

5. In large pan (oven safe pan) over medium heat, add a small bit of olive oil to barely coat the pan. Once the olive oil shimmers (about 30 seconds), add the drained spinach and cook for about 4-5 min. It should be a deep green.

6. While the spinach is cooking, in a large bowl, add the eggs and lightly beat. Add half of the cheese (1/2 cup), bacon, nutmeg, black pepper, and salt. Stir until integrated.

7. Add to the spinach pan, the caramelized onions and cook for another 1 to 2 min.

8. Add the egg to the pan and stir lightly for about 3 min. Once it begins to firm, add the remainder of the cheese to the top and place under the broiler until the top is golden brown and the cheese is melted. (Approx. 3-5 min, but check often around 2 min).

9. Let cool for 2 to 3 min so the cheese sets. Slice like a pie and serve. Enjoy!


  1. Oh, that looks just lovely!

  2. Yum! I love frittatas and this one looks great. I love the way the sun is bouncing off the spinach in your picture. BTW, I’m still having trouble with the pictures lying over the text.

  3. This looks like a great idea for a holiday brunch. You can do most of the work the night before and spend more time with your guests. As usual, your pictures are beautiful.

  4. Are there any two better friends than spinach and gruyere?

  5. I’m pretty sure you are right Scott. I think there is something to be said about Spinach and Grueyere. Though, I do love me spinach with some feta too.

    As for the photos overlapping, we are working on a solution that I’m going to try with our next post. Hopefully, we will get this sorted our ASAP because we want people to read and cook the recipes!

  6. I normally hate frittata, but I must admit that has swayed me! It looks fantastic- thanks for sharing!

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