Frittata Deconstructed


Toby’s son, my young friend Tres, who sometimes eats breakfast here, thought up this dish one morning recently. He is actually a pretty good cook in his own right, and often makes breakfast for us when he is here, though he just described this dish to me, and I cooked it. Gosh, it was good. I love savory breakfasts and I get a kick out of eating vegetables first thing in the day.

Tres didn’t know it, but he basically envisioned a frittata, deconstructed then made like a fried pie or quiche with grated vegetables in place of pie dough. This time of year, I pay a fair amount of attention to the vegetables down cellar. We eat carrots and rutabagas, beets and potatoes in several guises each week, and use onions and garlic nearly every day.

If I was going to make a frittata, I would grate or chop up the vegetables, sauté them in oil until they were tender, then add beaten egg and allow it to cook into a solid mass. But Tres’s idea was a layered dish.

So we grated carrots, rutabagas, and potatoes and added chopped onions for seasoning. We fried them on a griddle in canola oil, and turned them over when brown, pushing the vegetables up the shallow sides of the pan, allowing them to form a solid crust.

Partially cooked root vegetables, spread on the griddle, and pushed up the sides to make a shallow dish shape.

Partially cooked root vegetables, spread on the griddle, and pushed up the sides to make a shallow dish shape.

Then I beat the eggs and poured them in, sprinkled on some cheese, and covered the pan to cook until the eggs set and the cheese melted. We ate ours with sour cream and salsa.


No doubt you could add meat to this—fried and crumbled bacon or sausage, or chopped ham, even add in shredded kale, or spinach, crumbled feta. Think quiche and dump your choice of add-ins into the beaten eggs.

Frittata Deconstructed: Root Vegetables and Eggs
Serves: 4-5
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 piece of rutabaga, same size as the carrot
  • 1 medium potato
  • 1 small onion
  • Vegetable oil
  • 3-4 eggs
  • Optional add-ins (meat, cheese,vegetables)
  • Cheddar cheese, to taste grated,
  1. Grate the carrot, rutabaga, and potato coarsely. Chop the onion finely.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil on a shallow frying pan. When it is hot, add the grated root vegetables and onion and spread over the pan.
  3. Cook at a medium high temperature until they begin to brown.
  4. Turn the vegetables over, and spread them in the pan making a solid layer of them, and pushing them up the sides of the pan.
  5. When they begin to brown on that side, beat the eggs, incorporate the add-in if used, and pour over the top of the root vegetables.
  6. Sprinkle the cheese over the eggs.
  7. Put a lid on the pan, and reduce the heat.
  8. Cook until the eggs are set and the cheese melted.
  9. Cut into wedges to serve, garnish as desired.


Sandy Oliver

About Sandy Oliver

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working Waterfront. Besides freelance food writing, she is a pioneering food historian beginning her work in 1971 at Mystic Seaport Museum, where she developed a fireplace cooking program in an 1830s house. After moving to Maine in 1988, Sandy wrote, Saltwater Foodways: New Englanders and Their Foods at Sea and Ashore in the 19th Century published in 1995. She is the author of The Food of Colonial and Federal America published in fall of 2005, and Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving History and Recipes from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie which she co-authored with Kathleen Curtin. She often speaks to historical organizations and food professional groups around the country, organizes historical dinners, and conducts classes and workshops in food history and in sustainable gardening and cooking. Sandy lives on Islesboro, an island in Penobscot where she gardens, preserves, cooks and teaches sustainable lifeways.