Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ham, Bacon, and Cheddar Frittata

Ham, Bacon, And Cheddar Frittata

If your refrigerator is like mine, after a major holiday you have a shelf loaded with bits and pieces of food — all carefully wrapped.  There’s never enough of anything to serve alone, but it’s too good to throw away.

All too often, at least in my kitchen, those little food packages get shoved to the back of the fridge, and then forgotten.  Until I rediscover them a month or two later, by which time they’re inedible (and sometimes unrecognizable).

Recently, my leftovers included 3 slices of deli ham, a modest-size wedge of sharp cheddar cheese, and a nearly empty package of bacon.  What was I going to do with those?

Well, as we discussed yesterday in our master recipe for frittatas, the frittata is the perfect vehicle for turning leftovers into something new for dinner.

Recipe:  Ham, Bacon, and Cheddar Frittata

Before concocting this recipe, I had prepared many frittatas containing either ham or bacon, but had never combined the two meats.  I couldn’t see any reason why they wouldn’t work well together.  I discovered the combination was indeed scrumptious.

Serves 4


  • 2 strips thick cut bacon, sliced into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion cut in half through the poles, then sliced into thin slices (1 cup)
  • 3 thin slices deli sandwich ham (1 ½ oz) cut into ½ inch square pieces
  • 2 – 3 cloves garlic, finely sliced or chopped
  • salt
  • ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 2 tablespoons fresh)
  • 3 oz sharp cheddar cheese diced into ½ inch cubes (about 1 ½ cup)
  • 8 large eggs beaten
  • ¼ cup milk or cream (optional)
  • ¼ cup (1/2 ounce) grated parmesan cheese

Ham, Bacon, And Cheddar Frittata


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Slice bacon into ½ inch bite size pieces.  Place in 10-inch nonstick frying pan, turn heat to medium.
  3. While bacon is cooking, prep your onion, ham, and garlic.
  4. When the bacon pieces are crispy (about 5 minutes) remove from frying pan with slotted spoon and set aside.  Add sliced onion and garlic to the pan, reduce heat to medium-low, and sauté until the onion browns slightly and softens.
  5. Meanwhile, beat eggs, and add milk or cream (if using).  Grate the parmesan cheese and add to egg mixture.  Mix well.
  6. Dice cheddar cheese into ½ inch cubes.  Set aside.
  7. When the onions are almost soft, add ham to frying pan.  Stir well to incorporate, and cook to heat ham (about 30 seconds).
  8. Add bacon pieces, pepper flakes and thyme to the frying pan.  Stir well to incorporate.
  9. Spread cheddar cheese dices evenly across the onion/bacon/ham mixture.  Increase heat to medium.
  10. Immediately (you don’t want to melt the cheese too much) add egg mixture to pan.  Do not stir!   Cook for about a minute (until frittata edges just start to set).
  11. Turn off stove-top and put pan in oven.  Set timer for 9 minutes.
  12. The frittata is done when the eggs are set and puffy.  It probably will not be done at 9 minutes, but it’s good to check.  Usually the frittata takes 10 to 12 minutes in the oven.
  13. To serve, cut the frittata into wedges and remove from the pan.  Or slide (or invert) the frittata onto a plate and then cut into wedges.
Ham, Bacon, And Cheddar Frittata

 Recipe Notes

  • I always use some parmesan in a frittata even when I include another cheese.  I like the sharp, tangy note parmesan brings to the dish.
  • Usually cheese is grated and added to the egg mixture in frittatas.  I always grate the parmesan, but generally dice other cheeses.  That way, the finished frittata will contain molten little chunks of cheese that explode with flavor when you bite into them.  Arranging the cheese cubes across the onion and meat mixture before adding the eggs ensures that the cubes will be evenly distributed.
  • Thyme is my herb of choice.  Feel free to substitute another.

    Last Word on Frittatas - For Now!

    OK, two posts on frittatas in two days is enough.  But the frittata is at least a biweekly staple in the Kitchen Riffs household, so it’s likely to make its appearance again on the blog at some future point.

    One final note:  Leftover frittata makes a great breakfast.  Put a slice on a plate, think about adding salsa (I do), and microwave for 40 – 60 seconds.

    You may also enjoy reading about:

     Red Pepper and Onion Frittata


    ChgoJohn said...

    There was a time when I was doing the cooking for Mom, my Zia, and myself. I'm notoriously bad at figuring out portion size, usually making enough food for an army. This meant leftovers of all kinds in the fridge. At least once a week, I'd clear out the fridge and make a frittata. It was one of the better received meals that I prepared. Your opening photo and paragraphs are very reminiscent of those dinners and have me salivating. :)

    Kitchen Riffs said...

    Hi John,I'm pretty bad at estimating portion sizes myself - plus I like leftovers! So my refrigerator often has all this leftover stuff in it. ;-) Which usually is a good thing. Thanks for the comment.