Frittata State of Mind

Clear Your Mind and the Rest Will Follow

What do the following foods have in common: two roast chicken legs wrapped in foil, a half-eaten takeout container of brown rice, a partial bag of arugula that’s seen better days, and an onion sprouting a green stem?

First, they all happened to be in my fridge the evening that I set out to write this article—glaring reminders of meals eaten and grocery lists shopped.

Second, when quickly prepped and combined with a few eggs and a splash of milk, they form the foundation of what I refer to as my “Spring Cleaning” recipe. Shredded, chopped, sautéed, and seasoned, this random assortment of misfits makes the ideal filling for the humble frittata. In fact, in the canon of egg preparations (of which there are many), the frittata may just be the perfect, most accommodating dish ever, especially when it comes to cleaning out your fridge. Think of a frittata as a state of mind—more culinary improv than a recipe, per se. Trust me, I’ve yet to find an ingredient combo that doesn’t work. Even better, it’s fast and satisfying and requires practically no planning.

So, whether on the breakfast, lunch, or dinner table with some good bread and a little cheese, let this Spring Cleaning Frittata become your secret culinary weapon, no matter what season. Leftovers and left-behinds never tasted so good.

Spring Cleaning Frittata


6 eggs
1 cup milk
Salt and pepper
¼ cup olive oil
4 cups of filling of your choice (shredded chicken, wilted greens, onions, potatoes, cheese ends, etc…)
½ cup diced or grated cheese


Preheat oven to 325°F. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk, and season with salt and pepper. In a 10- to 12-inch nonstick ovenproof skillet set over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the fillings, starting with the hardest ones or those that need the longest cooking time. Sauté these in the oil until tender, adding additional items along the way. When all are cooked, pour the egg mixture over them, making sure to cover all the fillings. Cook on the stove top for 2 minutes, stirring gently. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for another 15 minutes, or until the frittata feels firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes. Serve directly from the pan or slide out onto a cutting board and cut into portions. Serves 8.

Adam Kaye is the co-founder and chief culinary director of The Spare Food Co. and former culinary director of Blue Hill at Stone Barns.