In Italy, frittatas are typically eaten at the lighter evening meal (lunch is the main meal of the day), but I find they are perfectly appropriate for brunch, picnics, lunch, American-style dinner, or even cut into small bites for hors d'oeuvres. Humble as it may seem, this mixture of eggs, vegetables and cheese puffs up soufflé-style thanks to the addition of the beaten egg whites, to bring a little drama to the table.
Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in the center.2.
Separate 4 of the eggs, placing the yolks in a medium bowl and the whites in a large one.3.
Add the 4 remaining eggs to the yolks and whisk in the cream, Parmigiano, Gruyère, basil and mint.4.
Beat the egg whites with a clean whisk or electric mixer until they form stiff peaks.5.
Fold the egg whites into the egg mixture until there are no streaks.6.
Season with salt and pepper and set aside.7.
Heat the olive oil in a large, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.8.
Add the asparagus and cook about 3 minutes, until they are slightly softened and bright green.9.
Add the tomatoes and cook about 2 minutes more, until they are softened.10.
Pour the egg mixture into the pan and cook, lifting the edges with a spatula to allow the uncooked egg to flow to the bottom of the pan.11.
Cook until the edges of the frittata are firm and the center is still a bit runny, 7-10 minutes, then transfer the pan to the oven and bake about 8 minutes, until set, puffed and golden.12.
Cool slightly, then cut into wedges and garnish each with a few sprigs of basil.