Fernando’s Fritattas by
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When my son Noah was in high school the headmaster announced the school would be participating in an exchange program with 20 students from Spain.  The Spanish kids would come to New York for a month,  and at a later date our students would go to Spain.  Families were asked to host and we volunteered.

Our exchange student,  we were told,  would be Fernando and – like most or all of the Spanish kids who would be coming  – he was Catholic.   Assuming he would want to attend Mass on Sundays,  I asked my Catholic friend Angela if she would take him when she went,  and of course she happily agreed.

There was a trundle bed in Noah’s room where Fernando would sleep,  during the day they would be at school together,  and evenings and weekends I assumed Fernando would be with us.

Fernando arrived with a small suitcase and a big smile,  and he and Noah hit it off immediately.  They spoke English and Spanish together,  seemed to like the same music,  and I soon noticed were both equally messy.

On the first Sunday I asked Fernando if he wanted to go to Mass with Angela’s family,  but he demurred.   And although Fernando never did go to Sunday Mass,  he did join us for Yom Kippur Break Fast.  In fact that night at least a dozen Catholic exchange students were enjoying lox and bagels with their Jewish host families all over Manhattan’s eastside!

And on most weekends as I remember there wasn’t much family time –  Fernando and the other Spanish kids, with many of their new American friends in tow,  were usually shopping or hanging out in Greenwich Village.

But I do remember that Fernando liked to cook.  In fact when he arrived he gifted us with a large, beautifully handpainted ceramic dish that he said was perfect for serving frittata.  And indeed Fernando made us the most delicious frittatas!


2 T olive oil / 1 onion minced / 2 scallions sliced /  6 eggs / 8 oz ricotta cheese / salt,  pepper,  herbs (parsley, dill, mint, basil) / 2 T butter

Heat oil in medium non-stick skillet, add onions & scallions and brown. Remove from skillet and set aside.

In bowl whisk eggs, add ricotta and whisk again.  Add all seasonings and cooked onions & scallions.

Return skillet to heat,  add butter and when melted add egg mixture.

When mixture starts to set,  with spatula ease it away from sides of skillet and cook more but with top of mixture still wet.

Turn off heat and using large plate on top of skillet,  invert frittata onto plate,  then slide back into skillet to cook the top – only 30 seconds.  Then slide out onto a serving plate.  Garnish with more parsley,  cool 5 min,  cut into wedges and serve.  Yummy!

Gracias Fernando!

Dana Susan Lehrman

Profile photo of Dana Susan Lehrman Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!

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Tags: Food, Recipes, Exchange Students


  1. Marian says:

    Dana, yum, makes me ready for a weekend brunch. And I love that the Spanish kids got to experience bagels and lox!

  2. Muy bueno! Just gonna add ricotta to my next shopping list and try the recipe. Gracias. I think it’s wonderful to have personal introductions to cuisines by those who are native to them. Makes them all the more memorable. And that’s how you learn the little tricks that can make all the difference.

  3. Betsy Pfau says:

    Sounds delicious, Dana. Interesting that Fernando never went to Mass, but enjoyed the Break Fast.

    I had never heard of frittatas until visiting a cousin in Palm Desert years ago. She had divorced her husband of many years to marry her (non-Jewish) high school sweetheart (romantic story). They had a few wonderful years together, then he had a devastating stroke. She faithfully cared for him. We visited, found him sitting, mute in a chair, as she prepared a frittata for their dinner. I watched as she chopped vegetables (I think she also used peppers in hers), whisked the eggs, cheese, etc, just as you described, heated it in a skillet and carefully fed it to her husband. It was an act of devotion. So your story reminds me of that long-ago visit with my cousin Ruth, now living in a nursing home in Brooklyn, lost to Alzheimer’s.

    • Oh dear Betsy, what a sad tale about your cousin Ruth.

      And yes I foolishly assumed our Catholic exchange student would want to go to church on Sundays, but he and the other kids apparently had other fish to fry on weekends in the Big Apple!

  4. I made my first frittata about two weeks ago…it was okay. Like Tom, I’m going to add ricotta cheese to my shopping list and try this recipe, it sounds great! I wonder if I could use a cast iron skillet and just put it in the oven to cook. ¡Gracias, Dee…y Fernando!

  5. Suzy says:

    This is a very fun story, Dana. What a great opportunity to have Fernando staying with you, and then to have Noah go to Spain at a later point. How did Noah like his time in Spain? I have made frittatas for years, but never with ricotta cheese. Will have to try Fernando’s recipe. Thanks!

    • Thanx Suzy!

      Alas Noah and his schoolmates never got to Spain because the Gulf War intervened and the school understandably cancelled the trip, in fact the State Department may have forbidden such student exchanges for a time.

      Needless to say we were all disappointed!

  6. Laurie Levy says:

    That recipe sounds amazing, Dana. I have never been good with egg dishes, but these days we are eating whatever we can get and eggs are plentiful. So I’m printing it out to try it. Thanks!

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