How to Make Eggs for a Crowd

September 20, 2009


Recently I was reading about how to give credit to a cookbook or magazine when you are writing a post about it.  It seems that if you have made a few changes, you say “Adapted from…”.  If you have made more than 3 changes and they are substantial, you say “Inspired by…”.  Any more than that and you can call the recipe your own.

I think those “rules” are fair and I adhere to them.  What do you do when you take a recipe that you have made before and completely change it, but you still have to credit the original recipe for giving you an idea in the first place?  I think I’ll call it “With many thanks to…”

We had some family and some friends over for brunch today.  For me, brunch = potatoes.  If I am going out for brunch I will order an egg dish so I can have potatoes and if I am making brunch at home, I stick with egg dishes so I have an excuse to make a huge pan of roasted potatoes.  My original intention was to make a scrambled egg dish with poblanos and cilantro and served with a warm tomato salsa of sorts.  As our invite list grew longer, I realized I didn’t want to be chained to the stove turning out dishes of scrambled eggs for people.  Enter the grits frittata.

I know, grits frittata?  That is what I mean when I say I have to give credit to the original recipe for the idea because I would certainly never think of putting the two together.  But long ago, I made this grits frittata and it was insanely good.  It also fed a lot of people (I made a special note in my book saying so).  A dish like this is so company friendly because you assemble it and then it bakes in the oven with no more effort needed from you.  You can also roast those beloved potatoes in the oven while the frittata cooks.

Because I already had poblano chiles, cilantro, and cotija on hand from my previous recipe idea, I decided to change the recipe up quite a bit.  I put it in a larger pan, added more eggs, used breadcrumbs instead of Parmesan cheese to line the springform pan.  In short, I made it my own.  I paired it with a warm sauce which just put the whole thing over the edge.  Grits purists may scoff and frittata purists may scoff, but that’s fine.  More for me.

One Year Ago:  What do you know?  Another frittata!  Frittata with Cheese, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Basil

Grits Frittata
With many thanks to Food and Wine
Serves 8-10

This frittata bakes for a long time in the oven so be sure to plan accordingly.

3 tbsp. butter, divided
1 bunch scallions, sliced
2 large poblano chiles, stems, seeds and membranes removed, diced
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 large bunch spinach, washed well and spun dry, leaves torn into 2 inch pieces
1 small bunch cilantro, chopped
1 1/2 cups instant grits
6 cups water
6 eggs, lightly beaten
1 8 oz package Cotija cheese, crumbled (or substitute equal amount of Monterey Jack, grated)
Freshly ground black pepper

Butter a 10 inch springform pan and dust with breadcrumbs so the whole surface has a light coating.  Preheat the oven to 350°F with the rack in the topmost position.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add 2 tablespoons of the butter then add the scallions and poblano chiles.  Sprinkle with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add the ground cumin, stir well, then add the spinach in batches, mixing it in and allowing it to wilt before adding the next bunch.  Reserve 1/4 cup of the cilantro for the tomato sauce, then add the rest to the spinach mixture.  Cook until wilted.  If the mixture is very wet, allow to cook for a few minutes longer to remove most of the moisture.  Set aside.  (This part can be made one day ahead.  Allow to cool to room temperature and then cover and refrigerate.)

Fill a large pot with the 6 cups of water and a large pinch of salt then bring to a boil.  In a slow steady stream, add the grits.  Stir well, turn the heat to medium-low, and cover the pot.  Allow to cook, stirring occasionally for 6-8 minutes.  Pour the grits out into a large bowl and allow them to cool to warm.  Stir in the spinach mixture, all but a small handful of the cheese, the eggs and a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Stir to mix well.

Pour the grits mixture into the prepared springform pan.  Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter and brush over the surface.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and place in the oven.  Bake for an hour and 15 minutes.  If the frittata is still very jiggly in the middle, allow to bake for another 15 minutes.  Add more time as necessary so that it is just slightly jiggly.  Remove the frittata from the oven and allow to sit for 15 minutes.  Carefully remove springform ring.  Cut into slices and serve with the warmed tomato salsa.

Warm Tomato Salsa
Makes enough for Grits Frittata

2 tbsp. butter
1 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 14-ounce cans petite diced tomatoes
1 tsp. chile powder
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onions.  Cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.  Add the chile powder and then the tomatoes with their juices.  Cover and cook for 15 minutes with the heat turned to low.  Add the cilantro and stir well to combine.  (Can be made one day ahead.  Allow to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate.)


  1. I LOVE grits!
    The recipes sound delicious and look beautiful.
    I’m sure your guests were pleased.

    Comment by Nurit - 1 family. friendly. food. — September 20, 2009 @ 11:30 pm

  2. Recipe looks great.

    Thanks for the info about crediting recipes. I often debate whether its adapted or inspired and know I have something to work from.

    Comment by 24carrot — September 21, 2009 @ 2:42 am

  3. I think “with many thanks to…” sounds like you’re crediting them w/ the recipe. “Inspired by…” is more like it. You looked at their recipe and were inspired by what you read to make changes and make it your own. That should do it! Looks great- always need egg dishes for a crowd around here for family events.

    Comment by Lori @ RecipeGirl — September 21, 2009 @ 2:14 pm

  4. I think adapted if you changed just a thing or two like amounts. But if you changed a whole ingredient and it does not look like the original list they you can say inspired by. I know you cannot copyright a list of ingredients, just the instruction text.
    That…is.. a yummy frittata!

    Comment by veron — September 21, 2009 @ 3:48 pm

  5. That looks very, very tasty!

    I add a credit and link to the recipe if I use it straight off the page and will also do this if I change the recipe from metric, into cups and then myself and the reader have the option of both. If I look at a lot of recipes and grab a bit from here and there and add my own twist, then I don’t credit the recipe. It would be a long list.

    Comment by Jacqueline — September 21, 2009 @ 5:00 pm

  6. Yummie, your frittata looks delicious with grits…I usually get ideas from different recipes and come up with lots of mix and match since most time I have to cook with what I have in my fridge :-)

    Comment by Juliana — September 21, 2009 @ 10:03 pm

  7. My sister and I constantly debate about the whole giving-credit-to-an-original-recipe thing. I actually didn’t know about the adapted from/inspired by difference. I always use the former unless I’ve changed it loads (then I just claim it as my own), but now I see that the latter is more applicable in many cases. Very interesting!

    Oh, and this looks wonderful! I don’t often have to feed a crowd, but I’m bookmarking this should the occasion arise!

    Comment by Ele — September 22, 2009 @ 3:51 pm

  8. I’ve made grits souffles, so I certainly won’t scoff at a grits frittata! Looks fantastic with the salsa.

    Comment by lisaiscooking — September 22, 2009 @ 7:49 pm

  9. I’ve never had grits before but this dish looks really good.

    Comment by Hélène — September 22, 2009 @ 11:23 pm

  10. What a great idea! I love that it works well for company; I am marking this one down for the next brunch I host. Thanks!

    Comment by tiffany @ the garden apartment — September 24, 2009 @ 3:33 am

  11. I’m not scoffing, this looks and sounds really tasty and like a great brunch treat. You have fortunate guests.

    Comment by Bordeaux — September 24, 2009 @ 1:33 pm

  12. I don’t know if I’ve ever eaten grits or noticed them in the grocery store hmm. Regardless, this looks amazing. I love that it’s so easy and great for company. I didn’t realize there were official rules for citing sources for recipes, though I seem to be adhering to them anyway.

    Comment by Ashley — September 24, 2009 @ 2:29 pm

  13. I’ve been doing a similar thing as far as crediting. Adapted from, if I make changes (which I can’t help it, but always do!) and Inspired by if it their idea. I like the idea of a 3rd title though!

    Comment by fresh365 — September 30, 2009 @ 7:36 pm

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