Roman Egg & Nut Frittata

This recipe is from Apicius’ De Re Coquinaria is called “Patina Versatilis”. I came across a video by Historical Italian Cooking that shows the whole process. Like with many other recipes from this era, no particular measurements are given. The suggestion to use volumes “to suit your taste” isn’t particularly helpful if you’ve never cooked a dish before. I used a big handful of walnuts and a handful of pine nuts (I actually used hazel nuts instead of pine nuts), about 1/3 cup of milk, a small spoonful of honey, a splash of fish sauce and half a teaspoon of peppercorns. I also added a pinch of salt. It came out well.


  • 5 eggs
  • Olive oil
  • Milk
  • Honey
  • Garum, fish sauce, salt or MSG
  • Walnuts
  • Pine nuts
  • Black pepper


Heat a dry pan and roast the walnuts. Add the walnuts, pine nuts and a few peppercorns to a mortar or food processor. Grind until fairly fine.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, oil, garum and honey. Add the pounded nuts and pepper. Mix everything together.

Add oil to a pan on low heat, add the egg mixture and cook until done. Cooking slowly preserves some of the lighter colours. Serve upside down.