Reality check. I sat in front of this computer screen for about 2 1/2 hours trying to come up with the perfect column. No, it’s not writer’s block (I actually call that “brain freeze”), but basic confusion. We have a perfect storm of eating events – Fat Tuesday, Valentine’s Day, Lent, President’s Day, cold weather. Can I cover them all with one recipe? What could it be? Red beans and rice with a chocolate mole (whoops! violates Lent except on Sundays) and a cherry garnish could fit all these days, but sounds awful.
Until … Light bulb, please, eggs dawned on me. In a column many years ago around Valentine’s Day, I suggested that every man should know how to cook an omelet and scramble eggs extremely well, until they are fluffy and creamy and decadent on the tongue. It can be done with a flourish, and is very impressive when done right and you never know when it might come in very handy.
I got loads of emails from moms of young men mainly saluting my effort. Guys, it really does make a difference with the opposite sex if at least it appears that you know your way around the kitchen. And if you cook them something great, well, who knows?
So I guess this is eggs part two. A frittata, an Italian egg dish, is nothing more than an open-face omelet. Just about anything can go in a frittata, so use the recipe below.
Method is important here, so read the instructions once or twice beforee starting, especially the turning action.
So why should you use this frittata? It’s a wonderful first meal of Lent, just after midnight on Fat Tuesday, ends a party nicely and helps with the alcohol absorption, too. For Valentine’s Day, the egg is a symbol of love and believed to be an aphrodisiac, as is lobster. Mainly it’s a quick and simple Valentine’s Day meal, allowing time for other pleasures.
The cherry compote on the side is a wave to our presidents.
So there, I covered all the bases with a dish that’s awesome to see and just really dances on the tongue. Happy, eh, oh, whatever.
Fred Thompson is author of “Fred Thompson’s Southern Sides” and publisher of Edible Piedmont. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For a printable copy of the recipe, click the link:
HEAT 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick 10-inch skillet, placed over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, oregano, half the salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are very tender and have browned.
ADD the vinegar and 1 tablespoon of water to the pan, stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits. Reduce the liquid, coating the onions. This recipe can be prepared one day ahead up to this point. Cool, cover and refrigerate if doing so.
BEAT the eggs vigorously, combining the yolks and whites, until frothy. Stir in the lobster, cheese and parsley.
REHEAT the onions in a non-stick 10-inch pan if made the day before, otherwise pour the egg mixture over the onions, stir a bit to combine, and pump your heat up to high. This is not the time to walk away.
USE a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to stir the eggs by pushing the eggs toward the center of the pan and letting the uncooked eggs run into that place abandoned by the cooked. You will be making small egg curds. Continue this until the eggs are partially set, but still soft and a bit runny on the top.
SLIDE the eggs onto a large dinner plate. Cover with another plate and invert. Slide the frittata back into the skillet and cook for 2 minutes longer to brown. Slide the frittata back on to a large dinner plate, slice and serve hot or at room temperature, with some sour cherry compote alongside. Yield:
2 servings, but easily doubles to go from 4-6
SERVE WITH: Oysters to start, a simple green salad, peasant bread, and of course, something chocolate. Check out our local chocolate makers and pick up some exotic truffles.
TO DRINK: A sparkling wine is always appropriate and makes this seemingly simple meal special.