So, I know there’s usually a fairly lengthy preamble before the recipes that I put on this page. You know, some cutesy observation about life, our place in the world blah blah wank wank – then all tied back to stuffing our faces in the metaphoric equivalent of someone pulling your pants down in a public place and then running away laughing.
Not this time. This time, it’s just about breakfast. Plain and simple. Eggs, coffee, the swish of newspaper and (mostly) self-indulgent conversations about shared scraps of life.
In this light, it might even appear that breakfast’s most important job is actually just to be there, while people emerge from the dark of sleep and rediscover themselves for a bit. And sometimes, in the case of the severely hungover (which is most of us), be gently greasy enough to convince us that just ending it all should only really be Plan B.
Of course its not really. Breakfast needs to be your first deep breath of fresh air – and there are times when that’s really worth putting a smidge of effort into, because that first breath is really going to be the foundation for everything that comes after it. I guess I’m trying to fluff its status as some sort of strange cleansing ritual that (at its best) points us in the right direction, winds us up, slaps us on the ass and whispers throatily in our ear, “Go get ’em tiger.”
I think it all ties back to a quote that I heard the other day, which I thought was brilliant. So much so, that I completely changed it and then cannibalized for my own purposes, like some literary homeless person turning a plastic bag into a hat. And here it is:
Those who know only food, don’t actually know food*.
The people whose cooking has always inspired me the most, those who make me just want to throw it all away and spend the rest of my days over a skillet – know exactly what cooking is for. It’s the fucking coat-hook upon which we either hang the most meaningful bits of our existence, or over which we dissect those experiences later on – and in so doing, hopefully get to really touch all the important pieces that make us us, both alone and together. And so the best cooking – wherever it comes from – always seems to be put together by people who themselves have that shit crackling through their veins – who’ve seen things and done them and had their shoes stolen on a beach in Mexico.
Oh balls, I think I’ve totally just gone and done it again.
This really was just meant to be about eggs.
* The original quote was about cricket, which is probably not as interesting for the people who like reading this page.
Frittata (for 4)
This really is just an omelette really, with one major difference – which is that it’s finished off by being baked in the oven. The result is a slightly lighter, fluffier and yet somehow (and paradoxically) more solid version of an omelette. And, like an omelette – completely versatile and adaptable to what you have in the house.
a splash of milk
Whatever veggies/bacon/herbs/cheese you have lying around the house.
What to do
Crack the eggs into a bowl, add a splash of milk and whisk it all together until completely blended and foaming ever-so-slightly.
Heat a pan on the stove with a bit of olive oil and then add whatever herbs/bacon/veggies you happen to be using. This particular morning it was scraps of smoked bacon, chopped tomato, half a red onion and a couple of healthy pinches of fresh thyme. Fry that all up until it’s starting to soften and combine – literally only about three or four minutes or so. Then get it out the pan and set aside.
At this point, pre-heat your oven to about 200 degrees celsius.
Wipe the pan clean with a paper towel and return to the stove. Add a good lug of olive oil (about 2 table-spoons or so), then add your whisked eggs. What you’ll see is that all the olive oil actually rises to sit on top of the eggs – and it actually looks a bit gross. But this is the key, because when it’s baking that olive oil will help crisp and brown the top of your frittata.
As soon as the eggs have started to stiffen slightly, add your veggie mix evenly over the top, and if you’ve got some leftover herbage, sprinkle that over the top as well with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Right, now whack the whole thing in the oven, pan and all, and let it bake for about 5-7 minutes, or until it looks nicely golden brown on the top.
Make sure you’ve got oven gloves for when you remove the pan, grate some cheese over the top and serve it in the pan at the table with crusty bread, lots of coffee and self-indulgent conversation about yourself.