I put my cold hands in the pocket of my coat and felt a whole in one. How did I do it?
Only after a few moments did I realise that another winter had almost passed – and that I didn’t quite consider buying a new one. I just didn’t notice – I am amazed at how fast life can run here. That pretty Montgomery I bought in Italy before leaving for London had kept me warm for almost three, long winters. Admittedly, it looked a bit beaten up, with balls of fuzz on the side where I always hang my bag – and now, with a whole in the pocket.
I still remember the first winter I wore it, brand new, here in London. It was March, and yet the rain was still chilling the joy out of me. Something happened during that first month that I will never forget – something that felt like the ‘initiation’ of a new life in a foreign place. I was on my way back from the supermarket, bags full of groceries in hand, eyes wide open to catch every single detail of this new world around me. A bus pulled over by the bus stop as I was passing by, and suddenly something hit me like a bullet, coming from one of the windows of the upstairs deck. It was unexpected, and fast. An egg. It was an egg.
It took me a few seconds to realise what it was, and by that time, the bus had already departed. Unable to move, I was invaded by a feeling of heaviness, and defeat. My pretty coat was covered in slimy egg, the yolk leaking down my hands. I was a good twenty-minute walk away from home, it was raining, I couldn’t hold the umbrella, and I didn’t have anything to clean myself from the raw egg. I didn’t know what to do, so I just walked as fast as I could – I was angry, wounded. I had to find a dry cleaner – I thought – and something else to wear while my coat was kept on hold.
I survived. There I was, two years after, wearing that same coat, playing with that whole at the bottom of my pocket, and wandering where these months have gone. The worst part of winter is behind us: a new coat can wait – at least until next year.
Even though the egg accident wasn’t exactly pleasant, it didn’t stop me from eating eggs. Instead, I have been eating them more and more frequently, especially while feeding my post-workout protein cravings. I eat them in a wide variety of forms, but omelette (or frittata) is perhaps my favourite – ‘an almost primitive and elemental meal’, as Elizabeth David called it, who was known for knowing her omelettes. Personally, I like my frittata nicely loaded with vegetables depending on the season and availability, but I often turn to omelette when I lack the time, patience or the appropriate add-ins, That’s when I simply use chopped onions or leeks, and a generous handful of fresh herbs. Parmesan or other type of cheese never goes missing, as it gives an essential flavour boost to the egg-and-vegetable concoction. From here, you can take your omelette (or frittata) to a whole different level by simply making it into a sandwich – and I like mine with a higher omelette-to-bread ratio. In Italy, we sometimes call it ‘panino del muratore’ (builder’s sandwich). The concept is not different from the classic ‘bocadillo de tortilla’ that you might find in various areas of Spain, and in different variations – with chorizo, ham, cheese or even cod! Panino con la frittata (also called ‘pane e frittata’) can have all kinds of fillings, too, depending on the season, and it is especially common in regions such as Abruzzo or Basilicata, where scrupulous mothers would prepare it for merenda, with eggs fresh from the coop and onions from the garden.
- 2 slices of rustic bread of your choice,
- or 1 bread roll
- 2 small knobs of butter or ghee1 small leek or 1/2 white onion
- 2 fresh organic eggs
- 1 handful flat parsley
- Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- Grated Parmesan cheese, to taste
Heat the butter in a small skillet and add the finely chopped onion or leek. Fry until lightly brown and soft, about five minutes.Transfer into a dish and reserve for later.
Using two forks, beat the two eggs with a generous pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper, Parmesan cheese and parsley. Add in the cooked leek and onion.
Using the same small skillet, heat some more butter, and when hot and bubbly, add the egg mixture. Let is set on the bottom, then lift it on one side and fold it over the other.
Let it cook thoroughly on both sides, flipping it with a spatula half way through the cooking. Finish off with more grated Parmesan and freshly chopped parsley.
Let the omelette set and cool slightly on a plate while your toast your bread. Make your sandwich and enjoy with a glass of wine (as E. David suggests).
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