Thursday, December 13, 2012

"Life is Meals" - Frittata (made for 12/12/12!)

Date I made this recipe:  December 12, 2012 (12/12/12)

Life Is Meals – A Food Lover’s Book of Days by James and Kay Salter
Published by:  Alfred A. Knopf
ISBN:  0-307-26496-3
Recipe:  Frittata – p. 427

When I realized that 12/12/12 was fast approaching I thought “Ha! I’ve got this.”  I would just turn to my book, Life is Meals, that is basically a daily calendar of recipes, and I’d be all set - except, of course, I spoke too soon. 

It had been a while since I looked at this book and so I had forgotten that the authors mix prose and recipes and so sure enough, I turned to December 12, anxiously awaiting to set the recipe du jour but instead, the “theme” that day was the book, Madame Bovary.

I know, I know—you are as crushed as I was!  For those of you who are saying “Madame Who?” let me just give you the dime tour:  Madame Bovary is a novel, written by Gustave Flaubert, published on December 12, 1821.  The plot is simple (and oft-told):  Madame Bovary is bored, bored, bored, bored, BORED being a doctor’s wife and so she engages in several affairs and aspires to live beyond her means.  It does NOT end well.  The end.

I have very vague memories of reading this book although I cannot recall having to read it in one of my many, many lit classes that I took while obtaining a degree in English.  (So many books so little time!)  Still, I am placing the last reading of this book around my college days and it seems to me I read it either before another uplifting book, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. If there is one overriding them from that period, it is that women were stressed and repressed.  So there.

At any rate, in their entry on December 12th, the authors of this book talked about one of the banquet scenes from Madame Bovary but sadly, that left me without much guidance, except to say that the character Emma (Bovary) was impressed with onion soup and a piece of veal.  All right then!  (My husband is not too fond of onion soup – I know, right? – so I passed on whipping up a batch of that.)

So given that this was not too much to go on, I cheated (because I can – it’s my blog) and turned to the entry for 12/14 and this one was for a frittata.  Generally, a frittata uses up vegetables and often leftover pasta and cheese and anything else that you have that you want to throw in.  And so – I had leftover eggs, leftover peppers, leftover Parmesan cheese and would have had pasta had I not done something so silly as to put sauce on mine the night before!  And so in mere minutes, I had a delicious dish from December 14th for dinner…on the 12th.

Frittata – served two
1 egg per person or egg substitute plus 1 egg for authenticity (Ann’s Note:  “authenticity?  Is there an egg police waiting around the corner?  Are there frittata rules that I missed???)
Grated Parmegiano-Reggiano cheese to taste
Salt and pepper
Herbs to taste
Olive oil
Filling:  previously cooked pasta, vegetables, seafood, ham or almost any leftover (if using spaghetti as a filling, it should be tossed and coated with butter immediately after draining to keep it from sticking together.)

Beat the eggs in a bowl, add the other ingredients, and combine.  Pour the mixture into a preheated frying pan with the olive oil.  Cook at a very low heat, lifting gently around the edge to allow any uncooked egg to seep underneath.  When firm and golden on the bottom, flip the frittata and cook on the other side to the same golden brownness.  You can, if you prefer, cook the top by putting the pan under the broiler, though not long enough to brown it.  Slice into wedges and serve immediately, or serve later at room temperature.

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