On Sunday my mum and I were looking through cookbooks, searching for something that could inspire us for the weekly recipe dedicated to the Tuscan cuisine, when I saw her eyes live up with joy: she had just found a recipe that she liked, that reminded her of a dish that my grandfather used to make for her and my aunt when they were children. What could have caught her attention, usually not inclined to be fascinated by recipes and well photographed dishes? No dainty, complex and elaborate dishes, made to impress, nothing containing ingredients difficult to find and even to pronounce … it was simply a dish that represents her well: omelette with crumbs.
This omelette is also called poor’s omelette in Siena, because it tries to bring out the best of a few ingredients, so that you can put a cheap but satisfying dinner on the table in five minutes, nothing more, nothing less. As in other dishes typical of the Sienese country – see the pici with crumbs – the hero is that leftover slice of bread that has been there for a while, too stale to be eaten but certainly not too old to be thrown or used to make food for the animals.
What has this to do with Mum? It could seem almost offensive! What I mean is that she is just like today’s recipe: she likes simple things, she’s good, comforting and reassuring as an omelette made with fresh farmer’s egg. Mum making an omelette for dinner is a scene that is often present in my childhood memories: the sound of the beating fork in an clay dish, the deep yellow of the eggs from our hens, the sizzle of olive oil when mom pours beaten eggs into the pan, the frothy and light omelette that slowly looses all its volume in my plate, and then mum’s inevitable and desired caress.
- 4 eggs
- 2 slices of bread at least 1 day old
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Beat the eggs with a pinch of salt and pepper, add milk and a tablespoon of cheese. Meanwhile, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a nonstick pan. When it is hot, crumble with your hands the slices of bread over the olive oil and brown the crumbs, being careful not to burn them. If necessary, add another tablespoon of olive oil, wait until the olive oil is hot again and pour in the beaten egg mixture. Cook until the eggs have set on the bottom, turn it and let the eggs set on the other side as well.
- Serve immediately with a good sprinkle of grated Parmigiano Reggiano.