On Sunday my mum and I were looking through cookbooks, searching for something that could inspire us for the weekly recipe dedicated to 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: an omelette with fried breadcrumbs.
Omelette with fried breadcrumbs
This omelette is also known as poor man’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 fried breadcrumbs – the hero is that leftover slice of bread that has been there for a while, too stale to be eaten but certainly something you would not throw away.
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 eggs. Mum making an omelette for dinner is a scene that is often present in my childhood memories: the sound of the beating fork in a clay dish, the deep yellow of the eggs from our hens, the sizzle of olive oil when mom pours the beaten eggs into the pan, the frothy and light omelette that slowly loses all its volume in my plate, and then mum’s inevitable hug.
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- 4 eggs
- 2 slices day-old bread
- 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 thickened on the bottom, turn the omelette and let the eggs set on the other side as well.
- Serve immediately with a good sprinkle of grated Parmigiano Reggiano.