Peasant dishes are easily recognizable: poor ingredients, seasonal products, simple cooking, imagination and creativity. Today’s recipe, a Tuscan omelet stewed in tomato sauce known as frittata trippata, is one of those peasant dishes, as it is made with two common ingredients which are the cornerstones of this approach to food: eggs and tomatoes.
Eggs used to give the needed proteins and fats to face a hard working day, but instead of being served as a simple omelet or as a fried egg, they resemble another typical Tuscan dish, trippa alla fiorentina. If you happened to visit Florence you might have spotted this poor dish in many stained menus of trattorias and restaurants. If you had the gut to order it, you have probably been served a hearty bowl of tripe stewed in tomato sauce, which is one of the most representative dishes of Florence and its undisputed love for offal.
Fresh basil or seasonal herbs and a generous dusting of grated Parmesan cheese are mandatory, as a basket of fresh bread to make the scarpetta.
Frittate, omelets, are a staple dish in the Tuscan countryside, as every household used to raise chicken in the backyard: this meant fresh eggs, a good broth in the cold days and once in a while a Sunday roast with potatoes or a stuffed chicken for Christmas. Thus the variety of frittate is almost countless, and depends highly on the season: a few artichokes previously floured and fried as in my great-grandmother frittata or a foraged herb omelet for the tender spring days, green tomatoes in summer and squash for the colder months. In Siena a typical frittata is made with breadcrumbs, another creative recipe to use leftovers, while in Viareggio is made with clams.
When searching for another recipe for our videos, we opted for frittata trippata, whose recipe is also in my book, Cucina da chef con ingredienti low cost. Tommaso was comfortably filming behind the camera, I kept my fingers crossed all the time when it came to flip the frittata, but I made it with the little help of a lid!
- 6 eggs
- 50 ml of milk
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 750 ml of tomato purée
- 1 clove of garlic
- Black pepper
- Fresh basil
Whisk the eggs with a pinch of salt and black pepper, then add the milk and beat until the milk is incorporated. Warm a few tablespoons of olive oil in the bottom of a pan, when hot pour the beaten eggs and let them thicken on one side.
When one side is golden flip the omelet with the help of a plate or a lid and let it thicken on the other side until golden, then slide it on a cutting board, roll it on itself and cut into 1 cm wide strips.
In the same pan in which you cooked the omelet pour a few tablespoons of olive oil and a clove of garlic. Warm the olive oil until the garlic is fragrant and golden.
Pour in the tomato sauce and simmer for about 10 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper.
Now add the omelet strips, stir gently to coat the frittata with the tomato sauce and simmer for a few minutes.
Serve immediately some fresh basil or add also a generous sprinkle of grated parmigiano.
A similar dish
We have lost the habit of stewing potatoes with tomato sauce. Rosemary roasted potatoes scream Sunday lunch, hand cut wedges of fried potatoes dipped in a silky mayonnaise are a guilty pleasure to indulge into during hard days or dinners at the pub with friends, boiled potatoes solve many weeknight dinners, served with some tuna, an egg or a handful of black and green olives. Mashed potatoes are a comfort food on themselves, as reassuring as a mother’s hug.
Potatoes stewed in a rich tomato sauce have fallen woefully out of date. This is a peasant dish proudly showing off those strong flavours of a cuisine without frills: garlic and onion are sautéed with a tablespoon of olive oil. Then you add in your pan the neatly diced potatoes and stir with a wooden spoon on low heat to combine all the flavours, then pour into a few glasses of tomato purée and simmer gently until the potatoes are soft. Serve with chopped parsley and some ground black pepper.