food for love: the morning after

breakfast frittata for 2

I can hardly believe that it’s almost Valentines Day again. I can hardly believe that almost 12 months ago to the day I was telling you all about my love of Valentines Day in general and how as a single person I was planning to embrace this feast day of love with an intimate duck dinner for twelve of my fellow single mates.

It was very remiss of me not to let you know that without a doubt it was the best Valentines Day I’d ever had. Yes and I mean ever – it was one of those magical nights when the stars aligned and everyone is in excellent form. One of those nights when you have managed to bring together a bunch of your friends who just seem to click. One of those evenings when all the food comes to life just like you had planned. One of those evenings when – I hate to say it – one of those evenings when love is in the air.

But in spite of that amazingly fun evening, the best thing about Valentine’s Day last year was a simple email. A not-so-anonymous email from a not-so-secret admirer of Irish heritage. And not only that but an email with the message wrapped in a red border. My heart still flutters a little when I think about it.

Needless to say, this Valentine’s Day I’m not planning any big dinners for twelve. This year on Feburary 14th there’s going to be me, an Irishman and plenty of amazing wine and food. But I’m not going to bore you with the details because this year the best thing about Valentine’s Day is going to be waking up after the night before with the one I love.

And even better than that, when you wake up with the one you love who has embraced the omelette pan that you cunningly gave to them for Christmas. And on the menu is a lazy, leisurely Sunday morning – just for two – with a perfectly cooked breakfast frittata highlighted with ricotta and basil. Fresh, simple, delicious and not requiring too much preparation time away from the bedroom… all good things.

breakfast frittata for 2
serves 2

I know I’ve mentioned in these pages that I’m not a fan of the single purpose kitchen utensil, but there has to be an exception for an omelette pan. A pan that can turn out such a tasty, versatile meal-in-a-flash just has to be worth the cupboard space.

If you’re a fan of commercial ‘non-stick’ tefflon numbers by all means go ahead, but I think it’s really worth the effort of investing the time in seasoning a traditionally cast iron pan yourself (see instructions below). You’ll be guaranteed an omelette that comes free quite readily every time without having to worry about where the tefflon has gone when it wears off the base of your pan.

Basil and ricotta is by far our favorite frittata topping at the moment but the sky’s the limit really so feel free to mix things up. A soft goat’s cheese can be lovely but if you’re up for something more hearty some sautéed chorizo and cooked potato chunks could be just the thing.

Pretty much most omelette recipes call for 3 eggs per person and involve making them one at a time which is all very well when you’re having a batchelor(ette) dinner but not so great if you’re cooking for two. I’ve gone for the 5 egg between two option which I think is more than enough in the morning. But if you’re feeling particularly famished after an amorous work-out by all means up your egg count to 6 or more.

5 eggs
pinch salt
1T butter
handful, finely grated parmesan, optional
2T ricotta
6 basil leaves, picked

Lightly whisk eggs and season with salt. Heat your omelette pan over a medium high heat until hot but not smoking. Add butter and allow to melt and sizzle without browning then pour in your eggs. Stir quickly to move the cooked part of the egg away from the heat for a couple of minutes.

When the egg is starting to look mostly cooked, stop stirring and flatten the top with a spoon and keep cooking for another minute or so until there is only a little runny egg remaining on top. Remove from the heat. Scatter over parmesan, if using and then spread teaspoonfuls of ricotta over the top in chunks. Artfully place the basil over and divide between two plates and serve with hot toast, plenty of butter, a nice cup of milky tea and a kiss.

a recipe for pan seasoning
adapted from jared ingersoll’s danks street depot

Firstly choose your omelette pan. For Christmas I gave my favourite Irishman a cast iron solid number with an oven proof handle approx 20cm (8in) diameter.

Preheat oven on its highest setting. Rub your pan with a little peanut or vegetable oil and sprinkle with a fine layer of table salt. Place the pan in the oven (unless it doesn’t have an oven proof handle, in which case you can season on the stove top). Bake for 40mins (it feels a bit weird to be talking about baking an omelette pan…. but I hope you get the drift). Allow to cool slightly then brush off the salt using a thick cloth and being careful not to burn yourself.

Return to the oven for another 15mins then brush lightly with clean oil. Your pan is now seasoned, let the omelette / frittata making begin.

Your first omelette will probably stick just as ours did but rest assured that after that there’ll be no looking back. Unless you have some crazy idea and try an egg white-only omelette in which case I can almost guarantee an omelette-sticking disaster that just doesn’t taste anywhere near as good.

One important note is that you should avoid getting your seasoned pan wet. Jared notes that there’s only been one time when his omelette pans were washed accidentally and he still shudders every time he thinks about it.

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