Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Being Poor and Eating Rich

Uova, Peperonata, Olive & Pomodorini Glassate
Peperonata, Egg, Olives and Caramelized Tomatoes

This evening's supper brought back memories of my childhood, of my mother stretching to make ends meet and to feed me and my 8 siblings... and of just how good such simple fare can taste. There were days when not having meat as a "secondo piatto" and having run out of other alternatives, an egg would have to do and either some tomato sauce to go with it, a few fried olives or some peppers... and hey? That's all good food right? Oh, we would have had a plate of pasta beforehand, but being as I didn't this evening... I decided to have a little of each and to get a little nostalgic- one of my favorite ingredients in any dish I make! Conjuring-up memories is the best spice when it comes to food...

The other good thing about this meal, apart from it being easy to make, economical and just plain delicious... was that it helped to clear out my fridge- something I always try to do before going away away on a trip. So that made it doubly wonderful! And by the way... I shall probably be posting on said trip when I return ;-) if that be allowed! Sorry to be so cryptic! But for now... on with tonight's show!

So let's begin with the peperonata- because that is what I began with this evening! To make it, I used mini bell peppers in red, yellow and orange... the color of the peppers is unimportant- these just happened to be the ones I had at home. I cut them into rings and popped them into a frying pan with a little olive oil. I added half of a red onion in slices and a handful of plucked thyme leaves. I seasoned with salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar, and stir-fried them over a moderate heat until they became soft, but still had a little bite to them. That was it for the peppers- as with all of these things, a few herbs and just a little seasoning brings out the flavors so well! And so on with the next step...

...which was the cherry tomatoes. I cut 5-6 cherry tomatoes in half and placed them face-down in the still hot frying pan, with a little olive oil, a slice or two of garlic, just to perfume the oil and a pinch of sugar. I waited until they began to sizzle, then pressed down gently on them with a wooden spoon so that they hissed as a little of the juice squeezed out- this was what would combine with the sugar and create a light caramel glaze. After just a couple of minutes, I flipped them over and continued frying them from the other side. I seasoned with a little salt, pepper and again a hint of sugar and fried them for a minute or so, but then added just a little splash of water to deglaze the pan and gave the tomatoes a little shake to take up some of the moisture and to soften-down somewhat. I briefly flipped them over one more time before reming them from the pan. Easy... and the cool thing is- that the rest was just as easy to do too!

I had considered frying up all of the vegetables together and cracking the eggs into them to cook- a variation on "uova in purgutorio"; "eggs in purgatory", which is a classic Italian dish of eggs poached in tomato sauce... but opted against that, preferring to keep each flavor distinctive and to retain a little more interesting texture in the dish. It was a good decision ;-)

So instead, I decided to make a simple fried egg, sunny-side-up... and lo and behold, when I cracked it, I found that my egg had 2 yolks! How cool! So I don't need to tell you how to fry an egg I'm sure- although it is worth mentioning maybe that I did use olive oil to fry everything this evening- not a lot! But the flavor should be mediterranean and nothing is better than an olive oil for that.

Whilst the egg was sizzling away, I added a small handful of black olives to the pan- it is amazing what a difference a little heat will make to an olive! Especially if you add dried oregano and vinegar to them- OMG! But that is another story! This evening I just warmed them through whilst the eggs fried and that was just fine... because as soon as they were done- so was the whole meal!

I gave the eggs and peppers a nice sprinkle of parsley as a garnish and the tomatoes some finely chopped basil... a last sprinkle of coarsely ground black pepper and salt- and I was good to go! All I needed was a little crusty bread and I had a poor mans feast on my hands! How wonderful! Because in next to no time I knew I would have it in my tummy! lol! Hope you do too and I hope you all enjoy it!


  1. Two yolks for the price of one, lucky you!

    I have always believed that expense is a poor gauge of what's good to eat. Some of the best eating comes dirt cheap, and this dish is good proof of that!

  2. Thanks Frank- again you show me that we think along the same lines... I like that! :-) Best wishes from Francesco