Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Old-School Dinners!

Frittata al Forno con Cicoria, Cipolla, Salsiccia Piccante & Pomodorini
Baked Chicory, Onion, Spicy Sausage & Cherry Tomato Frittata

It was time to use up the rest of that tender, yet mildly bitter wild chicory this evening... And as you can see, I clearly intended to use it well!

This is a little new-school, old-school dishes right here. New- school, because I added a little spicy sausage and this and that, which we probably wouldn't have done back in Sicily in the old days... Basically because people were too poor to have anything much else! And yet old-school, because otherwise it is basically simple greens fried-up with egg and a bit of bread-crumbs, to make a modest yet satisfying meal out of the little that you have.

And even if we are not quite as poor as the peasant farmers of yore... It was good enough then and it is still, more than good enough now!

And colorful and beautiful and delicious as my frittata may be, could I please have a round of applause for this beautiful plate? I brought it back from Lecce in Puglia, South Italy last year... And using it this evening... and seeing it in these photos right now is making me feel an aching to return! Ah, the South! Where the simplest of things are the most precious of all!

You can't simpler than this... For 2 good portions, you will need: 2 eggs, 1 small head of wild chicory, 1 onion, 5-6 cherry tomatoes, 1-2 tablespoons of bread-crumbs, a little milk, some spicy Italian cured sausage/ salami and a little salt and pepper.


It's going to take around 45 minutes to make, including the time you need to boil the greens in advance... But it is surely worth it! Traditionally speaking though, a frittata would most commonly be the most popular way to make use of left-over greens from the day before.

You may want to keep that in mind for the future... Because left-overs can always be turned into something wonderful... As you can see right here!


So, begin by rinsing and then boiling the greens for 15 minutes or so, until they are nice and tender. Then, pour off the hot water and rinse under plenty of cold water to immediately cool them down.

Once they are cool enough that you will not burn your sensitive little fingers, wring out all of the excess water they will still be soaked in and then set to one side.

But before you get busy with the rest- make sure to turn in the oven to get it nice and hot and ready!


Next, fry the sliced onion together with some thinly sliced hot and spicy salami... No extra oil or fat of course as the salami has plenty of its own and it is this that is going to infuse the sweet onions with flavor. Fry until transparent and beginning to soften up and set to one side to cool.

Now, simply beat the eggs together with a good glug of milk, a pinch of salt and pepper and a couple of tablespoons of bread-crumbs. These will help to soak-up any remaining, excess moisture and to make the batter more stable when frying/baking.

I chose to use a much smaller pan, so that my frittata would be a little thicker and definitely recommend you do so too... It makes for a much more pleasant result!

Arrange the ingredients in your pan... Lay out the greens first, simply in a spiral and then add the onion on top of them. The reason it is best to do it this way is that you, a.) end up cutting through the stalks as you go when you come to eat it and b.) because this way, it will be more firm and stable once it is done.

Next, add the tomato and salami pieces nicely and evenly all the way around. Take this extra few minutes and you will get a pretty result and also, something that is more pleasant to eat, where you get a perfect mix of all the flavors you have added with every bite... You know it makes sense!


Next, pour the egg/milk/bread-crumb batter over the top, also nicely and evenly, and then pat down with the back of a spoon so that the batter squeezes and fits into event nook and cranny.

Fry on the stovetop for 2-3 minutes until the base is set and then transfer to a hot oven for a further 15-20 minutes or so.

If you do not have a small frying pan with a metal handle, simple cove the handle well in cooking foil, like I do... And you should be just fine!


And isn't that just a beautiful sight? absolutely delicious and appetizing... Even if I DO say so myself! Haha!


There is maybe a conspicuous lack of cheese here, for most people's tastes anyway... But I simply didn't have any suitable cheese in the fridge... And as you know, I am not the greatest fan of melted cheese anyway.

But most importantly... It was just delicious, just the way it was! And if it isn't broken, I don't see why I should try to fix this combination either!

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