Friday, April 16, 2010

Food/Frittata of Onions, Potatoes and Eggs

One of the first challenges Rose Dante, my heroine in Across the Table, faces in the early days of her marriage is cooking. Not learning how—which Rose had absorbed growing up in her mother’s kitchen—but coping with the unfamiliarity of the barely edible on a naval base in the middle of the Caribbean.

The base had a commissary where we could get tins of evaporated milk, peas, potted beef and Spam. But I longed for fresh, so soon after I arrived I walked down to the little village that was halfway up the hill between the base and the harbor. I’d seen chickens pecking around a yard the first day, and vegetables I didn’t recognize growing in a field. I knocked on some doors, talked to the old Mama who had the chickens, and walked away that first day with a basket of greens, some eggs, and a packet of spices—cardamom, cilantro, some dried chili peppers.

They eat spicy in Trinidad. I knew Al was used to Calabrian cooking and that was spicy, so I gave a try with the local things. If I had to open another can of Spam and make it into something recognizable, I thought I would shoot myself. Or we’d both starve.

But fresh eggs I knew what to do with. I had some potatoes and onions and made a nice pan of frittata, with the greens on the side. Al came into the house and smelled the familiar aromas. He ate that night with gratitude and pleasure.

Frittata of Onions, Potatoes and Eggs

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 medium potatoes, cooked and sliced

4 eggs, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Sauté onion in a heavy, ovenproof skillet until translucent.

Add potatoes and brown lightly on both sides.

Blend eggs and parsley and add to skillet.

Cook over low heat until eggs are almost set.

Sprinkle shredded mozzarella on top of eggs.

Place under broiler for a few minutes until eggs are set and cheese has melted and golden in color.

Cut into wedges to serve.

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