Monday, August 9, 2010

Frittata all'Artista

I made myself an Italian omelette with fried zucchini for lunch the other day, the way l'Artista taught me, for the first time in ages. I was nineteen when he taught me how to make them, and I thought I'd died and gone to heaven when I first tasted it. He'd make a salad dressed with lemon and olive oil to go with it, and he told me to take simultaneous bites of the omelette and greens so that the taste of the lemon and fried zucchinis mingled. It was the first of many culinary (and life) lessons I received from l'Artista, from how to fry an egg to how best to clean your shower (his technique was to do it while showering). He was the most amazing cook I've ever met, and I would give a lot of money to be able to eat one of his meals.

Later, in college, I tasted my friend the Father of Capitalism's French-style omelettes, and fell in love with them. They are cheesy and buttery and runny and gooey, totally different from l'Artista's omelettes. I got F of C to give me omelette lessons, starting in his mother's apartment overlooking Jeanne-Mance Park in Montreal and continuing several years later in the tiny kitchen of my Brooklyn studio, where I had to crane my neck around the doorway of the kitchen to follow his instructions because we couldn't both stand in the kitchen. He taught me to use a wooden spoon to swirl the egg around a bit so it cooks for the absolute minimum time possible, quite different from the Italian strategy of cooking the hell out of the eggs. I've been making F of C's omelettes ever since and still love them, and gradually stopped making l'Artista's.

L'Artista's are pretty damn good too, though, and they popped into my mind today as I was pondering what to do with the copious zucchinis and lettuce from my farm share. I think of them as more lunch or dinner-appropriate, whereas Father of Capitalism's are clearly a breakfast item. L'Artista would start by thinly slicing a zucchini, then sautee it in olive oil. When it was nice and brown, he'd toss in the eggs thinned with a bit of milk and seasoned with salt and pepper. After they got nice and brown on the bottom, he'd flip the omelette and cook it on the other side. Personally, I think you can never go wrong with cheese, so at this point I threw some grated comte, but that is definitely NOT the Italian way. Finally, he'd serve it with a salad composed only of greens and dressed with salt, olive oil, and lemon.

Yummm. Or, to use one of l'Artista's favorite words, squisita.

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