Friday, 1 February 2013
Omelette with Croutons
Because I live for the evening when I can open a bottle of wine and start to cook dinner, I get through rather a lot of money. Money is in short supply these days and so I’ve economised, sort of, by buying cheaper wine. Some of the basic reds from Mark and
are not that bad when swigged pretty cold and accompanied by hearty winter food,
but tonight, sod it, I’m having something with a bit more character and eating
cheap instead. Before we get onto the topic of food, though, let me counsel
against buying Waitrose own ‘Italian Red: Rich and Intense’, unless you’re
really desperate. ‘Red’ is the only honestly applied adjective on the label.
It tastes like flat Cream Soda. Sparks
These days I need food to be economical, but also colourful, nutritious and above all, not boring. Omelettes are an excellent solution if you want to eat cheaply but not feel short-changed, and the one I’m going to make this evening could hardly be more frugal; you need three eggs, a slice of bread, and a handful of chopped spring onions.
I’m not sure where I found the original recipe: might have been Elizabeth Jane Howard and Fay Maschler. I remember they called for parmesan to be grated over the omelette just before serving. I’ll be skipping that bit. The only parmesan I have easy access to at the moment is that repellent stuff that comes ready-grated, looking like soap powder and making food taste like it’s coming back the other way. I have a horror of it. We often ordered ‘Italian’ take-away for lunch when I worked in
a little drum of this evil stuff would come with each portion of pasta. I always
gave mine to a colleague who actually liked it. Tipping two measures of the vile dandruff over his spaghetti
he’d inhale and pronounce connoisseurially: ‘Ααα, σαν παπούτσι μαραθωνοδρόμου!’ Like
a marathon runner's shoe! The office would reek of pre-bathtime infant and I’d
have to go and eat my lunch in the library. Athens
Well, now that we are thoroughly in the mood, here’s what you do. Cut the bread, wholemeal for preference, into cubes, chop the spring onions, green part included, beat the eggs and add a pinch of salt. Fry the bread in garlicky olive oil until crisp, then drain it on kitchen paper. Add more oil to the pan and chuck in your spring onions, whizzing them briefly around until there’s a nice savoury aroma. Finally, add the beaten egg. Just before the omelette sets, scatter your croutons on top, fold it over and slide it onto your plate. That’s it.
Preceded by a bit of pâté, a few olives, some roasted red peppers dressed with olive oil and basil, and accompanied by a green salad, I think this omelette would be good enough to serve to guests. I wish it had occurred to me to cook it at my mother’s the week after Christmas when everyone was getting fed up of the sight of food.