For years, I've been a cynical anti-Valentine advocate. I posted about my unsympathetic stand towards the lovers' holiday in this post. I still find the commercial exploitation revolting, but this year I decided to wipe away the cynicism and support the Amore occasion with the naïvety of a blushing girl's first crush.
And what better way than with a delicious demonstration of my feelings?
While throngs of lovers exchange sappy cards, gifts and heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, I will break my celebratory embargo with an unconventional savory treat:
Frittata alla Mentuccia - Peppermint Frittata
50 g (1/4 cup) bacon, cut in matchsticks
A bunch of fresh peppermint
1 clove of garlic, minced
Dash of Pecorino cheese, grated
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Soak the peppermint in plenty of water and a fistful of baking soda to eliminate traces of field dirt and unwanted chemicals. Rinse several times and pat dry. Trim away stems and chop finely, to yield about 1/4 cup of minced leaves.
Film a large skillet with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and sauté the bacon with the minced garlic. Remove from the skillet with a slotted spoon and set aside. Leave the bacon drippings in the pan, you'll be cooking the frittata in them. Yes, I know – I'm drooling too.
In a mixing bowl, break the eggs, add a fistful of grated Pecorino, and break the yolks with a fork. Stir, folding in the chopped peppermint and crisp bacon, and mix well. If the eggs are superfresh and thus rich in "gluey" albumen, I usually splash in a drop of milk to dilute the eggy mix. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and let it sit while you put the skillet back on the stove to heat the bacon drippings.
Pour the blend in the skillet and reduce the heat to low. Cook slowly for about 5 minutes, or until you can lift the bottom of the frittata off the the pan with a spatula. If you can flip omelets like a perfect French chef, go ahead. I slide mine from the skillet onto a flat, wide lid; and flipping that over the pan in order to cook the other side, accident-free, for another 2-3 minutes.
Adjust seasoning, slice in large wedges and stuff in warm ciabatta bread. Pack the sandwiches in a picnic hamper, along with a bottle of wine, some aged cheese, juicy pears, and a thermos of piping hot espresso. Take the rest of that day off, folding spacious blanket underarm, ready to go make out in the park with your significant other. And not just because it's Valentine's Day.