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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Novel Food with Italo Calvino: Pear Omelet with Gorgonzola

Of the writers I emulate, Italo Calvino stands at the tippy top. It's actually been this way for a long time, and I'm sure he'd be the first to understand this lapse. And return. 

I've recently picked up Italian Folk Tales, Selected and Retold by Italo Calvino. In that hefty 800 page volume, translated in 1980, many of his tales have themes taken from the world of the peasant. His father was an agronomist and so that is not surprising

Also not surprising is that the beauty of the agricultural world, is where much folklore begins? Take for instance healing power of The Salammana Grapes, in the Apple Girl she hides inside the fruit as she fears being seen, and the wedding banquet with tasteless soup in Dear As Salt.

Who could resist a tale named; The Little Girl Sold With the Pears? 

"She came to a bakery where three women were pulling out their hair to sweep the oven with. Perina gave them three pounds of millet, which they then used to sweep out the oven and allowed the little girl to continue on her way."

He reads like an ancient writer, but Italo was contemporary, who as John Updike said upon Calvino's death;  

“Calvino was a genial as well as brilliant writer. He took fiction into new places where it had never been before, and back into the fabulous and ancient sources of narrative."

Might Italo have enjoyed this Novel Food? I hope you do!

pear omelet with gorgonzola

serves 4

talk about transformation, or maybe its ap”pear”ances?

in any case, i’ve come full circle on this issue of butter. the original recipe called for 3 tablespoons of butter and 1 innocent tablespoon of lard. during another time of my life, i cut the butter to 1 tablespoon and horrors, cooked this in a nonstick pan! now, i recommend you choose your fat. coconut oil, duck fat, bacon fat, olive oil, are all available. but nothing beats butter. unless you consider walnut oil, or possibly pistachio oil.

2 firm but ripe pears, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons sweet butter
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
pinch each fresh grated nutmeg and ground cinnamon
8 eggs, well beaten
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 ounces gorgonzola
garnish, a handful of arugula.

place the butter in a heavy skillet and turn the heat to medium.

add the pears, spices, and zest; cook until the pears are almost soft, about 5 minutes. remove the fruit to a plate.

heat the pan again and pour the egg mixture in the pan over medium heat and cook for 4-5 minutes or until the omelet is browned on the bottom. distribute the pears and the gorgonzola evenly on the surface. cover the pan with a lid and reduce the heat to medium. remove from heat and place on a large pretty plate.

slice into four and serve with arugula.

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