Mini vegan ‘frittata di carciofi’ or artichoke omelette with the delicious fresh sage and black pepper. Accompanied by crisped ‘fagioli’ or white cannellini beans baked in truffle oil and crushed garlic. All served with lashings of fresh lemon juice.
“A Tuscan dish? But we were expecting some Sicilian recipes!” I hear you cry (just play along with me here…) It is true that I promised you all some Sicilian recipes of my own, but I might have became a little sidetracked after having my curiosity about Tuscan cuisine roused.
Simple cooking and flavourful, fresh seasoning forms the basis of the region’s food with its roots firmly in peasant cooking. Free-flowing olive oil, rich truffle, an abundance of beans, garlic and sage; the more I read the more I could already taste the flavours of Tuscany! The artichoke omelette, ‘Frittata di carciofi,’ was one dish that caught my eye, as was the idea of making the most of the area’s love of the humble bean.
This dish is by no means the same as you would find in a Tuscan cookbook. It is very much an interpretation, but the flavours are 100% authentic and I hope enough to pique the taste buds of any Italian mangione.
The vegan omelette mix here can be a little on the tricky side so take great care when turning – wait until the underside has turned golden brown and the edges are cooked through first. This is definitely not a mix for flipping! It’s worth letting the beans crisp a little to add a wonderful contrast of textures. The truffle oil can be substituted for an oil of your choice but it adds a richness to the flavour that I wouldn’t recommend missing out on.
Makes around 12 mini omelettes.
For the omelettes:
1 tin/jar of artichoke hearts, sliced
400g firm tofu
1tbsp milk of your choice (I used soy)
2tsp vegetable bouillon
2 stalks fresh sage, roughly torn; extra to serve
Generous amount of black pepper
Oilve oil, for cooking
For the beans:
1 tin/235g white cannellini beans (drained weight)
2tbsp truffle oil
5 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed with the back of a knife
Juice of one lemon; extra slices to serve
1.Preheat the oven to 180C / gas mark 6. Put the beans, truffle oil and garlic into an oven-proof dish. Mix well to ensure that the beans are fully coated in the oil and the garlic is well distributed.
2. In the meantime, place the block of tofu in a large bowl. Using a spoon, mash well until it is fully crumbled. Add the milk, tahini, cornflour, vegetable bouillon, fresh sage and black pepper to the tofu and mix thoroughly until it forms a batter. Stir in the artichokes.
3. Place the beans in the preheated oven. Bake for 20 minutes until the edges of the beans have become crispy.
4. In a frying pan, heat 2-3tbsp olive oil (depending on the size of the pan) over a medium-high heat. Spoon in the batter to create individual mini omelettes, leaving a little space between each so they don’t run together.
5. Slightly lower the heat and cook for around 7-8 minutes until the edges have cooked through. Carefully turn the omelette and cook for a further 2-3 minutes on the other side. If they are not browning, add a small amount of additional olive oil. Depending on the size of your pan, you will need to cook them in 2-3 batches.
6. Remove the beans from the oven and pour over the lemon juice. Serve atop the omelettes. Garnish with fresh lemon and fresh sage.