Tortang talong or eggplant omelet (or frittata, if you prefer to cook it a bit differently), is one of those Filipino classics that is considered by many to be the ultimate comfort food. It’s easy to prepare, it’s inexpensive, and cooking it doesn’t require any special tools and equipment. The traditional tortang talong is either meatless or contains ground pork but I’ve gone beyond the traditional in so many ways. I’ve cooked tortang along with a pig’s brain filling and and even with a sisig filling, and I’ve even tried baking it for a less oily result. Earlier this week, I found another great way to cook tortang talong with flaked crab meat.
You can buy live crabs, steam, broil or grill them then crack the shells and pick and flake the meat. Or you can buy prepared crab meat. Note that commercially available frozen crab meat comes in different textures and qualities. I prefer the chilled kind sold in the fresh seafood section of supermarkets hand-flaked right in the supermarket rather than in some faraway factory. SM Hypermarket (beside Tiendesitas) sells this kind of crab meat.
They come in pre-weighed trays, the meat is flaked rather than shredded so that the pieces are large enough to give a real crab texture to the cooked dish. Heat the cooking oil in a frying pan (this isn’t deep frying so you don’t need too much oil) and slide an eggplant into the pan. Cook over medium-high heat just until the bottom is firm enough to lift. You can do this by lifting a portion with a spatula. If it feels firm enough, flip over to cook the top side. Repeat for the other eggplant.
Italian Sausage and Bacon Frittata
By necessity, because I’m catching up with work after last week’s out-of-town trip, lunch today was simple. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t turn it into a learning experience. I’m very much into Italian cooking and I’m learning Italian ingredients and cooking techniques. I do want to be able to go beyond the pasta and pizza stage, after all. After deciding to cook a frittata for lunch, I figured I’d use Italian ingredients.
Into the frittata went Italian sausages, belly bacon, skinned tomatoes, baby asparagus, and eggs. Because the sausages and bacon were already highly seasoned, I only used a little salt and pepper to balance everything. I served the frittata with lightly toasted focaccia. Needless to say, I was able to meet my deadlines without feeling I was about to faint from exhaustion after cooking lunch. Because the frittata was so easy to prepare, I had time to bake a carrot cake with pili nuts afterward.
Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan. Over low heat, cook the chopped onion until soft. Add the bacon and sausages, turn up the heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring, until lightly browned. Add the tomatoes and asparagus. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for about a minute. Pour in the beaten eggs. Turn down the heat to low, cover, and cook slowly until the eggs are firm along the edges. Sprinkle the sliced basil leaves on top and continue cooking until the eggs are fully set.