This week, I made one of our favourite easiest, summer lunches while taking a quick break from gardening: a Mint Omelette. I make it often in summer (totally copied from Antoine’s Corsican mum) to help contain our friendly-but-proliferating mint varieties, as it makes a deliciously refreshing dish, served with plenty of fresh, crusty baguette. Well, it’s a change from Mojito Macarons.
As I posted this photo on social media, your reactions were, “What? There’s just mint in it?”
Yes, there is. My mother-in-law always makes it just with mint – but there are two versions to a Corsican Mint Omelette: one is with mint, the other with mint and cheese. However, I didn’t tell you the best part about a Corsican omelette.
Firstly let me tell you, if you’re new here, that my husband is Corsican. He’s from l’Ile de Beauté, the beautiful island that sits southeast of France’s hexagone and above the Italian island of Sardinia. While Corsica has officially been part of France since 1768, its culture is still predominantly Italian.
It’s fascinating listening to my mother-in-law speak the Corsican language with her neighbours, with its Italian and French lilts. To give you an example, bonjour is bonghjornu and au revoir is avvèdeci. Admittedly, I’m too shy to attempt the lingo, as there’s a particular accent that sets the Corsicans apart – you could say it sets their ‘bones apart’ (Sorry, couldn’t resist an awful pun, as Napoleon Bonaparte was born here). My only two words are va bè (ça va), said slowly with a positive shoulder-shrugging gesture that probably says, “I may sound ridiculous but yes, everything is cool here”.
Two-thirds of the island is dramatic mountains with perched hilltop villages, which influences Corsica’s cuisine. Although fresh fish and seafood are popular in the touristy coastal resorts, inland there’s trout from the rivers – always served simply – but good, rustic food from the land features most. Corsicans love their meat (namely lamb, boar and lots of veal: try this Corsican Veal and Peppers recipe here), their own cheeses (notably brocciu – read more here in my recipe post for Fiadone, Corsican Cheesecake), vegetables and wild herbs from the unique maquis, the most unmistakably Corsican fragrance of the surrounding shrublands.
Antoine’s family hilltop village is nearest the mountain town of Corte. Homegrown vegetables and herbs are in nearly all of the villagers’ gardens and, while there are plenty of dishes I could cite here, let’s focus on mint – otherwise I can feel the next book coming on.
It’s a powerful, yet subtle ingredient that’s added to many of the most memorable dishes I’ve had in Corsica, including the traditional Cannelloni au Brocciu. Ever since I tasted the mint coming through the cheese in a restaurant in Rogliano (in Corsica’s top finger) I make a lazy version of it (without stuffing cannelloni tubes). Adding mint just gives it that special, extra intriguing taste to this Corscian Brocciu Lasagne and stuffed cheesy courgettes – like, “What is it that I’m tasting?”
Differences between a French and Corsican Omelette
I left the best for last. So, what makes a Corsican omelette different to a regular French omelette?
Corsican omelettes are made using olive oil and, instead of being folded or rolled over, they are served flat – cooked more underneath and just a quick minute more on the facing side. As with the regular omelette, it’s still deliciously runny inside; as the French say, it’s an Omelette Baveuse – literally dribbling.
Best Substitute for Brocciu Corsican Cheese
Traditionally, brocciu cheese is often added to a mint omelette – but as it’s difficult to find (often expensive) and not widely available during the summer months (it’s normally produced between November to June, when the milk is at its richest – otherwise it’s known as ‘brousse’ if it’s not 40% fat by AOC standards), we need an alternative. A Corsican chef told me to use la Faisselle in France, which is good, but I believe the best substitute for brocciu is a good quality, soft fresh goat’s cheese – although a good, salty ricotta cheese also works well.
Mint Omelette – Corsican Style
A frittata incu a menta (e brocciu)
A simple omelette dish, popular in Corsica made with mint and often includes Brocciu cheese. If you can't find fresh Brocciu, a good fresh goat's cheese or ricotta is excellent.
- 7 Eggs Organic
- pinch each salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil Extra Virgin
- 10-15 Fresh mint leaves (peppermint) each leaf torn in half
- 50 g (2oz) Brocciu or fresh goat's cheese roughly chopped or crumbled (optional)
Heat the olive oil in a non-stick omelette pan over a medium heat.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs just until the eggs and whites are mixed together. Add the salt and pepper, according to taste.
Tip the egg mixture into the pan with the hot oil. As the eggs cook, quickly move around the mixture away from the sides, tilting the pan so that the liquid from the middle goes all around the outside, to enable more even cooking.
Top evenly with the mint and cheese (if using) and, while still a bit liquid, top with a large plate and tip the omelette onto the plate. Carefully, slide the omelette back into the pan, cooking the other side just for a minute then serve the omelette with the least cooked side upright. The omelette should be soft and runny in the middle ("baveuse" or dribbling, as the French say).
Corsican omelettes are served flat and not folded over like French omelettes. It doesn't matter if the omelette isn't coloured - just ensure the eggs are cooked but the omelette is still a bit runny or baveuse.
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Have you made any of the recipes from le blog or fancy making this Mint Omelette recipe? Please leave a comment below (it motivates me to continue posting here) or take a picture and hashtag it #MadAboutMacarons. I love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook. Thanks so much for popping in!