Eggs with tomato and onion. “Alla gloria di dio, ci’a racommando a papa mio” is what my mom says every time she makes this dish – an Italian tradition of sending a salute to a loved one when eating or drinking something you know they loved. In this case it is sent to my nonno who loved this dish and even more so loved the way my mom makes it.
Every time I eat it now I reminisce of being in Italy helping to pick the clementine harvest when my nonno was very sick. My uncle and mom were there from Canada, my mom tending to my nonno and nonna and my uncle helping to ensure that the harvest went smooth so that my nonno didn’t worry so much about it. My nonna, bless her soul, always cooked lunch for the workers – both migrant and family. This one week she cooked a large amount of ceci (chickpeas) over the fire and that’s what we ate….for four days! Don’t get me wrong, I love pasta e ceci, or pasta with chickpeas, but after four days me and my uncles were not exactly thrilled at the site of a steaming pot arriving:) On the fifth day as we joked about waiting for the arrival of what we hoped was the end of the chickpeas, low and behold, a basket with bread and wine and a big pan of eggs with tomato and onion. Just by looking at it we knew this was my mom’s doing and everyone dove in. It’s one of those dishes that you forget how good it is until the first bite every time. It was a very welcomed first bite! It put everyone in good spirits, at the farm and at home.
This is a dish my mom grew up with since they were lucky enough to have a farm and therefore have chickens and plenty of vegetables. At a time when extra food and money were scarce and the house was filled with nine children she says this was always a treasured meal. It’s so fast, and easy to make for two people, or twenty and holds its own for a complete meal. In fact, this is a dish that can be made for breakfast, lunch or dinner!
- 2 large cooking onions or 1 large Spanish onion, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 litre jar tomato pieces (or sauce if you don't have pieces)
- 10 eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- heat oil in a large pan or skillet over high heat
- cook onions until they start to brown
- add tomato pieces and salt to the onion
- mix lightly and let cook for 15-20 minutes on medium heat
- lower heat slightly
- break eggs directly into tomato-onion mixture
- when egg whites are partially cooked, very gently nudge around eggs so that the onions and tomatoes get in between the eggs
- sprinkle a little more salt on eggs
- once egg whites are almost cooked through gently nudge them around a little bit and place cover on pan for 2 minutes
- very gently cover eggs with a little of the tomato-onion mixture and cover for another minute
- eat immediately