It used to puzzle me if tortang talong is an omelet or a frittata. Most people refer to it as an omelet, heaven knows I did for a long time, until I realized that, in terms of cooking method, tortang talong is a frittata and not an omelet. The difference? It may be just a matter of how the words “omelet” and “frittata” are used. It appears that, in some cuisines, the two are used interchangeably. Or, to be more precise, frittata is just a form of omelet.
Personally, I find a huge difference in the cooking methods. When cooking an omelet, the beaten eggs are poured into the pan, chopped vegetables or meat, or both, are added, then the semi-set eggs are folded to envelop the vegetables or meat or both. When cooking a frittata, the chopped vegetables and meat are stirred into the beaten eggs, and the mixture is poured into pan and cooked until firm. The traditional way is to cook the frittata on the stove top for a few minutes then the pan is moved to a pre-heated oven. By the time the eggs are set, a crisp golden crust has formed on top. Alternatively, using the no-oven method, the frittata is flipped over to brown both sides evenly.
Tortang talong, therefore, is a frittata because the filling (usually, ground pork) is stirred into the beaten eggs, piled onto the butterflied eggplant and the composite is fried in hot oil. If the tortang talong is meatless, cooked and peeled eggplant is dipped in beaten eggs then fried. Unless the eggplant is first dredged in flour before it is dipped in beaten eggs, very little of the eggs will stick to the eggplant.
So I devised a way to cook meatless tortang talong — as a real omelet. The method is easier, less messy and the cooked dish looks more presentable.
The easier and less messy way of cooking tortang talong (eggplant omelet)
- Peel the eggplant, split open and flatten lightly with a fork. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Heat a tablespoonful of oil in a frying pan.
- Beat an egg with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Pour the beaten egg into the hot oil.
- Place the eggplant at the center of the pool of beaten eggs.
- When the eggs are firm but still wet on top, fold the sides inward to cover the eggplant.
- Cook until the underside is lightly browned. Flip to brown the topside.