On one of those magical days in the Provence sunshine several years ago, we were giving lunch outside on the terrace to Randall Graham who, at the time was the owner of the Bonny Doon winery in Santa Cruz. Randall was the pioneer of bringing Rhone varietals to California and a genius winemaker. Mel had known him for many years and Randall had always said that he took the name of his acclaimed Rhone-style wine, ‘Le Cigar Volant,’ from Mel’s book on the Rhone many years before. In the book, it stated that a real city ordinance from the eighteenth century strictly forbade “cigar volants” (flying cigars or saucers) from landing in the vineyards of Chateauneuf du Pape!
As well as being a brilliant wine maker, Randall is a writer, a poet and a botanist and so he spent most of the morning on his stomach gazing intently into the Tortoise filled stream that ran through our vineyard (called Tortoise Creek of course!) He was watching the tortoises and bugs in their daily routines as I was preparing homemade pasta which I was serving with freshly-podded fava beans and soft-boiled eggs. We had picked wild dandelion greens for the salad to serve with shaved Parmesan. I popped the pasta into the pot and made the big mistake of sitting down to listen to Randall’s fascinating mind describing the leaf and root fungi on different vines! Minutes later my pasta had glued itself together like a hairnet and was vastly overcooked. It came out of the pot in one huge lump like a cow patty!
My guests were waiting expectantly in the sun outside for this masterpiece to be served so I quickly broke ten eggs into a bowl and beat them to a froth with salt and thyme leaves. I chopped up the gluey pasta – it had cooled firmly by now and looked a lot like a Beret Basque. I mixed it all in with the eggs and threw it into a huge fry pan with a spoon of olive oil. Two minutes later the bottom was firm and another two minutes later, having shoved it under the grill, the top was browned. I slid it onto a platter and drizzled it with our own raw olive oil. We often serve pasta like that now. It’s was coined Randall’s Frittata. So if you ever over cook your pasta, try this!
If you’re looking for a bottle of wine with your Frittata, look no further than the Tortoise Creek “Jam’s Blend” Chardonnay – a perfect white for the Provence sunshine and an impromptu change in recipes!