Mint grows wild in Corsica, and little goats gambol on hillsides descending to pale blue seas. The sunlight is so intense and the Mediterranean vegetation so lush that the combination has earned Corsica the nickname ‘Isle of Beauty’. In this traditional Corsican omelet, mint and fresh goat cheese combine to create an earthy, vibrant flavor that may inspire you to dream of the island and — why not? — your next trip there.
Omelette au chèvre frais et à la menthe / Omelet with fresh goat cheese and mint
I’ve been to Corsica many times, usually to the northwest shore in the area between Calvi and l’Ile Rousse, a region known as La Balagne. The smell of the pines, the chirping of cicadas, the rustling of olive leaves, the sultry heat make it an irresistible spot for relaxation. The mint there is known as mintrastella — island mint — and grows nearly knee-high around little streams in the hills. Corsicans gather it to use not only in omelets, but in soups, savory tarts and deep-fried snacks.
One year we had to decamp in a rush from our rented house up in the hills overlooking the sea when wild fires encroached on the property. I grabbed my child, jumped into the car and drove like a madwoman down a rutted road crossed by lines of flames, hoping our vehicle wouldn’t catch fire and explode. We made it to the seaside, which was perfectly calm except for the hum of fire-fighting planes overhead. When we went back the next day, our house was intact but the garden had been transformed into a landscape of blackened tree trunks. My daughter, then 5, burst into tears.
Still, we returned the next year, to the same place, and found much of the vegetation restored. Corsica is magnetic, and I couldn’t stay away despite the drama of our previous visit. The light, the sounds, the wild odors and lovely sea, and of course the food — it is truly an island of beauty. Happy dreaming — and happy cooking.