Sunday, February 10, 2008

Cheese and Green Onion Omelette

The past few weeks have been all about rediscovering Sunday breakfast for me in my humble little abode. There's something about getting up, putting on a pot of coffee, and getting out some cooking magazines and recipes to go through that begs for a little indulgence.

First on the list was pancakes. Thanks to my holiday baking I had some leftover buttermilk in the fridge so I whipped up a batch of buttermilk pancakes that came out just the way buttermilk pancakes should - light and fluffy, with the perfect balance of density and sponginess that soaks up the maple syrup without disintegrating.

And then I got on a little bit of a cheese kick. It started with the idea of grilled cheese sandwiches, something I have not had in the longest time. But once I thought about them, I really wanted one, so I bought some nice sharp cheddar cheese and a beautiful loaf of sesame semolina bread (that's the last of it up there with the omelette) and set about making one for myself.

And it was . . . ok. There was nothing wrong with it, but it did not leave me craving another. What it did leave me with was about a half a pound of cheese. In addition to the Manchego, the freshly grated Grana Padano, the Locatelli Romano, which is similar to but has a sharper taste than the slab of Parmigianno Regianno. And then there's the Idiazabal, and the beautiful softTaleggio I bought at Pastoral the last time I was there, which melted beautifully in a nice tasty batch of polenta.

What to do with all of these cheeses? I will have to get creative, that's for sure. I have some ideas, of course. And if they work out, I will share them.

But back to the lovely sharp cheddar cheese and Sunday breakfast. I had some green onions, eggs and cheese. See where I'm going here?

Since my last failed attempt at making an omelet I have purchased a lovely Italian non-stick skillet that is just the right size for making omelettes. Why yes, now that you've asked, that's exactly why I bought it. I bought a small one on impulse at Jewel (yes Jewel, they're actually inexpensive but they work really well) for the purpose of toasting spices and nuts, and I liked it so much I got the next size up.

And may I say it made a beautiful omelette? You can see all that beautiful sharp cheddar and green onions oozing out of the center.

The secret to a successful omelette? Use water instead of milk. You've probably heard it before, but I'll say it here. Milk can make the eggs hard, but a good hard whisking of water in the mix just before you pour it into the pan makes all the difference in the world.

I have some different herb combinations that I will sometimes use with my omelettes, like tarragon, thyme, or Sunny Paris. But most of the time I just use salt and pepper, so the eggs can shine all by themselves.
If you've never made an omelette and are afraid to try, it's actually pretty easy. I can't say my way is authentic, but it looks like an omelette and tastes like an omelette, so it must be an omelette (see: duck).

If you think of it in time, take out two eggs and let them come to room temperature. (This is not critical, but years ago someone told me eggs cook better when you bring them to room temperature. I can't find anything to back this up, but it's a habit by now.)

Wash and trim from 4 to 6 green onions and slice them about 1/4 - 1/8" thick. Grate about 1/4 cup cheese. If you want toast with your omelette, this would be a good time to stick the bread into the toaster.

Crack the eggs into a bowl and add salt and freshly gound black pepper. Melt a pat of butter into your omelette pan and add green onions. Saute until they have just started to caramelize and put them into a bowl.

Add another pat of butter into the pan. Pour a splash of water (not too much or it will be runny) into the egg mixture and whisk vigorously. When the butter in the pan has melted and is foaming, add the egg mixture to the pan in a continuous stream, whisking the whole time. Once the mixture is the the pan, keep whisking, working your way around the pan, so that the parts that are cooking keep mixing with the raw egg. Once it starts to set and the liquid no longer fills in the spaces from the mixing, stop. Run a spatula around the edges of the eggs until it is completely freed from the bottom of the pan. At this point, you can lay the cheese and the green onions just to one side of the middle of the omelette. Fold the side that the mixture is closest to over the cheese and onions. Turn off the heat. Grab the handle of the pan from the bottom and take it to the plate. Slide the unfolded part onto the plate, and then turn the pan over so that the stuffed, folded side falls on top of the unfolded part, which creates the third fold. (If that doesn't make sense, you can fold the third part while it's still in the pan, but there's a chance it will break. It will taste the same though, and you will get better with practice.)
And now, if you'll excuse me, I think I need to go take some eggs out of the fridge.


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