Saturday, October 3, 2009

mushroom rosemary omelette

I love making breakfast. It makes weekend mornings that much more special when you can take time, flip pancakes, grill bacon, or chop a bunch of mushrooms for an omelette. Although let's be serious, I make every effort to do this on weekdays too.

Omelettes are a magical thing. I didn't grow up eating them. When I started seeing them in restaurants, I was perplexed by how they were made. How do you get all that stuff in there while the egg is cooking? How does it make a perfect little roll? I made a few feeble home attempts and then didn't try again for a long time. I had made risotto, pies and paella, smiled and didn't object to being called an 'accomplished home cook,' and all the while I harbored a dirty little secret: I couldn't even make a simple omelette. It's a bit like a magician's sleight of hand; dazzle 'em with pancakes and crepes and muffins in one hand and they'll never notice the lack of omelette in the other.

Well those days of dishonesty are in the past. 2009 was the first year of the Obama presidency and the year I learned the secret of the omelette. And it is so simple: low heat. Here's the fail proof technique I use now: add some oil to a non-stick pan and turn the heat up to high. This gets the oil nice and hot, which is important before adding the egg. Then after adding the egg to cover the bottom of the pan, immediately turn the heat to low, and add the toppings across the top while the egg is cooking. Patience is indeed the virtue to invoke here.

Here's a side note on rosemary. Rosemary is terribly underused. It is incredibly versatile, and adds character to baked goods, meats, soups, and now, omelettes. I spent all of last winter roasting sweet potatoes covered in rosemary and it was divine. Combine it with garlic and you'll instantly feel gourmet. It is also an easy herb to always have on hand. If you have any room at all, I recommend you grow your own. It is a hearty plant, and will grow robustly under nearly negligent conditions. Of course, I live in the city and the only plant that has made it through the years with me is a cactus (which is still somewhat of a miracle). But my mother planted some in her suburban garden and it has simply taken over that corner of the yard, no maintenance needed. If you get your hands on some stalks of fresh rosemary, you can leave them out to dry. Once the leaves are dry, I simply scrape them off the stalk and keep them in little jars. Easy peasy. (I'll save you from an essay on my love of mushrooms for now.)

mushroom rosemary omelette
serves 2

Note: Did you know that one egg yolk has the total recommended cholesterol you need for an entire day? I know this is a debbie downer observation, but my family has a history of high cholesterol so now I balk at the idea of eating three whole egg yolks at one sitting. To be fair, if you hid six eggs in a cake, I may act like I've never heard of cholesterol. But the fact of the egg is hard to hide in an omelette, so these are egg white-ish versions.

4 egg whites, (you may want to save the yolks if you have other recipes in mind, maybe...custard?)
2 whole eggs
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh or dried rosemary
2 tablespoons olive oil

1. Beat eggs with water vigorously until frothy. Heat non-stick skillet (around 10 inches) over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil.
2. When oil is heated through, add half the egg mixture and tilt pan to thinly cover bottom of pan. Turn heat down to low.
3. The top of the egg will slowly begin to set. Add half the mushrooms and rosemary to cover the egg. Continue cooking until egg has entirely set and mushrooms have wilted.
4. Using a flat spatula, carefully lift all the edges of the omelette while tilting the pan. When you're sure that the egg will easily lift from the pan, slide bottom 1/3 of the omelette onto a prepared plate, then turn the pan to create a roll in the top 1/3 while sliding entirely onto the plate. (Yeah I know, this takes a little practice.)
5. Repeat for second omelette. Serve immediately with a sprinkle of rosemary.

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