Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sorry, No Pictures of This Morning’s Omelette

Hey, we finally got to sleep late this morning, and that’s saying something about this past week, considering we’re both freelancers!

I’ve recently learned how to make a “real” omelette, a rich, smooth, French one, just like “Julia” made. In fact, the whole thing is thanks to Julia Child, who explains basic omelette making in a three-DVD set of The French Chef with Julia Child, available from PBS.

It’s truly remarkable how a talented and enthusiastic teacher can turn something notoriously difficult into a fun adventure, and seemingly simple. We all know that one of Julia Child’s great strengths as a cooking educator was her relaxed attitude toward, well, failure. You can always salvage the dish, or try it again. And you can always learn from your mistakes.

Anyway, in the third DVD of this set is “The Omelette Show,” wherein Child demonstrates (repeatedly, and with variations) how to make twenty-second omelettes. This is real cooking instruction.

The ingredients are ridiculously simple: three eggs, a tablespoon of butter, a teaspoon of water, and salt and pepper. The skillet you use is important, as is high heat. A spatula should be on hand, though you might not need it, and the plates should be prewarmed.

If you’re using fillings that need to be cooked (mushrooms, bacon, ham, vegetables, etc.), then you need to have cooked them ahead.

It literally only takes about 20 seconds. Incredible.

I won’t go into how I used to make omelettes. I used to try to fold them over with the spatula, but with Child’s traditional, plenty-of-butter technique, you can actually create the whole omelette without using a spatula at all. After the initial set of about four or five seconds, you just shake the pan—circular motions, then jerking it to get it to start flipping.

If you want the full instructions, you need to see the DVD—the lessons in “The Omelette Show” by itself are well worth the price of the DVD, but there are seventeen more episodes in the set that are just as worthy.

So this morning I chopped up some fruit—strawberries, and orange, a kiwi—and warmed up some slices of good French bread. (Yes, you can reclaim bread that isn’t perfectly fresh by wrapping it in foil and heating it in an oven or toaster oven.)

And we’re still working on our Starbuck’s special holiday blend, which is so good. Why isn’t it available all year long?

You have to have everything else in your meal done and ready to serve, first, because the omelettes only take twenty seconds and should be eaten immediately, so there you go.

The omelettes du jour were omelettes aux fines herbes, which means they’re made with chopped fresh herbs. I grabbed a mélange from my nascent spring herb garden—some cilantro, dill, parsley, oregano, and garlic chives—and chopped them fine. I added them to the egg mixture, so they were incorporated into the eggs. Adding them this way warms the herbs just enough to infuse the eggs with their flavor, but not so much they become discolored or lose their fresh, exciting taste.

Then, just before the final fold onto the plate, I sprinkled some crumbled feta cheese into them.

It was all very decadent, with the butter and all, and with more real butter for the warm bread, but then we’ve been eating relatively austere oat bran muffins for breakfast all week long.

And no, there are no photographs of our breakfast this morning, because you just don’t mess around taking pictures when a fresh, hot, creamy, fresh-herb-and-feta omelette is steaming on the plate before you. You just eat it.

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