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Bachelor’s Omelette

This recipe caught my eye while I was leafing through Mrs. Norton’s Cook-Book. A little searching showed me that Mrs Norton had pinched it from Mrs. Beeton, almost verbatim. Tsk tsk.

To be fair, Mrs. Norton did improve on Mrs. Beeton to the extent of suggesting that the onion Mrs. Beeton called for should be sautéed beforehand, and I agree. She also omitted the Cayenne, which is entirely a matter of opinion. I would have put it in if I remembered, but I didn’t. I would also consider putting in chopped parsley, green onions or chives, or sautéed mushrooms or peppers, depending on what’s around – not all of them at once, but in judicious pairs.

Of course I have made some other changes. First of all, 2 ounces of butter is a quarter of a cup; that’s 4 tablespoons! Which seems excessive for 3 little eggs. I used a single tablespoon and found it entirely sufficient – generous, even. I also put in pea sprouts instead of onion, and cheese instead of, hmm, nothing. We both agreed that the pea sprouts were a delightful addition, and cheese is cheese, duh.

There’s also the little fact that I am one of the world’s most inept omelette makers, and the fact that I was able to get this thing more-or-less folded and onto a plate in one piece is quite amazing. I’m not sure if that was a result of adding that bit of flour which is after all what makes this recipe different from others, obscene quantities of butter not withstanding, or if I am finally – after 40 years of cooking – getting the knack. Then I have to admit I made this in a stainless steel pan and not the usual cast iron. I also used duck eggs, which I think have a bit more body than chicken eggs. After I made and photographed this, I made it again, this time replacing the soft wheat flour with potato starch, remembering how well my Cocoa Crepes turned out. It folded even better! Best folded omelette I’ve ever made! I changed the recipe to reflect that too. 

2 servings
15 minutes prep time

1/4 cup milk or light cream
1 teaspoon potato starch OR if you must, soft unbleached flour
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 small duck OR large chicken eggs
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup chopped pea sprouts OR other prepared vegetable
1/2 cup grated Cheddar OR other cheese of your choice

If you are going to use onion, shallot, mushrooms, or peppers, clean and slice them now, and cook them in a bit of butter. Remove from the pan and set aside. Wash and chop your pea sprouts, or any herbs you may wish to add. Grate your cheese, and have everything standing by ready to go. 

Put the cream in a small mixing bowl and sprinkle the potato starch or flour over it; whisk until free of lumps. Season with salt and pepper.

Break in the eggs, and whisk them in until the mixture is smooth but not frothy.

Heat the butter over medium heat in a medium-sized skillet. When it is completely melted and bubbling but not browned, swirl it around to cover the bottom and sides of the pan completely. Pour in the eggs. Sprinkle the pea sprouts or herbs over the omelette at once. Cook gently until set about 1″ in from the sides of the pan. At this point, sprinkle the cheese and/or cooked vegetables over the omelet.

Continue cooking until the omelette is mostly set. Using a thin, broad lifter, work your way with it under half the omelet, and fold it over on itself. Continue to cook for a minute or so more, until the omelette is sufficiently set. Remove it to a serving plate, or divide it between 2 individual plates.

I find it most effective to centre a plate over my skillet, then flip it quickly to drop the omelette onto the plate. A pair of good oven mitts is not optional here; they are absolutely required.

Last year at this time I made Grilled Cheese à la French Onion Soup.

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