Saturday, October 23, 2010

Cheap Eats - Omelettes like a pro

Ok, we're back to eating good on a budget. One of my favorite "cheap dinners" is an omelette. There is a saying among chefs that cooking eggs is a good test of the skill of a chef. This is because there really isn't much hiding a mistake when cooking an egg. It is a simple process, but if you don't know the technique, or make a mistake, it is going to be very obvious. I love eggs, cook them all the time, and (modestly) am pretty damn good at it. The other nice thing about an omelette is that there are endless combos of ingredients to stuff them with, so it never gets boring. Also, you can usually find a tasty combination of things in your fridge/pantry, so they're even more convenient/inexpensive that way too.

Now, I'm going to do a little photo series on the process of omelette cooking, then explain the steps:

Ok, the first picture is there because I have been admonished for putting unflattering pictures of others, namely my sister and my wife, on the blog without their permission and I figured the only way to make that acceptable was to put up an unflattering picture of myself.....This definitely qualifies. Is it just television cameras that add 10 lbs, or is it point and shoot digitals as well?

The second picture is an example of the ingredients for a two egg omelette. 2 tblsp chopped tomatoes, 2 tblsp scallions, 2 tblsp diced ham, 1 tblsp jalapenos.

The third picture is the proper technique for cooking a perfect omelette. You saute your stuffing ingredients lightly, pour in your eggs, and then pull the cooked egg in towards the center of the pan while tilting the pan so that the liquid egg flows to the outside, and becomes cooked. Doing it this way gives you a evenly cooked omelette, and allows you to have a nice, soft, tender end result.

Finally, a basic recipe

2 eggs
2 tblsp milk
1 tsp hot sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste

For any filling you decide on, about 2 tblsp per ingredient, and no more than four ingredients is the right ratio, and always use a plastic/rubber spatula. It's just easier to be gentle with these than it is metal. The exception to my 2 tblsp rule of thumb would be something like spinach. For spinach, you would saute it first, strain it, chop it, and then use the 2 tblsp amount.

1)Whisk together the eggs, milk, hot sauce, and seasoning till pale yellow and frothy
2)Melt 1/2 tblsp butter in saute pan over MEDIUM heat, and saute your filling ingredients for 1 minute. If you use a really hot pan, you will end up with a burnt, crispy, untender omelette, or in other words, a failure.
3)Pour egg mixture over filling and use the technique I described in pic #3
4)If using cheese, add 2 tblsp grated cheese just as the egg is finishing cooking before pulling it from the pan.
5)To remove from the pan, pull it to one edge of the saucepan, pull half of the omelette off onto plate, then use the pan to fold the other half over the top.
Your end result should look like this, or thereabout.

Some of my favorite fillings are
1)Ham, Jalapeno, Smoked Cheddar
2)Bacon, Tomato, Green Onion
3)Artichoke, Feta, Red Onion
4)Grilled Chicken, Spinach, Roasted Peppers, Parmesan
5)Squash, Tomato, Red Onion, and Mozzarella (Fresh)

These are just some options, but like I always say, go with your mood, what's in your pantry, or what looks best at the market, and you'll probably be doing ok. For omelettes, simpler is usually better.

As for wines, simple, crisp whites are best. Try Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc 2008. Good clean, crisp, straight-forward wine.

I leave you with a few egg quotes to enjoy:

“Remember, people will judge you by your actions, not your intentions. You may have a heart of gold, but so does a hard-boiled egg.”
- anonymous

“This recipe is certainly silly. It says to separate the eggs, but it doesn’t say how far to separate them.”

- Gracie Allen

“You CAN make an omelette without breaking eggs. It’s just a really bad omelette.”
- Steven Colbert

“A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked.”
- Bernard Meltzer

"The way to become rich is to put all your eggs in one basket, and then WATCH THAT BASKET"

-Andrew Carnegie

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