In praise of the omelette

“But Aunt Maureen makes smashing omelettes.”

“She makes smashing omelettes.” Poirot’s voice was happy. He sighed. “Then Hercule Poirot has not lived in vain,” he said. “It was I who taught your Aunt Maureen to make an omelette.”

And if omelettes make Poirot happy, then that is reason enough to heap praise upon them, however, there are a million and one reasons why the humble omelette deserves your consideration. The omelette crosses cultures without fear, it is a food universal, from the frittata, to the tortilla to the tamagoyaki it is almost infinite in its variety. Sweet or savoury, vegetarian or carnivore, suitable for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It can be eaten hot or cold, as a main meal or an accompaniment, and is as simple or as complicated as you like. It’s really good for you:

  • a complete source of protein- all 8 essential amino acids we can’t synthesise and so must get from our diet;
  • Vitamins galore- D for absorbing calcium, B2 for energy metabolism, B12 for a healthy nervous system, A for vision, E for healthy skin, K for blood clotting;
  • Zinc, iron and copper for whatever those do.

Yet some people fear the omelette. So let’s start with the basics.

Good eggs: nice fresh eggs

The pan: choose a pan based on the intended size of your omelette. Go small if you are scared, big if you are Aunt Maureen. For a 2-3 egg omelette, go for 7-9 inches. And it should be round.

Oil: whatever your choice get one with a high frying point because you are going to make this pan so hot Lucifer would be uncomfortable.

The most basic of omelettes:

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs

Told you it was basic. Some people like to complicate things by adding milk, but why bother?

Methods:

Beat your eggs. Well, take them out of the shell first but then beat them, with a fork, or a whisk. Then oil your pan and place it over a high heat. As hot as you dare- remember you are making Lucifer sweat. Once hell has called the fire brigade, pour your eggs into the pan. Tilt the pan until the eggs cover the bottom, they should be crackling happily. Once the bottom of the eggs has set, use a spatula to pull the eggs from the side of the pan to the middle and then tilt the pan to fill the space with more egg. You can tilt up to 90 degrees and it will all be fine. Once your omelette is pretty solid- there might still be a bit of gooey on the top, slide spatula underneath and fold the omelette in half. This will cook the gooey bit in the middle, and you can slide your lovely bit of eggy perfection onto a plate. Say hoorah!

And then you can top it with your favourite things- bacon, avocado, cheese, cooked meats, asparagus wrapped in parma ham, greek salad… Basically it is a base, like pizza or toast. In fact, in Spain you could slap it between two thick slices and call it lunch. Que bueno!

For some of you this is almost, but not quite, teaching you to suck eggs. So let’s take it to the next level, by which I mean some omelettes that I have enjoyed recently:

Chorizo and peppers: fry slices of chorizo until they ooze, then added chopped peppers. Fry until crispy. Add eggs and do the tilting thing.

Spinach and feta: wilt your spinach. Add your eggs and tilt and whirl. Crumble feta over the top and fold your omelette in half. Add crispy bacon for a carnivorous version.

Ham and mushrooms….wait! These are basically my favourite pizza toppings. Try out yours in a happy protein rich, low carb, paleo kind of way.

 

 

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