Friday, May 29, 2009
Baby's First Omelette!
Baby’s First Omelette!
A cooked Pu-erh tuo-cha, from the 90s. Very mellow, a little earthy and a little bit like licking a wet river rock, in the best possible way. This is kind of an evening tea for me, because I find it unbelievably comforting, but in a pinch it will do in the morning. I brewed it in its dedicated Yixing pot, which is getting nicely seasoned1. Strangely, the appearance of the outside is changing, becoming richer and slightly glossy, as the porous clay begins to absorb the flavors of the tea.
Oh god I forgot again. I’m so sorry, dear readers. An extreme close-up in my iPhoto says Mango-Kiwi?
Well well. How do you make an omelette? I’ve served thousands of them in my long career as a brunch waiter, but still, when I thought about it there were a couple of things to figure out.
Obviously, you ________________
Crack some eggs.
Great. I cracked some eggs.
Add some milk or something?
… and Salt and Pepper…
And beat with a fork.
Right, but how much? Already I’m making decisions here. Now I like my eggs like I like my women (stuffed with produce and beaten as little as possible), so I just kind of beat them a little bit to mix everything together and get a little air in there.
Make some kind of filling…
Following my tried and true rule of method of forgetting to think about it the night before, and rummaging around in the cabinet to see what I forgot I had.
Sun-dried tomatoes! Like, a half a thing! And some mushrooms in the fridge. Hmmmmm. I really wished I had thought about it the night before and covered 6 or 8 sun-dried tomatoes in water to plump them up, but sometimes in life you just have to move forward. Wiped the mushrooms down with a wet cloth to clean them (never rinse them, those of you who don’t know already, the water will soak right in and make the mushrooms unable to absorb flavors. It’s the same principle as draining tofu, really. With everything chopped and the egg mix ready, it was time to cook stuff.
No it’s not! You’ll need to grate some cheese.
Irish Cheddar it is.
Come on, let’s get moving.
I heated up some olive oil in a large frying pan for the filling, and threw some herbs in as well.
What to cook the omelette in presented a little more of a problem. I knew I needed to put it in something “nonstick”y. But I don’t have any nonstick pans. I do have a large cast iron I recently got from grandma’s house. It’s pretty well seasoned1, but it has a couple of uneven spots in the bottom. I figured this was the best chance I had, but since it was so damn big I’d better just make one giant six egg “romantic omelette for two” (idea available for licensing, if interested please leave a comment and my management team will contact you). I heated a little butter in the cast iron and poured the egg mixture in. I used a rubber spatula to push the mixture away from the edges and to slide underneath to keep the bottom from sticking. Once it firmed up a little on top, and it started to smell like the bottom was browning a little (I also like my eggs slightly browned…) I added the grated cheese on one half to let it get a little melty. I gave it about two minutes and then added the sautéed filling to the one half (I had used a little too much oil, so I had to pour some off into the sink before putting it on top) and proceeded to fold my omelette.
Where things begin to fall apart a little bit.
And I kind of mangled the edge of it. I got it folded more or less, and tried to slide I off the pan onto a plate and ran into a little stickiness on the bottom, further mangling the edges. You can see how it came out in the end in the breakfast collage, way up top. It’s a little raggedy.
Ugly, but delicious. The eggs were really fluffy, and the light beating leaves some nice nuance in flavor and texture. Sautéeing the sun-dried tomatoes made them a little juicier, I still wish I had soaked them though.
The omelette was originally developed in ancient Persia.
1A few notes on seasoning things
An Yixing pot is made of one of a few specific kinds of porous clays. They often begin their lives a lovely dull brown color. They should be used ideally only for one specific tea, or at least for one type of tea of a specific grade. Through gradual use, the flavors of the tea begin to soak into the teapot itself, enhancing both the visual appeal of the pot and the flavor of the steeped tea. To season a fresh pot you can either soak the pot in a larger pot filled with the tea you intend to use, or just start using it and gradually season it over time.
Cast iron pans are seasoned (or cured) for a different reason. A built-up layer of fat provides a nonstick surface on which to cook, decreasing the amount of fats one needs to use while cooking. For this reason one should NEVER wash a cast iron with soap, which will break down the protective coating. Instead, it should immediately be gently wiped with either water or coarse salt (kosher salt is best).
To season a new cast iron, ou can either rub it down completely with lard and put it in a warm oven for several hours, or just kind of use a little more butter or oil for a while to season it over time.