Monday, January 16, 2012

I was planning on making an omelet last night, and today was going to write about how the French do the omelet right and we, Americans, have it all wrong. The French make good quality eggs the star ingredient in their omelets with a subtle touch of cheese or herbs secondary. American omelets, on the other hand, no matter how good or bad quality the eggs and whether you are at a diner or a five star restaurant brunch, so often is the case that the eggs merely serve as a canvas for unlimited creation. A creation that is overly stuffed with meats, cheeses and vegetables and topped with sauces and salsas and relishes that force the eggs to take a real backseat. I don't mean to say these omelets aren't tasty, they just are no longer about the eggs.

Then I was going to tell you about the time I had an omelet epiphany when I was in Paris a few years ago. The menu said omelette avec des herbs. Omelet with herbs? No cheese, no spinach, nothing else? How boring! However, it was the only obvious vegetarian option and I didn't want to look like an even bigger idiot by asking the French waiter another round of questions, so I ordered the omelet. And so glad that I did, because the eggs were cooked perfectly, slightly running and so rich that I thought maybe there was some cheese... but anyway, it was a great omelet and that was when I had my omelet epiphany that the French do this one right by keeping it simple and the Americans, in typical American fashion, oversize, overstuff and over complicate this French classic. But, I will spare you all of that because omelet was not what I had for dinner last night.

You see, typically I make poached or scrambled eggs for dinner not breakfast, but a few weekends back on a Saturday morning I decided to try my hand and make my first ever omelet and it came out with complete success. So last night I thought I would try again, since I had a fresh half dozen of my Uncle's egg (no, that's not right - they are from chicken's eggs that my uncle takes care of). Well, I broke the omelet trying to fold it over and we ended up eating scramble omelet instead. I suppose I should leave making proper omelets to the French and my opinions about overstuffed American omelets to myself. Right?

No. I'm not going to be defeated, I just need to do a little omelet making research and maybe look at a few recipes for proper omelet technique. Reading some of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking seems to be in order. I guess that first omelet was just beginner's luck. So until then, here is my recipe for soft scrambled eggs. I often make this with roasted asparagus, but since they aren't in season, this time I tossed in finely chopped parsley and goat cheese into the eggs and served it with toasted buttered bread and a salad of local baby greens.

Scrambled Eggs with Goat Cheese and Roasted Asparagus

Serves 2

The combination of soft scrambled eggs with creamy goat cheese and salty crisp asparagus is perfectly satisfying for breakfast or dinner. I serve this meal with toasted French baguette slices and butter. Sometimes, when I am making this for dinner and want to make the meal go a bit farther I toss delicate mixed greens with a simple vinaigrette – eggs served as the French do.

1 bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed
1 teaspoon olive oil
4-5 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch of fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoon butter
2 ounces goat cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Toss the asparagus with the olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Arrange the asparagus in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Roast for 10 minutes or until the tips are just beginning to turn golden and crisp.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whisk the eggs together well, until light and foamy. Whisk in the milk, salt and pepper. In a medium skillet heat the butter over medium heat until melted. Turn the heat to low and pour in the eggs. Use a heatproof spatula to slowly stir the eggs from the outside in, as they begin to set. Continue to gently and slowly fold in the eggs. After 7 to 10 minutes the eggs should be cooked and not brown. Turn of the heat and add the goat cheese and more salt and pepper to taste. Gently toss everything together just until the cheese has melted. Serve the eggs on individual plates and top with the roasted asparagus.

Variations: Poach the eggs instead of scrambling or forgo the asparagus and toss chopped chives into the scrambled eggs. Certainly serve Scrambled Eggs with and Goat Cheese and Chives with a mixed green salad.


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