Saturday, July 13, 2013

Garden Fresh Vegetable Omelette

Finished omelette with pumpernickel toast, grits, home fries and
 a dollop of my wife's homemade strawberry jam in the center.
Do you have a garden? Go to farmer's markets? Maybe just REALLY like Whole Foods? We do all of these and frequently end up with extra vegetables and aren't quite sure what to do with them. Yes, we can always do another stir fry or just steam them (and they're always good) but sometimes we want to do something different.

That's where the omelette comes in. My wife went out to her garden last night and picked a lot of green beans, sugar snap peas, and summer squash. I'll be cooking some of that for dinner but it was a lazy, rainy day and I wanted to cook breakfast. So, in addition to the vegetables mentioned, I also used onions, garlic (also from her garden but picked last week and dried) and a tomato (it's too early to have ripe tomatoes here so that came from the grocery store.)

I do know that most folks know how to cook an omelette - and if you don't, don't be intimidated. It's pretty easy. You don't have to flip it in the air to turn it over like the chefs you see on TV (though that's what I do and is pretty simple as well with a tiny bit of practice AND the right pan). You can just use a spatula like you would to turn over anything else. The other good part about this is that although I'm using the ingredients that I listed, you can use anything you like - or just clean out your vegetable drawer before it goes bad. You'll get rid of something before it gets wasted and it will taste good on top of it!

This recipe has the added benefit of being healthy and vegetarian - and if you use tofu in place of egg, oil instead of butter, and a vegan cheese (or simply omit it) you could make this a vegan tofu scramble as well (or, if you're like me, you can add a piece of sausage, bacon or ham to it which is decidedly NOT healthy, vegetarian or vegan but to my taste buds sure does go down well).

Chopped ingredients waiting to be added to the pan.

Garden Fresh Vegetable Omelette (makes two large omelettes)

1 (very) small summer squash, cubed
8 sugar snap peas, 1/2 inch chop
10 green beans, 1/2 inch chop
1 small tomato, deseeded, rough chop
1 medium garlic clove, fine mince
1/2 onion, diced
4 eggs (2 per omelette)
4 tbsp whole milk
4 slices cheese (your preference as to type - can also use shredded. I tend to like American in mine while my wife prefers Swiss)
butter or olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pan)
1 tbsp olive oil (I like to use an infused oil if I can - garlic infused is great if you can find it. This is for lightly sautéing the vegetables before putting them in the omelette)
Garlic powder
Freshly ground rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste

    1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a heavy bottomed pan - the same pan you'll use for the omelette is fine.
    2. Sauteing the vegetables

    3. Add the diced onions and sauté for about two minutes.
    4. Add the rest of the vegetables and sauté until they are just starting to soften - typically two to three minutes About one minute before you are ready to take it off, add the minced garlic and let it sauté as well.
    5. Remove the vegetables and set aside.
    6. Crack the eggs into a bowl and beat them until they turn a pale yellow color.
    7. Heat a heavy-bottomed nonstick sauté pan over medium-low heat (you can use a pan that's NOT non-stick, but you probably won't be happy with the results). Add the butter and let it melt.
    8. Add the milk to the eggs and season to taste with salt and pepper. This is where I add the freshly ground rosemary. I didn't give an amount and that's simply because this is a matter of taste. I LOVE rosemary and use it in many things. My mother HATES rosemary. I would use a lot, she wouldn't use any! That's why I didn't give an amount. Use as much or as little (or none!) as you'd like. I keep dried rosemary leaves in a grinder in the cabinet all the time so that I can add it to anything I'd like easily. 
    9. Grab your whisk and beat the eggs like your life depended on it! Your omelette is going to be better (fluffier) the more air you can get into your eggs. You can always cheat a little bit and use an electric mixer as well.
    10. When the butter in the pan is hot enough to make a drop of water hiss, pour in half the eggs. Don't stir! Let the eggs cook for up to a minute or until the bottom starts to set.
    11. Using a heat-resistant rubber spatula, gently lift one edge of the egg while tilting the pan to allow the still liquid egg to flow in underneath. Repeat with the other edges, until there's no liquid left.
    12. Your eggs should now resemble a bright yellow pancake, which should easily slide around on the nonstick surface. If it sticks at all, loosen it with your spatula.
    13. This is the part that seems to unnerve some people. Flipping the omelette. There's no need to go into omelette heroics here. It will taste just as good if you flip it with your spatula as it does if you throw it in the air while judges in the corner write down your scores for how many triple sow cows (or whatever they call those things) it does on the journey back down. The point is to turn it over however you're comfortable with doing it. Using a spatula is perfectly fine. So, just flip that thing over.
    14. At this point, in my head I draw an imaginary line about half way down the pan. I put all of the ingredients that will be inside the omelette on one side of the line. Add your cheese first - if you're using slices, tear one slice up and lay it on top of the egg. If you're using shredded cheese, sprinkle as much as you'd like on top of the egg. 
    15. Add half the vegetables on top of the cheese. Spread them out evenly across the same half as the cheese.
    16. With your spatula, lift the far side of the egg (the side with no vegetables) and carefully fold it in half, covering the half that has the vegetables. At this point, you'll have one half of your pan empty and the other half filled with a yummy omelette. 
    17. Add another slice of your cheese (if you're using it) on top of the omelette. 
    18. Repeat steps 9-16 for the second omelette.
    19. Plate, serve and enjoy!

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