A very rustic omelet
I love eggs! I particularly love how eggs can be transformed into a gazillion things! I have a feeling that if an egg could talk, it would say «whatever I want to be, I can become»! I think eggs have absolute confidence in themselves and should give motivational talks to humans hahaha. Little Miss plain Jane becomes the most popular kid in the sandbox, every single time!!! That is the power of eggs!
Cuisines from around the world use eggs and have proven time and time again that there is no more versatile ingredient than this one cell wonder food. Yup, one single cell, nutrient rich, little bundle of joy!!! I particularly admire the many creative ways eggs are manipulated in French cuisine. French techniques, cooking methods and ingredient pairing to transform eggs into exquisiteness is genius if you ask me. Have you ever wondered how French chef can elevate a dish from really good to amazing? And often create masterpieces with a handful of ingredients only? It is technique… In French cuisine, coddling ingredients until they transform into something magical is what elevates their dishes and recipes. It is no wonder that the French way of cooking is sought after by chefs from around the world. Take simple mayonnaise for instance: all that goes in it really are egg yolks whisked like mad with a neutral tasting oil and a few aromatics such as lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Use the same arm breaking whisking technique with egg whites to which you add a bit of sugar and voilà: meringue! If you seriously think of it, beyond the umpteen different ways one can cook eggs for breakfast, eggs can be everything from hors d’oeuvre to appetizer, from main course to dessert, from condiment to beverage. Muffins, cookies, puddings, cakes, custards, flans, batters, pancakes, sabayon, nougat, pastry, pasta, choux, quiche, omelets, carbonara… And what about Eggs Benedict: the ultimate fancy breakfast dish made of poached eggs topped with Hollandaise (a butter and EGG yolk sauce): brilliant no? Can you add to the list? When you stop to think about it, eggs are truly amazing!
Eggs for dinner is as frequent offering in my home, I would say about once a week. For dinner, my favourite egg dishes are frittatas and omelets, but I am not against a good poached or pan-fried egg dinner with toast and fresh slices of tomatoes. I like to think that I master eggs, any way, any style and The King endorses my assessment! He says I make the very best eggs. So, what is a girl to do but to indulge her King with what he likes, right? I am a total suck for compliments on my cooking and lucky for me, eggs are often that super quick option to get a hot dinner on dinner table on busy work days. Having said that, this particular omelet does not necessarily fall under the express dinner umbrella but it is well worth the effort. It turns out silkier than a frittata but not as heavy as a quiche. The trick to this particularly tasty omelet? Cooking each vegetable separately before actually finishing with the eggs. Sure, you can adapt this recipe and cook the vegetables together, then continue on like you would a frittata or a regular omelet. I guarantee it will turn out lovely and perfectly presentable because all the flavours play well together. But if you stretch yourself ever so slightly and decide to follow the technique as written, you may be wowed by the results. The verdict in my home on this one? Everyone agrees it is their favourite omelet!
Potato and Zucchini Rustic Omelet
What you need
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled, cut in half lengthwise and sliced
- 2 medium zucchinis, cut in round slices of medium thickness (See TIP¹ and TIP² for better zucchinis below)
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, mashed or minced
- ¼ cup white wine
- ⅓ cup cooking oil plus more if needed (I like avocado oil which is neutral tasting and has a high smoke point)
- 2-3 sundried tomatoes packed in oil and rinsed, minced
- 7 large eggs
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper
- ½ cup half and half
- ½ cup chopped fresh basil
- ½ cup grated Fontina (or your favorite melting cheese)
How to make it
- Rinse potato and zucchini slices, pat dry(TIP³). Remove as much excess water as possible.
- Heat oil a medium size frying pan (I like non-stick). The oil should be hot enough to bubble slightly around the veggies, like the fizz that forms around a lemon when dropped in soda water. If the oil is bubbling vigorously, reduce the heat slightly. If the oil is only fizzing, it is too cold and the vegetables will absorb too much oil. Try a tester piece of potato before filing the pan.
- Once the oil has reached the correct temperature, fry potato slices in batches, turning after a few minutes. Potatoes are ready when golden all around. Remove from oil and let drain on a paper towel, sprinkling with a bit of salt.
- Repeat the same process with the zucchinis, adding a bit more oil if needed but not too much. Set both vegetables aside.
- In the same pan and in remaining oil, sauté onions until soft and slightly caramelized. Add white wine (optional) and cook until all the liquid has nearly evaporated. Add garlic and sundried tomatoes, cook and stir for 2-3 minutes. Return the potatoes and zucchinis to the pan and gently stir to combine the ingredients. Remove from heat.
- In a large mixing bowl whisk eggs until uniform. Add the salt, the pepper and the cream, whisk well to combine. Blend in the chopped basil.
- Return pan to stove and set burner to medium low.
- Add the egg preparation and with a soft heat resistant spatula (or scrapper), gently fold the mixture from the side of the pan to the center until the middle starts to hold together slightly while remaining very jiggly. Cover the pan and let cook for anywhere between 5 to 15 minutes (TIP⁴), checking regularly to make sure the bottom doesn’t get too brown too quickly. I tend to slide my spatula under the omelet to keep an eye on the bottom. The lid will help steam the top of the omelet and help it set faster.
- Adjust the heat as needed.
- Flipping it over: that’s the tricky and fun part!!! Don’t be intimidated by this, it actually is very easy. Once the bottom has reached a nice golden brown colour and the center is nearly set (not too wet or jiggly), fit the top of your pan with a large plate or serving platter. Flip everything over and lift the frying pan: the omelet should now be cooked side up. Slide the omelet back into the pan to finish cooking the other side. Top the omelet with cheese, cover and cook until the other side is golden brown and the cheese has melted. If you like well melted and slightly browned cheese, something like a pizza, slip the cooked omelet under the broiler which has been set to high.
- The omelet can be served directly from the pan or have more fun sliding it off from the pan onto a service platter.
- Serve piping hot with a nice bistro style salad and a crusty loaf. You will be amazed at how pillowy silky this omelet turns out and how much flavour it boasts!
TIP¹ for better zucchinis: sweating is an extra step that is not necessary but yields better results. Why sweat the zucchinis? Is it really worthwhile? Well here’s the thing: zucchinis have high water content and tend to release a lot during cooking which may result in mushy cooked zucchinis or a soggy omelet. Extracting excess water from the zukes prior to cooking them will yield slices that retain their shape better. The sweating process will also drastically reduce the splattering of oil which happens when hot oil comes in contact with water. I have made this recipe using either prep methods and I personally find that sweating the zucchinis, while adding a few extra minutes to my prep time makes enough of a difference during the frying to make it worth my while.
TIP² Sweating zucchinis: Sprinkle coarse salt over zucchini slices and let sweat in a straining sitting over a plate or bowl for about 10-15 minutes. Rinse well under cold water and pat dry to remove any excess moisture. To save time, sweating the zucchinis¹ can be done while prepping the rest of the ingredients.
TIP³: layer the clean vegetables on dish cloth to remove the excess moisture keeping them covered while cooking each batch.
TIP⁴: Cooktops all behave differently. The temperature needed here is one that will softly bubble the egg preparation. If the pan is too hot, the bottom will burn before the eggs have time to cook and set all the way through. I own a glass top stove: my ideal temperature is between 3 and 5, so I would say a smidge over the halfway mark between medium and low. Why such a range for the cooking times? Not only do stovetop temperatures fluctuate from one type of range to the next, but the size of the pan used will also cause cooking variations. The more the egg preparation spreads, the faster the omelet will cook. The best judge to decide when the omelet has reached is optimum peak is you, standing in front of the pan and watching the show!