Episode 9: Asparagus Omelette and Watercress Salad

May 10, 2009

This week, I make a very quick omelette for dinner, along with the simplest of all side salads–just pick a good tasty green, and let that do all the work for you. The omelette filling is only a suggestion–it’s really up to you.

Note: Cooking in Real Time will be on vacation next week, May 17.


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    Shallots or onions
    Goat cheese
    Olive oil

Omelette with Asparagus, Mushroom and Goat Cheese

omelette-014Endlessly variable, a delicate French-style omelette like this makes a great dinner. Get creative with leftovers from your fridge, mixing various cheeses, herbs and vegetables. One of the best combos I ever came up with was cream cheese and ajvar, a Balkan red pepper spread–invented only because they were the last two things in the fridge (both have a long shelf life).

For one omelette
2 small shallots, half a small onion or one scallion
1 large mushroom
1 spear asparagus
Small sprig tarragon (or any other fresh herb you have; totally optional)
About 2 tbsp soft goat cheese
2 eggs

Chop up your shallot in relatively small pieces, your mushroom into large pieces and your asparagus into thin rounds.

Melt about 1 tsp butter in a small (6 inches or so) nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the shallot and fry, stirring, until translucent. Add the asparagus and mushroom, turn the heat down to medium, and let cook until spotted brown, stirring occasionally.

omelette-008Rinse your tarragon and tear the leaves into a bowl. When the vegetable mix is done, scrape that into the bowl with the tarragon.

Crumble the goat cheese into another small bowl, or at least break it into a few clumps. (If you’re using a firmer cheese, grate it as finely as you possibly can, ideally with a Microplane.)

With a fork, briefly whisk your two eggs together with a pinch of salt, just until white and yolk are combined.

Wipe your skillet clean if necessary and add another 1 tsp of butter. Let it melt over high heat, swirling the pan to evenly coat the bottom and sides. When the foam has just subsided, pour in your eggs. Let set for about 5 seconds, while you rinse out your egg bowl. Start jiggling the pan to create a little texture in the eggs. With a silicone spatula or wooden spoon, quickly poke small holes in the bottom of the omelette and tilt the pan to fill the holes with liquid egg.

When most of the egg is set but there is still a film of liquid egg on the surface, take the skillet off the heat and turn off the burner. Lay the cheese across the center of the omelette, perpendicular to the handle, then add the filling. Fold one third of the omelette over itself, then tip the omelette onto a plate.

Serve promptly, with good buttered bread or toast.

Watercress Salad

Rinse a big handful of watercress well, in at least two changes of water. Dry and place in a salad bowl. Drizzle on a very small amount of olive oil and toss to coat the leaves. Lightly squeeze half a lemon over the salad, and add a pinch of salt. Toss again, and you’re done.

You can also use arugula or sweet dandelion greens (where “sweet” means relatively less bitter).

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