I wasn't sure if I should write this post. Omelets, after all, are a fairly obvious kind of dish; eggs stuffed with whatever you want. It's quick. It's simple. It's pathetically easy. Except for when it isn't
I've read in various places that great chefs are judged by the quality of their omelets. The ability to keep the egg together during the closing and then transferring to plate can sometimes befuddle even the most accomplished of home cooks. My own mother would regularly serve us something that lay somewhere in between scrambled eggs and a proper omelet. One could never really tell if it was an omelet that fell apart or if she'd just walked away half-way through scrambling. It's not as we minded of course. Eggs, regardless of technique are usually delicious when tossed and cooked with things like cheese, peppers, or bits of ham.
I actually grew up favoring the enormous three-egg omelets served at the local diner, which we frequented on sunday afternoons post church service. I always ordered one made of broccoli and cheddar cheese, until I took a bite of my mom's lox and onion omelet and promptly started ordering that. They'd come accompanied with a mound of homefries and four stacked triangles of buttered wheat toast. The plates were thick white ceramic and always just a little bit greasy. Normal for a Jersey diner, although my picky parents were forever wiping things down and sending things back asking the exasperated diner lady for a "clean cup" or a "clean fork.'
In college, brunch became a bit more sophisticated. The lack of proper diners in DC led us to seek out the tasty brunch menus at a variety of nearby bistros and restaurants. Giant heavy short-order omelets were replaced with elegant egg dishes and tall flutes of bubbly mimosa cocktails. And it wasn't long before I discovered the simple pleasure of a delicate two-egg omelet alongside a simply dressed mesclun salad.
This marinated roast tomato and goat cheese omelet is my new favorite. I've included the recipe below along with a few tricks for keeping it together. Don't worry because I'm not going into a lengthy demo of one-handed flipping and shifting. There is nothing wrong with using a spatula and a nonstick skillet; in fact, it's my preferred method. Use store-bought marinated tomatoes (I adore the ones sold at the Whole Foods olive bar) or make your own (Molly from Orangette had a wonderful recipe in the September Bon Appetit). I serve this with a salad of mixed greens tossed in a quick ginger vinaigrette. This easy meal can be served at any time of day or night and won't leave anyone wanting.
Roasted Tomato & Goat Cheese Omelet, Mesclun Salad with Ginger Vinaigrette
For the Omelet
2 Large Eggs
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼ cup roasted marinated tomatoes, store-bought or home made. If cherry, leave as is. If bigger, cut down to about 1” pieces
2 tablespoons of goat cheese, broken into small pieces
For the Dressing
1/4 rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly orange juice
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
2 scallions, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons sesame oil
½ cup canola or safflower oil
salt, black pepper
2 cups mesclun greens
First make the dressing.
This is easiest if done in a blender or food processor. Add all the ingredients except for the oils and salt & pepper to the blender and process until smooth. Will take about a minute. Without stopping the mixture, remove the little plastic cap opening on top of the blender and slowly drizzle in the oils in a steady stream. Continue to process for another three minutes until completely emulsified (will look slightly creamy).
Stop the blender and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Make the omelet:
Beat the eggs in a bowl using a whisk or fork. Beat well, for about two minutes until the eggs are light in color and fluffy. The longer you beat, the fluffier the eggs will be. Feel free to use an electric mixer for 30 seconds if you prefer.
Season the eggs with salt and pepper.
Make sure your fillings are ready. When the time comes to add them, you’ll have to do it quickly so make sure anything that needs to be broken up or chopped is done so first.
Place a medium sized skillet over medium heat and add a two count of oil. Allow the oil to coat the pan entirely.
Pour the eggs gently into the pan in a steady stream right in the middle. The eggs should spread out evenly but if not, slightly tilt the pan to allow them to do use. Let them cook for a few seconds and then use a spatula to pull in the outer parts of the cooked egg, allowing the liquid egg in the center to spread out to the sides. It’s okay if there is still some liquid egg in the center but you want MOST of it to drain out to the edges so it can cook evenly without a lot of liquid inside.
Now stop touching it. Seriously. Instead, go get your tomatoes and bring them over. Once the egg has thickened a little (it will still be a bit wet, but will look somewhat solid) lay out your tomatoes on one half of the omelet. Spread them out as evenly as possible.
Now drop the little chunks of goat cheese on top of the same half.
Immediately after doing this, use a spatula to loosen the edges of the other (topping-less) half. Jiggle the spatula under it gently to release that half of the egg from the pan.
Now gripping the spatula handle firmly with one hand, flip the topping-less egg portion over the other half. It’s OK if it doesn’t cover it completely, just use the tip to gently slide it over. Leave to cook for another 15 seconds and then bring the pan over to your plate. Slide the spatula under the omelet and tilting the pan about 45 degrees toward your plate, slide the omelet out and onto the plate.
Arrange the salad on the other half of your plate. Drizzle with the dressing. And serve immediately!