"Welcome to the Omelette Show!"
I have become a bit ... single-minded lately. Some might even say obsessed. All I want to do is make - and eat - omelettes. Not exactly post-holiday diet food, but at least they're no-carb, right?
It's all Poppa Trix's fault. He just couldn't bear to be predictable and get me Julie & Julia for Christmas, oh no. It's just as well, really. I'll see it eventually, but I have absolutely no doubt that the Julie character's incessant whining is going to irritate me to no end. So instead he got me something that's (in my opinion) far superior: a collection of The French Chef, Child's groundbreaking PBS cooking show.
I'm addicted! I had forgotten how truly loopy, charming, and sweet this woman was. Poppa Trix and I repeat Julia-isms - "Don't let the butter brown. It tastes cheap!" or "Take a sip of wine and make a lovely comment, which you'll know how to do if you read good books." - over and over. We scream out words (in our best Julia falsettos, of course) like "Piperade!" or "Swiss cheese!" or "Parsley!" apropos of nothing.
And it really does cook in 20 or 30 seconds, if you get your pan good and hot. You know the temperature is right when the butter stops foaming, just before it begins to brown. When the eggs hit the pan, they should sizzle and begin to bubble immediately. Wait just a few seconds, then start twirling the pan counterclockwise. In a few more seconds, shake the pan back and forth, allowing the eggs to get to the furthest edge away from you before jerking the pan back towards you. The only real trick is not being afraid to shake that pan:
But Julia taught me that no omelette party would be complete without the King of Omelettes, le gateau omni-omelette. Or, as I lovingly call it, the Megalomelette (as in, Godzilla vs. Megalomelette):
A gateau omelette consists of single layers of unfolded omelette, separated by a variety of fillings (or toppings, depending on how you look at it) and, in Julia's recipe, completely surrounded by creme fraiche. She described it as a "flying saucer," and as soon as she pulled this bizarre creation out of the oven, I knew I had to make it.
For her mega-omni-omelette, she alternated between piperade, a reduced stew of onions, green peppers, and tomatoes, and sauteed mushrooms. For my version, I stuck with the piperade, which Poppa Trix volunteered to make - and he made yummy work of it! In fact, he did a little research and discovered that piperade is a Basque recipe; and indeed, you can clearly taste (and see) the Spanish/Mediterranean influence.
Are you ready to amaze your friends at your next omelette party and make your very own sky-high stacked crazy le gateau omelette? Here's how:
For the piperade, simply saute sliced onions and green pepper in olive oil until soft, and add enough canned plum tomatoes to cover. Add salt and pepper, reduce the heat, and let it all simmer down into a flavorful mass.
Your omni-omelette can be as many layers as you like. I whisked together seven eggs with a little salt and pepper, and used one ladleful of egg for each layer until I ran out. Again, get your pan good and hot. You'll need roughly one tbsp of butter for each layer. Proceed in the same way as if you were making a regular omelette, only don't shake the pan. Slide each layer onto a plate, alternating between filling and egg, and topping it off with some piperade for color:
Now here's where things get a little crazy. As if layers of egg and butter and filling weren't enough, Julia now instructs us to grate Swiss cheese over our monster omelette and surround it with creme fraiche:
You pop the whole thing into a 425 degree oven for about 5-6 minutes. I had my doubts about how this would taste - I was afraid it was going to be utter chaos in my mouth, but I should have trusted Julia. The creme fraiche, eggs, and sweet piperade were wonderful together. Rich? You bet! But a very little goes a long way:
This was my dinner, and it was more than enough! You can see what a tiny dent two servings made in the massive King of Omelettes:
So what are you waiting for? Go throw your own omelette party! You only need about 500 eggs and a willingness to pretend that there is no such thing as cholesterol.