Sunday, January 26, 2014

An omelette and a glass of wine

When I'm feeling a bit under the weather I tend to nurture myself with comfort food.  It could be a hearty rich beef stew and herby dumplings, or maybe dense cheesey macaroni and bacon; sometimes tho' I want something altogether lighter; something smooth and easy to eat and digest and at those times I turn to the trusty egg.  I love boiled egg and sourdough toast or buttery scrambled eggs, but for me the omelette is the main event.  Once upon a time there was a very famous hotel in France, on the Mont St Michel off the coast of Normandy.  Here the proprietress, a Madame Poulard, became famous, or even infamous, for her omelettes.  Many tried to second guess her secret to this most amazing, yet simple dish until she put the matter to rest in a letter:
Monsier Viel, Here is the recipe for the omelette: I break some good eggs in a bowl, I beat them well, I put a good piece of butter in the pan, I throw the eggs into it and I shake it constantly.  I am happy, Monsieur, if this recipe pleases you.  Annette Poulard

So that is the recipe for success.  Simplicity.  Fresh eggs, butter and you're done.  Here is what Elizabeth David says of the omelette:

As to the omelette itself, it seems to me to be a confection which demands the most straightforward approach.  What one wants is the taste of the fresh eggs and the fresh butter and, visually, a soft bright golden roll plump and spilling out a little at the edges.  It should not be a busy, important urban dish but something gentle and pastoral, with the clean scent of the dairy, the kitchen garden, the basket of early morning mushrooms or the sharp tang of freshly picked herbs, sorrel, chives, tarragon.  And although there are those who maintain that wine and egg dishes don't go together I must say I do regard a glass or two of wine as not, obviously, essential but at least as an enormous enhancement of the enjoyment of a well cooked omelette.  Hear, hear!!

Here is her recipe; it's as good as any and more delicious than most!

Omelette Moliere
Beat one tablespoon of finely grated parmesan with three eggs and a little pepper.  Warm the pan and put in half an ounce of butter, when it bubbles and is about to change colour add the eggs.  Add one tablespoon of gruyere and very thick cream and tip the pan towards you easing some of the mixture away from the edge.  Then tip the other way tipping the egg back into the space with some of the still liquid egg.  By the time you have done this twice the gruyere should have melted and the omelette is ready.  Fold it over in three with a palette knife and serve immediately on a warm plate. 

With a glass of wine, obviously.

image:  Manger

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