Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sunday Morning Eggs

I'm tired. Very, very tired. Exhausted actually. And, as a result, I've been doing lots of things I don't normally do, like weeping every hour on the hour, forgetting things (like meals, my migraine meds, days of the week), driving fifteen minutes past my intended destinations, sleeping later than usual. As a child, my mother would have said I was "run down", and that is exactly how I feel--run down and totally depleted. This week alone I am juggling my regular harried schedule, four deadlined projects, a two-day tag sale, and a bridal shower way out in Queens, all while trying to pack for my upcoming move. So, I've decided that come this Sunday, I am going to do what my mother would have done for me when I was feeling run down as a child--I'm going to make myself a really good breakfast. Oh, and I'm going to eat it in bed.

Saturday morning--before schlepping to Queens--I will stop at the farmers market to pick up some fresh eggs (because once you've had freshly laid eggs, there's no turning back) which I will whip up into a fluffy Sunday morning omelet. On the side, I'll add some slices of ripe Beefsteak tomato, a few homemade sausage patties laced with fennel and maple syrup (these are beyond delicious, trust me), a big squirt of ketchup, and a couple of thick slices of buttered, whole grain toast. I will wash all of this deliciousness down with a glass of fresh orange juice, topped off with a splash of cranberry. If I am run down this week, certainly that breakfast will recharge my battery, give me the energy--and calories--I need to face the week ahead. At the very least, I will get to spend some time in the kitchen where I am always happiest, my energy level naturally increases, and the glass quickly changes from half empty to overflowing.

I can hardly wait for Sunday to arrive.

An omelet is one of those dishes that stunningly uses just a couple of ingredients, yet can vary greatly from kitchen to kitchen. For the uninitiated, preparing an omelet for the first time can be an anxiety-filled ordeal. Questions invariably arise: Should milk be added to the eggs or not? Should the omelet be cooked in butter, and if so, salted or unsalted? What about olive oil, or cooking it in a blend of butter and olive oil? What sort of pan works best—your everyday workhorse skillet, or a specially designed omelet pan? To make matters worse, instructions differ from cookbook to cookbook on what constitutes The Perfect Omelet. Well, there is no need to look any further, for below are my foolproof directions for turning out a classic three-egg omelet.

The pan
To make an omelet, you will need a good quality omelet pan or nonstick sauté pan that is about 6 inches across.

The eggs
Crack three of the freshest eggs you can find into bowl and beat them slightly with a fork; do not use a whisk and do not over-beat.

The fat
Place your pan over medium heat. Melt about a tablespoon of unsalted butter in the pan, then add a tablespoon of olive oil to the heated pan as well (note: if you don’t eat butter, you can use just olive oil to cook the eggs).

The cooking
Coat the pan evenly by tipping and rolling the butter around the inside, then pour in your eggs, and give the pan a bit of a shake to distribute them evenly across the cooking surface. Using a fork or thin rubber spatula, pull the cooked egg away from the edge of the pan and allow the uncooked liquid run into that open space. Repeat that process until there is no more runny egg remaining. (Note: At this point, you can add a bit of cheese, vegetables, or meat filling if you’d like.)

The folding
A classic French omelet looks like a letter folded in thirds, but there is no rule that says it can’t simply be folded in half as well. To fold, shake and slightly tilt the pan so that the omelet slides up the side of the pan towards the handle, and with a spatula either fold your omelet in half or—if you prefer the classic look—fold the edge of the omelet towards the center, then tip the pan back and fold the other side in. Remove the pan from the heat, and slide your omelet onto a plate. Add a bit of salt and pepper if you’d like, and enjoy your perfectly cooked eggs.

From my book, Summer: A User's Guide

1 tablespoon dried fennel seeds
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1/2-teaspoon black pepper
1 ½ lbs. ground pork (or, you can use Jones All Natural roll sausage if you want)
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1-tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil

In a mixing bowl, add all ingredients and mix with your hands or a spatula until well combined.
Add oil to a skillet and place over medium-high heat. Divide pork into 6 equal portions, and with your hand, form patties. Cook patties for approximately 4 or 5 minutes on each side, or until browned. Drain on paper towels before serving.
Makes 6 servings

No comments: