Saturday, June 18, 2011
An Omelet for my Dad
Father’s Day is this weekend and I am thinking about my Dad. He is a lovely man, kind and patient and always interested in whatever is going on with my two brothers and me. He shared his love of books, reading and travel with me at a young age and these are great loves of mine today. Since having my two sons, it warms my heart to see what a caring grandfather he is, too.
One of my favorite memories when I was quite young is of an elaborate treasure hunt game my Dad created for my siblings and me. We turned out all the lights in the house, and armed with a flashlight and our first written clue we ventured from the “safe zone” of the staircase into the “caves and swamps” in search of the next clue. My Dad hid as a swamp monster or other creature and let out growls and noises to add shivers to our venture. Each time we found the next clue, we ran screaming with glee to the safety of the staircase to figure the riddle out. This could last for hours, and I so appreciate the time and effort my Dad put into thinking of creative clues and hiding in dark corners and under tables.
Looking back, memories of my Dad in the kitchen revolve around pancake making. My Mom did all the cooking while I was growing up, sharing recipes and teaching me. She is a marvelous cook and baker and makes the most incredible pie crusts (pie crust cookies are a favorite of my Dad’s, made from leftover scraps). On Saturday mornings, though, he would create works of art for my brothers and me in the forms of dinosaurs and silver dollar pancakes. We loved them!
Cheese omelets remind me of my Dad, since this is a favorite meal he enjoys any time of day. Recalling a French rolled omelet I had seen in Cook’s Illustrated a couple of years ago, I located the recipe and made it in his honor. I love the technique used here of scrambling the eggs using chopsticks.
My Dad is always ready to share a bottle of Champagne, so be sure to have some chilled bubbly ready to pop and enjoy with this fluffy, buttery omelet. Cheers to you, Dad, and to all you fabulous fathers!
French Omelet from Cook’s Illustrated
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces
6 large eggs, cold
Table salt and ground black pepper
1/2teaspoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons shredded Gruyere cheese
4 teaspoons minced fresh chives
Cut 1 tablespoon butter in half again. Cube remaining tablespoon butter into small dice, transfer to small bowl, and place in freezer while preparing eggs and skillet, at least 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place oil in 8-inch nonstick skillet and heat over low heat 10 minutes.
Crack 2 eggs into medium bowl and separate third egg; reserve white for another use and add yolk to bowl. Add 1/8 teaspoon salt and pinch of pepper. Break yolks with fork, then beat eggs at moderate pace, about 80 strokes, until yolks and whites are well combined. Stir in half of frozen butter cubes.
When skillet is fully heated, use paper towels to wipe out oil, leaving thin film on bottom and sides of skillet. Add ½ tablespoon reserved butter piece to skillet and heat until foaming subsides, 45 to 90 seconds. Swirl butter to coat skillet, add egg mixture, and increase heat to medium-high. Use 2 chopsticks or wooden skewers to scramble eggs using quick circular motion to move around skillet, scraping cooked egg from side of skillet as you go, until eggs are almost cooked but still slightly runny, 45 to 90 seconds.
Turn off heat (remove skillet from heat if using electric burner) and smooth eggs into even layer using rubber spatula. Sprinkle omelet with 1 tablespoon cheese and 2 teaspoons chives. Cover skillet with tight-fitting lid and let sit 1 minute for runnier omelet and 2 minutes for firmer omelet.
Heat skillet over low heat 20 seconds, uncover, and, using rubber spatula, loosen edges of omelet from skillet. Place folded square of paper towel onto warmed plate and slide omelet out of skillet onto paper towel so that omelet lies flat on plate and hangs about 1 inch off paper towel. Roll omelet into neat cylinder and set aside. Return skillet to low heat and heat 2 minutes before repeating instructions for second omelet. Serve on warm plates.