There was a touch of routine in this evening’s supper for I almost always have an omelette on Tuesday evenings. The reason for this is that it’s my book club night and I have to eat early and don’t want to eat anything heavy before I go out. So an omelette is perfect.
We meet every week, which always sounds alarming when I mention it to anyone. But we only read one novel (or long book) a month (1st Tuesday) and this is followed by weeks of Poetry, Short stories or novella, and a Theme (last week’s theme was ‘books that made you laugh aloud’). On 5th Tuesdays – only four times a year – we all go out for a meal. Tonight should have been the meal but we’re all locked inside due to the coronavirus pandemic. We continue to read our list though (mapped out until end of July) and communicate our thoughts by email, which are put on our blog (click here). Why not take a look at it and let us know if you’ve read any of the things we’re talking about?
I usually make a traditional French-style omelette or an Italian frittata. But the last week or two has seen me doing things differently in the kitchen; having to make do often with what I have rather than what I’d like to cook with. It’s seen me stretching some ingredients or finding ways to use leftovers up better, perhaps to made another meal. When we’re not going out to shop so much and it’s hard to get deliveries, we have to make do with what we’ve got for longer. Eggs have been hard to come by but luckily for me the local Italian deli has been keeping me supplied.
The ingredients I used tonight were the same as if I’d cooked the omelette another way (click here), so I wasn’t using up nor making do. But I think this growing tendency to look differently at what I might do with ingredients – or certainly midweek when I’ve been working and want to keep things simple – made me remember The Soufflé Omelette. This is something I used to make quite often many years ago but had all but forgotten about. What reminded me of it, I haven’t a clue! But I went with the thought and so this is what I cooked for supper tonight.
Soufflé Omelette with Spinach, Parmesan & Chives – Serves One
- about 100-125g baby spinach
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 large eggs
- small bunch of chives, chopped
- about a 10g piece of butter
First of all prepare the spinach. I like to put it in a bowl, swish it around so any grit loosens and drops to the bottom. Carefully lift the leaves out into a small saucepan with lid. Push down and put the lid on. The water on the washed spinach is enough to cook it in. Cook over a moderate heat until wilting, stirring from time to time. When it looks cooked – but not a complete mush and you can still see some bits of almost uncooked leaves – take from the heat, and drain, squashing the spinach down with a wooden spoon to get out as much liquid as you can. Put the cooked spinach back in the saucepan with the lid on to keep as warm as you can while you make the omelette. Also heat your grill at this point.
Put 1 whole egg in a small jug or mug, then separate the other 2, putting the yolks in with the whole egg and the whites into another larger jug.
Put the chives and some seasoning into the egg yolks and whole egg. Whisk together. Then whisk the egg whites until you get to the soft peak stage.
Tip the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites and very gently fold together. Be as gentle as you can; do it slowly so that you don’t break down all the air trapped in the whisked egg whites.
Put the butter in an omelette pan and heat until frothing. Then pour the egg mixture into the pan. Shake the pan a little to spread right across. Now cook over a moderate heat until the underneath is nicely browned.
You can check it’s done by carefully lift up an edge with a spatula.
Put the pan under the hot grill and cook until pale golden brown on top.
Remove from the grill and cut across the middle of the omelette with a sharp knife, but not right through. This is to make it easier to fold at the end.
Spoon the cooked spinach on it, slightly to one side. Grate over a generous shower of Parmesan. Fold in half as you transfer to a warm plate and grate over a little more Parmesan. I had no green salad – my usual accompaniment with an omelette – so I made a salad from some tomato, cucumber and a little finely sliced red onion.
It did look very impressive and delicious. And it tasted delicious too. I liked the soft airy texture – the soufflé effect! Putting the chives into the egg before cooking is also a good way of getting the most from their flavour.
It did all look a bit more special than my standard omelette. I’m not sure it tastes better than the French kind or a frittata, it’s just different and just as nice. It offers an alternative when eggs are to hand and you fancy making an omelette with them and allows you to ring the changes with the same ingredients.
I had some spinach as the deli brought some a couple of days ago, but you could put other fillings in – some mushrooms sliced and fried in butter or maybe some bacon. The things that go well with eggs are many.
It’s not a recipe for a crowd – really only one or two, I think, as you need to serve it immediately. I guess you could make a bigger one for two and cut it in half. For family cooking I prefer to make a frittata. When my son and family were living with me for a time I used to make a huge frittata with about 10 eggs in a large pan and we’d have slices (similar to a Spanish tortilla) with salad.