An Omelette and a Glass of Wine

Some of you may be aware that I have co-opted the title of the blog post for Elizabeth David’s iconic little tome about the wonder and joy of food. I do not think she would mind though given that this latest entry is an homage in every sense of the word to the spirit of that book. “An Omelette and  Glass of Wine” is in many ways an exploration of the many nuances of food from the simple to the elaborate, from a small town in the South of France to your kitchen at home. I love the title because it suggests something so basic, yet so delightfull…an omelette and a glass of wine. Who could ask for more really?

The other night, New Years Day night to be precise, I was feeling under the weather, either from the head cold that has recently taken hold of my sinuses or the festivities from the night before…probably both. Needless to say, I was not in the mood for anything elaborate but I yearned for something comforting, home cooked and cheap (the holidays this year being particularly unkind to my pocketbook). I settled on something my Uncle Bill had made for us when we were in California for my Grandmother’s 94th Birthday this past week. I forget the french term but it is basically an “omelette from the forest” or something like that. In it he put potatoes, spinach, bacon and mushrooms. It was more “frittata” style without the baking or cooking on both sides, so the top was lovely and creamy, despite the shocking lack of cheese, and studded with tender Yukon Gold potatoes, salty bacon, just wilted spinach and mushrooms sautéed in butter. I didn’t actually see him make the whole thing so I had to make it up as I went along but here is the recipe that I came up with:

Ingredients (for two hungry people): two small Yukon Gold potatoes, 3 slices of bacon, a handful of baby spinach, 3 mid-sized Crimini mushrooms, 3 mid-sized shiitake mushrooms, 1/4 of a small onion, 7 eggs, butter.

Directions: First I set the potatoes to boil until fork tender (about 15 minutes). While that was going on I cooked the bacon in an 11.5 inch frying pan and drained to a paper towel lined plate and gave the mushrooms and about a quarter of a smallish onion and rough chop. When the potatoes were finished I wiped out the bacon pan with a paper towel, leaving the slightest hint of bacon fat behind and adding to that a knob of butter (about a tablespoon – those mushrooms can get very absorbent). When the butter was hot but not browning yet, smelling ever so slightly of bacon, I added the onion and mushrooms, cooking until the mushrooms were soft and the onion just beginning to get some color. To that I added the roughly chopped potato (the pieces should be large enough so that they are a healthy bite along with some egg – Yukons are so delicious that you don’t want them to get lost). When the potato started to get a little golden on the edges, I added the handful of baby spinach and cooked until wilted – 2 or 3 minutes, stirring a few times. Finally I added the 7 eggs which had been beaten with about 3 tablespoons of whole milk. I then sprinkled on the bacon which had been patted down to get rid of some of the grease and torn  into rough pieces. At this time I made sure the heat was on medium low. I didn’t want to over cook the bottom but I also didn’t want the top to be runny. There should still be some movement to the egg on top. Don’t be afraid of that. It will become wonderfully creamy, almost as if there is cheese on it. To help the cooking along, I occasionally tore a little hole in the center where the pan was the hottest and let some of the runny egg from the sides fill the void. When you can shake the pan and the egg on top moves ever so slightly but doesn’t run around the pan, it is done. Cut into quarters and serve…with a green salad and a glass of wine of course!

This will definitely become a staple of our kitchen. Thanks Uncle Bill and Elizabeth David!

One response to “An Omelette and a Glass of Wine

  1. Dear Sara,

    That’s about as close as you can get without actually seeing the preparation (though it sounds more organized the way you put it than the throw-together, whirlwind approach I had the feeling I was taking). I did use some parsley as well and a bit of sea salt and ground pepper. It’s called “une omelette forestière,” which is nearly exactly the words you used. It’s meant to keep outdoorsmen and women warm during the winter. Make sure the wine is red! With it and a little French bread you’re sure to feel better. Love, Uncle Bill

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