Sunday, February 8, 2009

Caprese, by Any Other Name is Just as Tasty

I realized that I have never really touched on breakfast. Oh, there was the Eggs Benedict Italiano, but I was eating that as a light dinner. But it suddenly struck me this morning that, being the most important meal of the day, it seems to get swept under the rug in favor of a piece of toast and a cup of coffee (which is, admittedly, how I usually start my work day) When struck by this epiphany, I was still trying to imbibe enough caffeine to reach a state of semi-coherence.

I have discovered that the pre-semi-coherent stage is the best time to watch the news, since the brain is still, thankfully, numb to the massive amounts of drivel presented, but lucid enough to pick up on the occasional story of importance; like the state of the economy. However, once coherency reaches a certain point, it is time to turn away from CNN’s breaking story regarding how
Anna Nichol Smith’s favorite color was pink or new developments in the Brad/Angelina/Jen saga. <-- Insert eye roll here --> and begin contemplating morning sustenance.

I have never been a big fan of cereal, at least not as an adult, but I LOVE eggs… Fried eggs, poached eggs, scrambled eggs, boiled eggs, baked eggs (en cocotte) or even broiled (frittata)…. (No microwaves need apply) But personally, I think eggs only reach their true potential when manifest
as an omelet.

Oh Yeah Baby! That’s what I’m talkin’ ‘bout!

Whether a simple Omelet du Fromage or the over-stuffed Denver, omelettes are truly the “bees knees”.
I am normally a big fan of the simply preparation of a sprinkle of salt and pepper, a little red chili flake and a little Parmegiano-Reggiano. This morning, though, I decided I wanted something a little different, and, more than likely spurred by my Mozzarella Madness on Friday night, I decided on a Caprese Omelet.

This was not without it’s dangers, for semi-coherence is not really a point at which you want to be brandishing sharp objects in the kitchen… But with a little concentration, your efforts will be rewarded.

Now I have to admit, I was taught that omelettes are these big thick puffy things that crack along the sides when folded in half.
This is the standard presentation in diners and greasy spoons all over the U.S. Here I must pause to thanks Alton Brown for showing me the light, and the potential that is a properly prepared omelet. That crepe-thin firm exterior hiding a filling wrapped in creamy custard-y deliciousness. For it is not so much a recipe as a method or preparation.

Let us begin with a little basil chiffonade:
Simply take 3 basil leaves, roll them tightly and begin slicing in thin ribbons.

Next, take out your 4 oz ball of fresh mozzarella and slice it VERY thin and pat dry with a paper towel or your omelet filling will be watery.
Not I used sun dried tomatoes in olive oil, cause fresh ones are a little too juicy and create a watery interior.

OK, Our prep work is done, everyone still have all their fingers? Good, let us proceed.

For 1 omelet you will need.

Filling ingredients prep’ed and ready (for an omelet is fast, so all filling should be ready to go)
An inexpensive12-inch non-stick skillet. (Mine cost $4.50 at Wal-Mart… I have had it for 6 years, it’s the only non-stick pan I own, and all I cook in it are omelets.)
3 eggs
A small bowl or glass-measuring cup
Salt and pepper
a stick of butter, it’s just easier that way.
A small wooden or plastic spoon for stirring (I use the bamboo one that came with my rice cooker)

OK, down to business, I am getting hungry.

Crack 3 eggs into a glass container, be it a measuring cup or a bowl.
Beat the eggs lightly with a fork, adding a little salt and pepper until well combined.

Meanwhile, set your skillet over Medium-Low heat (This is important, when you cook eggs too fast they get rubbery)
Rub the interior lightly with the end of a stick of butter (Not too much, only about 1 tsp for lubrication, even though it is a
non-stick pan, eggs are notorious for sticking anyway)
When the foaming subsides, you are ready to pour in your eggs and begin stirring them with the spoon, just lightly, but keep the moving for the first 20-30 seconds…

Clean up the edges a little with the spoon, then wait another 30 seconds.
Begin by laying down the sun dried tomatoes, then the thin slices of mozzarella, then apply a little basil and finally
sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper.

Test the edges of the omelet, by lifting slightly, to see if it is loose.
As the center reaches the gel stage, it is time to start folding your omelet.
I toss the pan for the first fold, but you can do it with your spoon by very carefully sliding underneath the leading edge and lifting gently. The edge should just cover the ingredients.
Then grab the handle from underneath and take the pan to the plate, tip the pan and let the omelet slid partially onto the plate, catching the unfolded edge with the edge of the pan and push it over into a tri-fold like a business letter…

Sprinkle with a little more basil and dig in as soon as possible, for a cold omelet it just NOT a good thing.

You may keep it warm in a 150-200 degree oven, if you need to make another one or two or three…

Thanks Alton!!!!



Donna-FFW said...

Sounds delicious, fantastic idea. Love caprese salad, sometimes I put it over chicken cutlets, never thought to use for an omelet. YUM!

Michele said...

You're very original! I love it!

Spryte said...

That looks so good!!