French Omelet with Shallot, Mushrooms & Sunchoke, Served with Sausage, Frisée & Pear Salad, and a Mimosa
This is my first cooking post, so don't bother digging back for more recipes.
Ingredients: (base amounts on number of servings, don't overdo it)
very fresh duck and/or chicken eggs (~2.5 per serving)
butter, olive oil
kosher salt, fresh black pepper, fresh thyme
fresh forest mushrooms
medium-firm french cow/goat cheese (e.g. Chaubier)
frisée or other delicious greens
1 firm, ripe Bosc pear
fresh rosemary sausages
champagne & orange juice
Budget 45 minutes for 2-6 people. Keep in mind that each omelet takes about 3 minutes which will add time for large groups. (Unless you have two omelet pans and can run them simultaneously... I can't!)
It's mushroom season in Oregon and I lucked out at Pastaworks. The mushroom I found was called Cauliflower, it was the size of half a basketball and looked like a translucent coral reef, or maybe a bouquet of cooked noodles. I had to tear off a large chunk, and spend quite a while cleaning the pine needles and dirt out of the many folds. For me it smelled like memories: although it was lighter in color, this was a near match to the ones Mom used to pick in Idaho when I was about 3 years old and she was toting me around in a backpack. Those were darker in color and a little woodier, but I've always remembered the smell, which was very similar. This was a birthday breakfast for her, and she said they smelled "like Spring."
The grouchy Pastaworks cheesemonger lady recommended Chaubier for omelets which was a minor coup. It's halfway between firm and soft so it's good for both cutting and melting, with a clean creamy flavor up front and a goaty kick at the finish. On a whim I decided to add a little sunchoke for texture. The folks are gluten-free, otherwise I might have toasted wedges of baguette to accompany – although to be honest, toast usually fucks up my timing.
Clean mushrooms thoroughly, begin sautéing in olive oil over medium heat in a large pan. Reduce heat after a few minutes when the mushrooms start to release water. Use a decent amount of oil since they'll drink it up.
Poke holes in the sausages and braise in a covered pan with a little water until up to temp, then angle slice them, dump the water, brown them and drain on a paper towel. Place in the oven set to warm (about 200º), along with all serving plates. You don't want the oven to get hot, so you may want to turn it off after a few minutes when it's warm.
Meanwhile clean, coarsely chop, lightly dress frisée; thinly slice pear; put both in fridge.
Add finely-sliced shallots to mushrooms. Reduce heat and continue cooking. Add fresh thyme and salt it pretty heavily, as it is a sparse filling element (and since you are using more forgiving kosher salt - NEVER use iodized salt for cooking). This is not a fast sauté, the ingredients are delicate. Give it upwards of 10 minutes for each of the two rounds. Try not to brown the ingredients for as long as possible, and call it done when they eventually start to brown.
Crack and check each egg in a small bowl first, then combine and beat with some water and salt.
Slice sunchoke into thin discs and add to sauté a minute or two before taking it off the heat.
Pause, catch up
Place mixture in the warm oven if not yet ready to rock & roll. This is a good break point to prep the mimosas and be sure the table is ready (sans plates, which are in the oven) and guests can be seated by the time the omelets are cooked, you're about 15 minutes out now for a table of 4. If you're going to make toast you should probably get it ready to go at this point, since once the omelets are done you'll want to serve them immediately. It's a good idea to grab a helper at this point and have them prep the mimosas and toast while you do the eggs, since making french omelets requires your full attention and you will make them in a back-to-back series.
Cooking the omelets
When ready, divide filling into little piles on a plate, one for each omelet. Each pile should only be 2-3 tablespoons, no more. Slice about 3 small slices of cheese on each filling pile, don't overdo it. Keep the plate next to stove and get a 1-cup measuring cup to dip the eggs out with.
Prepare each omelet using the classic French technique:
- allow pan to fully heat, until butter foams and becomes aromatic, but should not brown
- add roughly 3/4 cup of eggs, slide the pan back and forth quickly over the heat to form a custard
- allow eggs to set a bit, use a rubber spatula to scrunch in the edges, lift an edge and tip if too wet on top
- add filling, then tilt pan and pound the handle, eggs will magically curl over 1/3 of the way
- allow omelet to fully heat through, but not get too brown or lose its fluffy, custardy interior
- flip the pan to roll it onto one of the heated plates, it will make a perfect little roll (if not, give it a tuck)
- put each one on one of the warmed plates and return to warm oven until all are made
Plate omelet and a few sausage slices next to frisée salad topped with a few pear slices. Sprinkle salt and grind pepper over the entire plate to add a little drama. Serve promptly with a mimosa.