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Garden-of-Green omelet

January 22, 2010

It takes a special touch to make a one-egg omelet feel bountiful and lush. The word itself—or at least the French omelette—sparks visions of fluffy, unctuous folds, all soft and golden and full of grace, like little pillowy half-haloes. That’s hard to achieve with a single egg.

Nonetheless, last weekend a bold young omelet maker, not daunted in the least by the lonely egg left in the carton, made a one-egg omelet that was lush and lovely as an English garden in springtime. She dubbed it the Garden-of-Green omelet—and it was quite the winter-morning wonder.

Here’s how it was done:

First, a sharp knife blade shaved the tips of broccoli florets into delicate confetti—tiny green starbursts, like a verdant version of Queen Anne’s lace.

Then came green onion, not slivered into thin white full moons, but chopped in bold chunks that marched almost all the way up the stalk, into the deeper greens.

The play of size and scale was wonderful: broccoli turned frill and lace; tender green onion turned tree trunk.

A fresh sprig of dill, refined and leafy, came in with the perfect fresh green note and its own distinctive flavor, along with the customary dash of herbes de provence. The whole thing was folded into and with the egg, and finished off with lemon juice to bring out the broccoli and dill flavors. (This last principle of bringing out flavor was carefully explained in a way that would put many adults I know to shame.)

The result was a glorious pairing of light lemony yellows and deep greens.

All of this may make the whole thing seem easy—a–tisket, a-tasket, a walk in the park. Don’t be misled. Cooking eggs to the perfect consistency is hard enough. And the one-egg omelet presents a particular set of technical challenges.

Add nothing and you end up with a very small morsel indeed, a kind of little slump. The single plain egg is arguably better suited to being soft-boiled, hard-cooked, poached, fried—presented in any form other than an omelet.

So some people try different ways to bulk it up. In his book The Perfect Egg and Other Secrets, translated from Italian, Aldo Buzzi professes liking one-egg omelets “the way they do them in Germany,” with “two spoonfuls of flour and about a teacup of milk” for every beaten egg. The signore will pardon me, but I wouldn’t call that an omelet; I would call that a crêpe.

But my omelet maker wasn’t going for gimmicks. She understands and respects the nature of the simple egg—and she tended her omelet like a garden.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 28, 2010 5:55 am

    Your omelet maker sounds like a passionate cook. I’d like her to make me a one egg omelet! You have a lovely way with words, ehillagnus!

  2. January 30, 2010 6:31 pm

    The omelet sounds like a work of art, but your writing also deserves that title. What lovely words.

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  1. More omelets, the Mère Poulard, and mussels a la Normande « the roots of taste

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