Omelet Café de la Paix

cropI think of this as “Roger’s Omelet,” from the scene in Murder in the South of France when Maggie and Roger meet up at the Café de la Paix and Roger buys her a $85US omelet that is so amazingly good she ceases her haranguing of him (well, temporarily. She is Maggie, after all) to remark on how delicious it is. I wrote that scene spurred by a memory of another mindbogglingly good omelet at a Paris café, not at all famous. My mother and I were there together and exhausted and hungry from shopping. We ordered the omelets with pommes frites and ice-cold Coca-colas. I’ll never forget the meal or the day. My mother is over ninety and she and I still talk about that lunch.

My father taught me to make (and flip!) omelets when I was a teenager and they are a weekly staple in my house. While I am a die-hard fan of the simple egg omelet (perhaps with just a dusting of parmesan cheese), I’ve gotten used to making them with ham and cheese for my son. The great thing about omelets, as I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you, is that you can put just about anything in them. You do need to use some restraint as to amount, I have to say, or it can all dump out of the eggy “envelope” pretty easily–and forget flipping it with a practiced jerk of the wrist if you’ve overloaded the vehicle!

You’ll need eggs, butter and whatever you intend to season it with. Get your skillet hot–and this is one of the few times I’m happy to use a coated pan–and add the butter liberally. Don’t leave a spot ungreased if you know what’s good for you. Beat two eggs and a dribble of water in a bowl and add the mixture to the bubbling, nearly browning butter. Move it all around until it coats the whole bottom of the pan and let it cook to set. I don’t think it’s cheating to use a spatula to “help” the egg around a bit if it’s not cooking evenly (and it never does.)

When it looks to still be very wet but cooked around the edges, add your “innards”–sliced cherry tomatoes or cheese or diced ham or whatever you like. Let it set and then, facing the pan, give the handle a sharp jerk to force one side of the omelet to fold over. Once you’ve managed it, turn the pan around to reposition it and flip the other side too so that you’ve “folded” your omelet in on itself. I like it nice and brown on the bottom so I typically turn off the heat at this point and let it sit in the pan for a minute or two, then slide it onto a plate (hopefully one you’ve kept in a warm oven…eggs get cold fast!) Add more cheese on top and maybe a few more sliced tomatoes.

If you have pommes frites handy, that would be good. You can forgo the Cokes. I’m sure that was just the magic of the day talking. But a nice Côte de Rhône wouldn’t go amiss.

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