At one time I thought of an omelet and a glass of wine as a solitary repast, perfect for enjoying a quiet, and elegant, meal alone. It’s a notion introduced by the brilliant and lusty food writer Elizabeth David who, in spite of being quite petite, held forth with great gusto in numerous engaging cookbooks, among them a volume of her journalistic essays titled An Omelet and a Glass of Wine. Then, one starry night I was romanced with an omelet and a glass of wine by my future husband, Rick Wise.
Countless possibilities arise for what “extras,” if any, to include: herb(s), which can be tarragon (a particularly delicious pairing with eggs), or chives, or parsley or dill; a melting cheese, which can be cheddar or gruyere or any number of other melting cheeses; instead of a cheese, a few slivers of smoked salmon or prosciutto; bits of vegetable, such as asparagus, or leafy greens, like arugula. The list goes on and on because almost anything goes with eggs. One should not be over exuberant in piling on the extras, however; the eggs should be the stars here.
Of course, the eggs, because this is a celebration of simple sustenance, should be from pastured chickens and be fresh from the farm. For a delightfully rich and satisfying variation on chicken eggs, try pastured duck eggs, a recent arrival in farmers’ markets, gourmet food boutiques, and CSA boxes. Two eggs serve 1 person generously. Hearty eaters may prefer 3 eggs. More modest eaters may be happy sharing a 3-egg omelet.
Also, much has been written about the “how” of making an omelet: size and shape of pan; optimal number of eggs; extras or not, and so on. Some like to fold the cooked omelet in half; others prefer thirds. These are matters of taste more than science. Here’s how Rick does it; the best ever!
Serves 1 to 2
2 to 3 large eggs
1/2 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons thinly sliced scallions, including tender green tops
Freshly ground black pepper, for garnish (optional)
1. Crack the eggs into a small bowl and beat them lightly with a fork.
2. Melt the butter in a 10-inch (medium-size) saute pan over medium heat. As soon as it starts to sizzle, pour the beaten eggs into the pan. As curds form, after about 40 seconds to 1 minute, with a wooden spoon or similar instrument, pull one side of the omelet partway toward the middle and tilt the pan so the still-liquid middle flows out to the edges.
3. When the bottom is set and the top is still creamy, sprinkle the Parmesan and scallions (or other filling) across the top, holding out a pinch of the scallions for garnish. (The total time from when the eggs first go into the pan to the end is about 2 minutes.)
4. With a fork or spatula, fold the omelet in half or thirds, sprinkle the reserved green onions over the top, along with the black pepper, if using. Serve right away, accompanied by a glass or two of wine, white or red.