Saturday, January 7, 2017

Upgraded Breakfast - Omelette with Onion Sauce

It's Saturday morning. You were able to sleep in, and you're finally awake enough to want breakfast. You have a little more energy than usual, but not enough that you want to go through some hour-long ritual to make breakfast. But you also want something a little nicer than usual. What to do? Coincidentally, I found myself in just that spot about an hour ago. I would have made bacon and eggs, but the bacon was still frozen. So, omelette. But plain omelettes are kind of boring sometimes. Maybe sauteed onions? I wanted a little texture, and I never mess with the eggs themselves; the more junk you add to the eggs, the more the eggs stick to the pan, and usually the eggs or the other crap drown out the flavor of one another, so instead I will put things like onions in the middle. I wanted a little texture, so I cut the onion lengthwise to make lots of parentheses. If you want to cut them another way, that's up to you. I think having larger pieces makes it a little more pleasant for caramelized onions, but it's entirely up to you. Nice big pan, sautee the onions on medium heat to caramelize with a big pat of butter. I used one small onion and about a tablespoon of butter. Once the onions are sizzling, make sure to turn the heat down to low or medium low. If you leave the heat up, the onions will burn, and we don't want that. You want the heat high enough to cook, but not so high that the outside cooks too much faster than the inside. That's where the shape of the onion you chopped becomes really important, because it changes the ratio of the surface area to the volume, and thus the necessary time and temperature necessary. Once the onions were sauteed, I put them aside and added a pat of butter to the pan. At this point I notticed that the bottom of the pan had nicely browned from the onions, and the wheels in my head began to turn. I thought about how, if this were a roast, I would be deglazing the pan to get all those lovely flavors, but in an omelette they go to waste. What if I could somehow deglaze the pan and get those lovely complex flavors? I made a standard four egg omelette with a nice sharp white cheddar cheese and set that aside. Quickly, add about three tablespoons of butter to the pan and let it melt. Feel free to move it around the pan to melt faster. Once melted, it should be getting pretty warm, add a teaspoon of flour and then mix this in the pan. Let the pan continue to heat to cook the roux, then add a splash of half and half. If you need real measurements, I would guess around 1/3 - 1/2 cup. Whisk or mix this so that it all becomes homogenous and add more half and half as necessary. Once homogenous, add the caramelized onions and stir, stir, stir, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan with your spoon or spatula as you go. This is where it gets a little bit tricky. The sauce will thicken, thicken, and then without warning will seize. It's okay- add a little more half and half and whisk it around and it will be okay. Remember what happened so you don't do that again next time though. The omelette by this time will have had a chance to have everything inside nice and fully melted. Pour the onion sauce on top and eat immediately. You get the sweetness from the caramelized onion and the sugars from the half and half beautifully contrasting the sharpness of the cheddar cheese, plus a certain savory complexity from the deglazing. This is a really nice and simple way to nice your next breakfast a little nicer without needing to do much more work. I would add a photo, but the moment I had a taste (ditto my wife) it was inhaled. One interesting variant may be to deconstruct the omelette a little further and make a cheddar sauce to replace the cheddar filling. I think that might be going a little far, but it would be a fun experiment. If you decide to go for it before I do, let me know how it goes!