Sunday, August 29, 2010

Of 3 Eggs and a Little Wine

I always look forward to leftovers. Maybe it’s just a fetish and somehow I look forward to them every single time I open the refrigerator to decide what I am going to cook up. This Sunday was no different. Dreary eyed and slightly hungover from the night before, I dragged myself out of bed to hydrate and fill up.

A couple of glasses of chilled water and a hot shower later, feeling pine fresh, I decided to warm myself up to an indulgent breakfast. I checked out the ingredients I had and found:

3 eggs
Leftover Spinach and Corn casserole
A Tomato
A glass of Bio-White Wine (I’ll get to this in a while)
Few Slices of Bread
An intact Tin of Cheddar

As I sat there wondering that I could easily scramble that egg, top it over toast and zap the casserole and make it a quick meal followed by a swig of alcohol to cure the hangover (they say the best cure for a hangover is … another one?). I thought to myself, I am not in some frat house after a drunken night of revelry. I am in my home, a fine Sunday morning, after a late night dinner and incoherent babble with too many whiskey sours followed by Bio-Wine and finally losing consciousness on my cozy bed. So I had decided to make my lunch a little more exotic.

I got down to making what I call ... Leftover's Omelet (random, but well, cant call it just Omelet)

I love omelets on any given day, preferably as a breakfast food and a definite addition to Sunday morning meals. This time with 3 eggs in hand and the leftover casserole. A combination of these two was inevitable.

The typical version we are used to is with onions and chillies  This one turned out exotic enough, with it being stuffed with spinach casserole and the tomato. The casserole I had whipped up the night before contained a simple mix of white sauce, sweet yellow corn and spinach baked to perfection with a layer of crusty browned cheese.

I usually make omelets the quick way by torpedoing the eggs in a large vessel with a hand blender, but if you want to have a fluffy omelet with all its random layers intact and the filling which stays “a filling” and not mixed up with the layers, then you have go to whip it the traditional way – with a wire whisk or a fork. So 3 eggs into the mixing bowl and whisking away to glory, I ensure the yellows and the whites are well incorporated with whisk created air. Add salt to taste and whisk a couple of times more.

Mash up a small bowl of the leftover casserole with a fork, chop the tomato and separate the seeds, add to the casserole.

Heat a non-stick omelet pan on low and drop a spoon of butter. Swirl the butter till it coats the surface of the pan, carefully pour the whisked egg mix and do not shake the pan. The egg will find its way to the edges and settle down. Do not worry if the mix looks watery, looks can be deceptive and this is exactly what it’s supposed to look like. (Thumb rule of the making omelets – no fluff in the beginning if you want it fluffy in the end).

Turn up the heat to medium and with a knife, run the edges of the pan with a scoop of butter till it melts generously into the sides of the omelet. Spread the filling of casserole and tomato on one side of the omelet, sprinkle cheese and pepper if you like followed by finely chopped chillies and lots of parsley.

Once you are done with the filling step you will notice the edges of the omelet browning, this is the cue to start your folding process.

Now folding and omelet is no mean feat, there are different kind of folds a person tosses up judging by the personality of the person

Impatient: Just tosses / flips the omelet and cooks it both sides and digs in

Irritable: Tries his level best to fold it as a perfect package, but ends up breaking it halfway through due to high heat and slow folding process, loses it and slaps it onto his plate the nicer side up and digs in.

Lazy: Folds it any which way possible, most of the time manages it, does not care and gives up, landing up with half side cooked and half undercooked. Eats it anyway thinking its good for his body as the gym instructor suggests you should include raw eggs in your daily intake.

All of the above: A perfect combination, because if you are attempting to do this the first time – this is exactly what you will feel while folding an omelet.  

Coming back to the folding process, easier said than done, you have got to notice the edges of the omelet, if you see them slightly browned immediately lift one side of the omelet (doesn’t matter which side, remember – it is round). The middle of the omelet should be partially liquid the bottom light yellow but slightly undercooked and the edges slightly browned. Fold an edge till it reaches the middle part of the omelet while keeping it pressed lightly with your spatula. Toss some butter on the exposed pan area, and tilt the pan towards the side you are folding. By this time the folded part should have stuck to the middle of the omelet. Remove the spatula and shove it underneath the side of omelet with the exposed part of the pan, with a swift flick fold it over till the opposite edge, keep it pressed and you are set with a perfectly folded omelet.

You can now relax, and toss it around as much as you would like it browned adding more butter if required. I like mine well done so I overdo the butter and browning process but you can ideally remove it after one toss in the pan. Served hot with hot buttered toast and chunks of cheddar.

Certain rules you should follow
*do not overstuff
*do not let it cook too much before folding
*don’t add water, milk and the other additions you hear about to make your omelet fluffier.
*the key is in the continuous whisking, low temperatures and correct timing.

You are wondering where the Bio-Wine features here, well since a perfectly good wine should not go waste and the fact that there was no orange juice in the house, a tangy, refreshing, chilled drink is a perfect accompaniment to an omelet dish.

I had opened up a bottle of this so called Bio-Wine gifted to me by close associates the night before. It is brewed in India under the brand name “Shara” and contains aloe Vera. Odd, but the chenin blanc version tastes super and is mildly sweet and smooth (ridiculously smooth due to the aloe) and the best part – its healthy.

Though I did not want to have any more concentrated alcohol and could really do with something lemony, decided to throw together a few ingredients for a Spritzer.

Spritzer’s are diluted cocktail versions of wine and we usually associate themselves with brunches. The next time you have a hoard of people over and not enough wine to go around, whip up this delicious cocktail to lure the senses and save the trouble of frantic wine ordering on the phone.

1/4th glass of wine for every glass
Lemon Slices
Sugar Syrup (avoided if using extra sweet wine)
Mint Leaves
Lemon Fizz Drink or Soda

Pour the wine into a wine glass till 1/4th full. Add the lemon slices and chopped mint. Top with a handful of crushed ice followed by a little sugar syrup and soda/fizzy drink. Serve immediately.


Nikita said...

So this is what uve been doing every sunday huh? seems like ill have to crash this hangover party soon :p
great stuff nikhil.. keep it up.. my mouths already watering!!!

The knife said...

Hey great job on demystifying an omelette. Very handy tips.

nonchalantgourmand said...

Thanks Niki ! we need to get cracking once ur back.. food's back in fashion straight from Paris ;)

Thanks Kalyan - simple yet effective ...