Monday, May 23, 2011

Scallop, Shrimp, or Crab Omelet

There are times when nothing will do but an omelet. I want it! I need it! I crave it! Whoops! That’s something else, but an omelet would be nice, all the same. My friend Lynn has been striving to make the perfect omelet, and recently asked how I make mine. By Lynn’s definition, the perfect omelet is fluffy, fluffy, fluffy! I’m not sure mine are fluffy enough for Lynn’s taste, but what I do is throw a few eggs and a little milk into the blender, whirling them at the highest speed with generous grindings of coarse salt and pepper and some dried parsley flakes or dried chives (use freshly snipped chives, if you have them). But let’s back up a wee bit! 

The following YouTube video will (sort of) show you how to make an omelet. I did not make this film clip, and some of you may find the language offensive. It is, to say the least, an unusual approach to cooking:

Now let’s return to our omelet! Assembling and preparing the ingredients takes about 15 min., and cooking it takes about 5 min., so plan accordingly to coordinate both dishes. In the Time Zone and at the Latitude where I live, I have easy access to fresh and frozen seafood, so my pick of the day was a scallop filling for our omelet. You can use shrimp, chopped chicken, chopped ham, or slices of onion, mushrooms, and grated cheese, but the more ingredients you pile onto the filling, the less fluffy your omelet will be. 
Scallop, Shrimp, or Crab Omelet:
2 tsp. cooking oil
5 whole eggs 
2 tbsp. milk
Generous grindings of coarse salt and pepper 
2 tsp. dried parsley flakes or dried chives (see Note)
2 large raw scallops, cut into eighths (or use 12-to-16 small scallops or ½ c. baby shrimp or 1 c. flaked crabmeat)
½ c. grated cheddar (see Note)
1 green onion, finely chopped
Assemble and prepare all ingredients. If using frozen scallops or shrimp, thaw and blot dry before use. Heat oil in non-stick skillet at medium-high setting. Place all ingredients except parsley or chives, scallops, cheddar, and green onion into the blender. Whirl at highest setting. Pour all at once into hot fat, immediately reducing heat to medium. After 20 or 30 seconds, lift egg mixture around the edges, allowing raw egg to run to edges of pan. 

Spread raw scallops or shrimp, grated cheese, and most of the green onion over egg in skillet. Using a “wiggle” motion, continue lifting egg mixture around edges of pan. When egg mixture is puffed and solid around edges, but still slightly soft at the center, fold omelet in half, over itself. Sprinkle with remaining green onion. Cut omelet crosswise, serving immediately. Serves 2.

Grate cheese and set aside
Chop scallops and green onion
Lift egg mixture at edges of skillet

Note: Use fresh parsley or chives, if available. As a bride, I didn’t know “less is more,” and so piled on numerous seasonings for the first scrambled eggs I ever made - so many that my eggs actually turned gray. Caution! Don’t overdo the herbs and spices for any egg dish. Also as a bride, I thought the best way to make stuffed pork chops was to fill and tie two chops using rubber bands. Yes! Rubber bands! You should have seen how they looked when they emerged from a hot oven! 

As it turned out, I was one step ahead of technology. Today, we have the miracle of silicone bands that withstand temperatures of -67 deg. F (-55 deg. C) to more than 572 deg. F. (300 deg. C). Chances are, you’ve already replaced your cooking spoons, spatulas, and “bristle”-style pastry brushes with soft, flexible ones made of silicone. They’re non-reactive, wash beautifully, withstand extreme heat and cold, and don’t discolor. Silicone gets my vote as one of todays most useful kitchen tools!
Further Note: Check out the rotary cheese grater in the first omelet preparation photo. This restaurant-style grater is excellent for any hard cheese - and stylish at the table for grating fresh Parmesan over pasta. It cost approximately $12; I’ve had mine for years and years. It’s made by Zyliss, and no, Dollinks, I’m not being paid to promote anyone’s products! I also use a standard box grater, but want to caution you against buying one particular type of grater that I personally find a waste of money.

Just before serving, fold omelet in half

In the medieval Italian village of San Gimignano, I once fell in love with - sorry to disappoint you - a cheese grater shaped like a half-barrel, the edges of which slid into a small wooden box intended to catch the grated cheese. Thinking how attractive box and grater would look at the table, I simply had to own this! The duo did look good at the table - but proved useless. I’d failed to consider that the grater’s half-barrel design allowed more cheese to fall outside the box than inside. Remembering the old lesson that form follows (rather than precedes) function, I eventually gave away both grater and box. So if I say a brand-name kitchen product is good, please know my recommendation comes from experience.

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