I do love me some eggs. Haven’t you noticed? But tonight I didn’t want to make the “same old omelet” or another frittata. I contemplated a quiche but realized that would take longer than I was willing to wait.
As I usually do, I base a recipe off of what I have in the fridge that needs to be used up. I bought a ham that was marked down super-cheap at the store I work in since we ordered far too many for Easter ($5 for a spiral sliced ham!), and I’ve been using it for random things like sandwiches and whatnot. So ham, some baby bella (also known as crimini) mushrooms, onion, cheese and of course eggs! I wanted to make a really light and fluffy omelet so I did my research and found a lot of recipes for what is called a “puffy” omelet. It’s essentially a souffle omelet so that’s what I decided to call mine. Sounds more elegant, don’t you think? And it tastes it too… It’s perfect for breakfast, brunch or dinner. With the savory filling I chose for mine it was a perfectly elegant weeknight meal!
It’s not a hard thing to make but it does involve a bit more work than your standard omelet. That is because you must separate the eggs and beat the whites into stiff peaks (with a bit of cream of tartar to help it keep it’s volume). The yolks are whisked together with some melted butter, salt, pepper and fresh herbs from the garden! Or dried herbs from the pantry if you prefer but I’m riding such a fresh-herb high right now… Fold the yolks into the whites GENTLY, pour them into a warm, buttered, oven-safe skillet, flatten it out and bake it. You already have your filling ready before you started the eggs though, right? ‘Cos you’ll need ’em after your omelet bakes about 2 minutes. Take it out and gently sprinkle your cheese and filling over it and bake it for another few minutes. I let it bake a couple of minutes before adding the filling so I’m less likely to deflate all the volume I just worked into the eggs. I like my eggs to still be on the “wet” side so you’re looking at around 5 minutes total. If you want dry eggs, add another minute or too.
Another tidbit I will pass onto you is that a splash of balsamic vinegar added to a savory filling for something like an omelet adds a lot of depth of flavor! You don’t know it’s there but it sure makes a difference! (I learned that from doing some reading on Cook’s Illustrated online. I learn so much from those guys. My yearly online subscription is SO SO SO worth it!)
Herbed Soufflé Omelet with Ham and Mushrooms
(Adapted from “Fluffy Omelet” on cooksillustrated.com)
Ingredients for the Omelet:
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 1 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted, plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. pepper
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh herbs: chives, parsley, oregano, thyme, rosemary (or whatever you like), plus extra for garnish if desired
- ¼ tsp. cream of tartar
- 1 ounce Pecorino Romano cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
Ingredients for the Filling:
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 4 ounces Baby Bella (a.k.a. cremini) mushrooms, wiped clean, trimmed and finely chopped
- ½ a small white onion, finely diced
- ¼ cup ham, finely diced
- 1 tsp. good-quality balsamic vinegar
- Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F with rack in the center position.
- Make the filling: Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and season with salt and pepper to taste (start with about 1/8 tsp. of each). Add ham and cook for another 6-8 minutes or until liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms and ham begin to brown. Transfer mixture to bowl and stir in vinegar.
- In a medium bowl whisk together egg yolks, melted butter, salt, pepper and fresh herbs until the eggs are pale yellow and creamy.
- Place egg whites in bowl of stand mixer and sprinkle cream of tartar over surface.
- Fit stand mixer with whisk attachment and whip egg whites on medium-low speed until foamy, 2 to 2½ minutes. Increase speed to medium-high and whip until stiff peaks just start to form, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Fold egg yolk mixture into egg whites until no white streaks remain, taking care not to “deflate” the eggs whites.
- Heat remaining 1 tablespoon butter in 10-inch oven-safe nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, swirling to coat bottom of pan. When butter foams, quickly add egg mixture, spreading into even layer with spatula.
- Remove pan from heat and gently sprinkle Pecorino Romano cheese evenly over top of omelet. Transfer to oven and cook for 2 minutes.
- Remove from oven and carefully and quickly sprinkle mushroom filling evenly over the omelet. Return to oven and cook until center of omelet springs back when lightly pressed, 3 ½ minutes for slightly wet omelet and 4 minutes for dry omelet.
- Remove from oven, run spatula around edges of omelet to loosen, and slide omelet onto cutting board.
- Allow to stand for 30 seconds. Using spatula, fold omelet in half. Cut omelet in half crosswise and serve immediately, garnishing with additional sprigs of fresh herbs if desired.