Saturday, November 29, 2014


Eastside Road, November 28, 2014—
ANOTHER OF THOSE HUNDREDS of uncertainties that plagued me as a kid, up to say my fortieth birthday: is it spelled simply "omelet," six letters; or is it omelette?

I've finally settled on the simpler spelling, and have made enough of them that I have the technique down pretty well, which is to say well enough. If I were making one for Alice I'd take more care. There are so many things to think about, even apart from the egg, the lubricant, the pan, the fire, the flavoring.

Most fundamental of all, I think: the question of warming the plate on which it's to be served, and getting it to the table as quickly as possible. On those counts I failed miserably tonight. I have excuses: both ovens were in use, no place to warm plates — but of course I could simply have filled them with hot water from the tap, and dried them at the last minute. Except that I didn't give the matter proper thought.

Oh well. I grate a cup or so of Parmesan cheese onto the kitchen island table, then grind a bit of black pepper into it, and rub some sea salt between my fingers into it.

I break three eggs into a stainless-steel mixing bowl, a small one; then I rinse my hands in cold water, and wring the excess water from my hands into the eggs. I beat them a bit with a dinner-fork, just short of absolutely smooth.

The omelet pan — spun steel, nothing fancy — lives in a paper bag in the pantry; inside it there's a folded paper towel that's been in service for years. I wipe the pan out once more, for no good reason, and put say a tablespoon of olive oil in it, and set it on the fire.

Even that needs discussion. I take the cast-iron grill thing off the stove burner and set the omelet pan right on the flame. When the oil moves almost like water I pour the eggs in. They begin cooking immediately, and I move them around, partly by swinging the pan around in circles over the fire, partly by lifting the edges of the egg with the dinner fork.

At a certain point I begin flipping the egg mixture, folding it back on itself, forming an oval; and then I turn it out onto the warmed plate — if it is warmed — sprinkle the cheese on it, then turn it back into the pan, folding it en route so the cheese won't hit the pan and ruin it.

Brown it, then turn it back onto the plate and serve it. Buttered toast. A green salad.
Viognier, Blue Fin (Califorenia), 2012: cheap, acceptable

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