Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Chris and I have a tendency to give our cat, Nico, nicknames. The latest is "Omelette," a) because he thinks he's French (and prefers his nicknames to have feminine endings) and b) because omelets have been our latest obsession. And not for breakfast. These omelets are filled with bright, fresh vegetables, lots of cheese and are huge. So big in fact that we've been splitting them and eating them for lunch.

This is a real American-style omelet, the kind you get at a good diner or at the Cottage in Laguna Beach (oh, how I miss those breakfasts and that fresh-squeezed orange juice!). The ingredients, though, are customized and, in this case, somewhat untypical, at least for Southern California.

Right now there is an abundance of swiss chard waving its wavy limbs like crazy in my garden, which means trying to somehow tuck it in wherever it will fit. And I have found that swiss chard was born to be used in omelets. It holds its structure better than spinach, never getting soggy or threatening to fall apart or melt like butter, and you can chop up the stem to add some colorful crunch.

Chop up some green onions and part of a monster zucchini (or a smaller one if you are like most people and don't cook with giant produce) and shred some mild gouda, jack or other cheese of your choice, crack a few eggs and there you have it - a meal that can stand on its own any time, day or night.

I'll be on vacation for a few weeks, but when I get back I'll be sure to post a few omelet-making tips!

Swiss chard omelet (for 2)

You need:

4 eggs
3 or 4 swiss chard leaves
1 small zucchini
1 spring onion
1 cup grated cheese of your choice (I used a mild gouda)
a dash of milk
1 tablespoon live oil
salt and pepper

Separate the stems from the leaves of the swiss chard. Chop the stems into slices (like celery) and the leaves into short strips. Dice the zucchini and spring onion. Heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in a pan. Cook the stems until almost tender - about 3 minutes - add the zucchini and cook for another minute or two. Add the swiss chard leaves and cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Turn off heat and set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, beat the eggs until light and fluffy, adding a dash of milk before you start at them (for even fluffier eggs) and salt and pepper to taste. Heat the rest of the olive oil in an omelet-sized pan. Cook the eggs first on one side, pulling the sides back to let more of the egg run to the edges of the pan. Cook until mostly firm and then flip. I use a plate for this (like making Spanish tortilla) since the omelet is so big. Wait about 30 seconds and then pile the vegetables on one side of the egg. Add half the cheese and then fold the egg in half over the veggies. Cover with the remaining cheese. Turn off the heat and plop a lid over the whole thing for a minute or two until the cheese on top starts to melt. Cut in half and serve.

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