Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Hamlet, Helmet, Amin's Omelet.

Do you like omelets? I do. I'm not a huge fan of eggs or big breakfasts, but I consider omelets to be a welcome guest at my dinner table for several practical reasons.

They are fast, cheap and easy.

They work well with lots of different stuffings, such as veggies, meats, and especially cheese.

They are easily customized for individual tastes.

So the other night, when my Kelantanese friend, Nor Amin, posted a status that said, "Hamlet, helmet, omelette," I was intrigued. First, we had a protracted conversation about the technicalities of the word hamlet, which refers to a small settlement. But is a hamlet smaller than a town? Surrounded by a stockade? Or an irrelevant Shakespearean term no longer useful in the modern world?

Eventually, we wore ourselves out on that topic, and moved on to omelets. I'm sorry to say that Amin reports that he makes his omelets with only onion inside, and eats them with chili sauce.


This is a very limited approach to omelets. Poor Amin. Despite his interest in literature and the art of fine conversation, I see him as a bit of a hermit who withdraws himself from the pleasures of everyday life.  So tonight, I felt it was my duty to show him a more luxurious, extravagant experience of what an omelet might be.

A basic omelet starts with two eggs in a bowl and a bad attitude. Grab a whisk or a fork, and take out some frustrations on those pups. They won't mind a bit. When they beg for mercy and look nice and fluffy, add a splash of water and whip that up too.

Heat up a splash of oil in an omelet pan. When it's red hot and raring to go, pour in the eggs. If you hear that hissing and spitting sound, you know that a) you've got a nice hot pan and b) those eggs are gonna cook fast. So turn the heat to medium high, and grab your spatula or fork. Your job is to keep the egg cooking evenly into a smooth layer; use a spatula or fork to loosen the edges, and lift the pan and swirl it so the uncooked egg can slip down underneath the cooked layer. 

When the egg is mostly cooked through, start adding ingredients.  Of course, anything you want to put inside an omelet is fair game: if it sounds good to you, go for it. Tonight, I was going for a veggie theme. I sauteed these mushrooms and onions ahead of time, so they were first to leap into the pan.

Next I added steamed baby carrots, broccoli and snap peas, precooked in their plastic bag and coarsely chopped. I put the mushrooms on the bottom layer because they were relatively nice and flat; these fellows are much bumpier and chunkier, so I wanted them on top for stability. You don't have to think like a structural engineer to make a good omelet, but it helps.

Cheese. Cheese. CHEESE. An omelet without cheese is a travesty, a blight, a mockery. Unless you are deathly allergic to cheese, I won't hear of leaving it out. And then you have my deepest condolences. When making omelets, my advice is to heap on as much cheese as you possibly can. You will never regret it.

Now comes the hard part. Use your spatula slash pancake flipper thingy to fold your omelet in half, thereby tucking all the good stuff inside, taco style.

I know. The egg part really isn't big enough to wrap around all the stuff inside. I find that if you take a positive attitude and give yourself some grace for rips, tears, and overflows, everything will be just fine.

Now scoop your delicious and beautiful creation out onto a plate, and cover it with a pan lid until you are ready to dig in.
See? My omelet's stuffing is definitely exploding out of the egg part, and there is a big rip right in the middle. But guess what. It still looked beautiful and tasted delicious!

Of course, condiments are an essential part of the omelet experience. Here are my tried-and-trues. Other possibilites include Amin's chili sauce, ranch dressing, or some delicious budu. Ha.

So there you have it, Amin. A whole new hamlet of omelet-related possibilities awaits you, and I hope you adventure boldly. Just remember to wear your helmet.

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