Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Breakfast at Melly's - Potato and Goat Cheese Omelet

My sister used to work at a restaurant near my parents' house that served a pretty dominant Sunday brunch.  And while in college, she would typically work a Sunday double shift in order to make as much money as she could in a weekend.  So my parents - being very supportive parents - would go to brunch every Sunday to see their baby girl in action.  I - being a supportive big sister - would go along with them and let them buy me brunch every week.  I'm generous like that. 

One of my favorite things on the menu was an omelet stuffed full of their signature hash browns, sour cream and cheese.  But once my sister stopped working there and we stopped going to brunch on a weekly basis, I was left missing my favorite Potato Patch Omelet.  Until one day when I decided to make it for myself.  But better! I'd add bacon to it! And goat cheese! Be still my heart.

This omelet is really quite hardy and does take a little longer to make than the average breakfast, so I reserve it for special nights when Hubby is out of town and I can eat breakfast for dinner.

I start by peeling a whole russet potato.  We're only going to use half of it for this recipe, but I have something planned for the other half.  I don't have a mandolin, and even if I did I don't think I'd bring it out for a single potato.  We just want to slice the potato very thinly.

And then stack up a few slices at a time and cut some matchsticks (or julienne if you want to be fancy about things)

Place the whole potatoes worth of matchsticks into a bowl with very hot water.  I just run my tap for a while until it gets good and hot.  By doing this, we are basically par-cooking the potatoes a little bit. 

While the potatoes sit and cook a little bit, put two frying pans on medium-high heat.  In the smaller one, begin cooking one slice of bacon.  In the larger one, cook two slices of bacon.  This bacon is a 40% less fat version so it doesn't generate as much grease. 

When the bacon in the small pan is about half rendered, move it to the big pan with the other bacon and put about half of the potatoes* that you have patted dry with a paper towel into the small pan.  You are now using the bacon fat as an oil and it is delicious! Sprinkle the potatoes with a little salt and pepper at this point too. 

*for the remainder of the potatoes, just put a lid on the bowl with the water still in it.  These will keep in the fridge for a few days. 

While the bacon continues to render, and the potatoes start to brown up it is time to address our eggs.  I personally go with a combination of 1 whole egg and 2 egg whites.  Usually I'll use the egg whites from the carton (so about 1/2 a cup of that,) but today I was also making a cookie dough that called for 2 egg yolks.  So the timing worked out perfectly for me to use real egg whites.  You can of course use three whole eggs or three egg whites.  Whatever floats your boat. 

I whisked my eggs with a little bit of water (maybe 2 tablespoons) and then added a pinch of salt.

And a dash of my favorite seasoning salt. Yes, I know it says Broiled Steak season salt but believe me it is delicious on everything.  You would not believe what it does to ground turkey (but that is tomorrow's recipe.)

Once the bacon is good and crispy, remove it to a dish lined with a paper towel and pour the eggs into the pan that the bacon had been cooking in.

Alton Brown says when making an omelet, you should immediately stir the eggs around for the first few seconds after you add them to the pan and then roll the pan around by hold it up and rotating your wrist to fill in all the cracks and then walk away.  I did this, but it was hard to do while taking pictures so my results weren't as good as they normally are and I ended up with a few weak points in my omelet.  But you know what, it still tasted good. 

When the eggs are almost solid - but still a little runny on top, we start building our omelet.  Begin with the now-crispy potatoes.

Pile on the crumbled bacon.

And a sprinkling of goat cheese.  The original omelet used sour cream and that is still very good. But I didn't have sour cream and I did have goat cheese and I do NOT regret my substitution.

Now it is time to fold the empty side over the top of the full side.  I am super right handed, so I had to spin my pan so that the empty side would be on my right and easier to fold.  Some could argue that I could have just piled my fillings on the other side.  I didn't think of that until it was too late.  Oh well. 

Press the top down to let whatever egg wasn't full cooked on the flip side finish cooking and adhere to the other side.  After 1-2 minutes of this, give the whole omelet another flip.  I use my spatula and a little bit of gravity to do a bit of a lame lift/flip.  If you feel secure enough to do a real Julia Child style flip, more power to you.

Turn the heat off and let it sit for another minute or two.

Finally, slide the omelet onto your plate.  This way, the pretty side stays up.  If your prettier side is the other side, give your omelet one more flip before sliding. 

I have to take a moment for a shout out to my new Calphalon Unison pans.  I got these for a wedding gift (actually one of the few things Hubby picked out) and I love them.  When they say non-stick, they mean it.  My egg cooking has vastly improved with their use.  As I mentioned, this bacon didn't yield much grease.  And you can see in that picture above that at this point the pan is essentially dry.  And yet the omelet slid out as if the pan was heavily buttered.  No, Calphalon did not pay me to say this.  They don't even know I exist.  But I just couldn't look at that picture and not proclaim how happy it made me to have that omelet slide right out so easily.

Moving on.

I decided to serve my omelet with a side of baby green salad topped with broccoli slaw since I was feeling guilty about eating bacon and eggs and goat cheese for dinner.  You could serve yours with fruit or with more potatoes or with some delicious toasted rye bread. 

The goat cheese melts it's creamy tanginess all around the grooves of the potatoes and the crispy bacon.  It is salty and fluffy and super rich. 

Yum! Look at that forkful of deliciousness! I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. 

Shopping List for Potato and Goat Cheese Omelet (makes 1 large omelet)
  • One Russet Potato
  • One Whole Egg and Two Egg Whites
  • Three Slices Bacon (I used the 40% less fat variety.  If you don't you may have to drain some of the excess fat from the pans before cooking the potatoes and eggs)
  • 1/4 Cup Goat Cheese
  • Salt/Pepper
  • Seasoning Salt

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