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What We Wish We'd Had for Breakfast: Omelet with Morels

Alex Van Buren

At breakfast time, many of us are caricatures of our best selves. We’ve got wet hair. We’re tearing to the subway or to our cars. Breakfast might be a quarter of a protein bar we found kicking around our handbags. Sad. Welcome to What We Wish We’d Had for Breakfast. 

What We Wish We'd Had for Breakfast: Omelet with Morels

Courtesy of Little, Brown and Company. Photograph by Donna Turner Ruhlman

What We Had: 

Not-crisp-enough, lukewarm, rushing-to-a-meeting toast.

What We Wish We’d Had: 

This beauty of an omelet, laced with heavy cream and dotted with that great harbinger of spring, the morel mushroom.

Plucked straight from the pages of James Beard Awardwinning writer Michael Ruhlman’s cookbook, “Egg: A Culinary Exploration of the World’s Most Versatile Ingredient,” which will be published this April, this omelet is an envy-inducing dish, indeed. Ruhlman described it to us as “deeply mushroomy and creamy, but light—simple, shallot, reduced cream, salt, and pepper.” His inspiration was straightforward, too. “It’s a classic. Mushrooms go great with eggs generally, and because the morel is so special, the mild eggs feature and enhance them.”

This is one for the list of things-to-cook-when-spring-is-officially-here. Morels will soon be broadly available nationwide, and until they are, Ruhlman gets his from “pricey but good” Earthy Delights, in Michigan. 

If your omelet skills are up to snuff, this is a weekday breakfast. If not, practicing would certainly be a fun way to kill time as you wind up to next Sunday’s brunch

Omelet with Creamy Morel Mushrooms

From Egg, by Michael Ruhlman
Serves 2

2 tablespoons butter, plus more for serving
1 tablespoon minced shallot (or 6 ramps, prepared as described above)
Salt
16 fresh morels, halved, or ½ ounce/15 grams dried morels, reconstituted in water
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup/120 milliliters heavy cream
4 eggs, thoroughly blended (no trace of egg white visible)
1 teaspoon minced fresh chives (optional)

1. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a small sauté pan over medium heat and add the shallot (or whites of ramps) and a healthy pinch of salt (¼ teaspoon if you must measure). Cook the shallots in the butter till they’re tender. Add the morels and stir to heat and coat with butter. Grind some pepper over the mushrooms. Add the cream and bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat and cook until the cream has thickened and coats the morels. (Cream will break if you overcook it, so don’t.) Remove the pan from the heat. 

2. In a medium sauté pan, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add the eggs and cook the omelet as instructed in “How to Make a Perfect Omelet,” below. When the omelet is set, and there is a thin film of liquidy egg on top, scatter the hot mushrooms down the center of the omelet. Roll the omelet out of the pan and onto a warm plate. Slide a little butter over the top if you wish, garnish with chives if desired, and add more salt and pepper to taste. Cut the omelet in half crosswise and transfer one half to another warm plate. Serve immediately.

How to Make a Perfect Omelet

Again, I’d like to reiterate that everyone should first make a plain omelet—two eggs, a pat of butter, a pinch of salt—to appreciate what an omelet is. I often add cheese or mushrooms to make the omelet more interesting and fun to eat. But it’s important to first understand the foundation those garnishes are enhancing.

To make an omelet, crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk or blend till they are uniformly combined and no clear white remains floating on the surface. Give it a three-finger pinch of salt and stir in the salt.

Put a nonstick pan over medium heat and let the pan get hot, a couple minutes or so, depending on your stovetop. Have a heatproof rubber spatula ready, and warm a plate in the microwave. Add a pat of butter (about 1 tablespoon) to the pan. It should melt and bubble immediately but not brown. After the butter has melted and coats the bottom of the pan, pour in the eggs.

Shake the pan back and forth while stirring the eggs with the spatula. Stirring continuously will give you a finely textured curd. After about 30 seconds of stirring, stop and let the omelet continue cooking until there remains the thinnest liquid film on top, another 60 seconds or so. Remove it from the heat and allow it to finish cooking just sitting there in the pan (after all, you’re not a line cook getting thirty-nine orders at once). With the pan handle at three o’clock, and your warm plate at nine o’clock (reverse this if you’re a lefty), grip the handle from underneath and tilt the pan toward the plate. Using the spatula, encourage the front end of the omelet to slide out (you may need to give the pan a rap on a cutting board to loosen the egg, then nudge it from underneath to get it sliding) and roll the omelet over itself and onto a plate. The heat from the pan should finish cooking the omelet; it should be moist but you shouldn’t have sauce on your plate. If it’s not perfectly shaped, use your hands (which you’ve been washing continually, what with being in the kitchen, cracking eggs, etc.) to make it pretty and uniform. It’s fairly pliable at this point, so you can tuck freely if needed. Run a little soft butter over the top so that it melts and gives the omelet a nice shine. Finish with some fleur de sel or Maldon salt if you have it, and some chives always look nice.

Eat this immediately.

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Recipe reprinted from EGG Copyright 2014 by Michael Ruhlman. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or printed without permission in writing from the publisher. Reprinted by arrangement with Little, Brown and Company