An old friend was coming over for lunch the other day, and I wanted to make something special for him. He's a family man who works his ass off to support them and, needless to say, doesn't get to hang out with the fellas very often.
I had some duck eggs from Grant Family Farms that I'd bought earlier in the week, because eggs done every which way constitute about eighty percent of my diet. I love eggs. They're so versatile and tasty and, since I don't cook with meat very often (it's easier and cheaper not to, and I'm lazy), the high-protein egg has become a crucial inspiration for most of my meals.
I was leaning toward something French, something a little fancier than what my buddy might normally have on his lunch break. So that morning, I leafed through The Art of Eating by M.F.K. Fisher, because I knew she too loved the egg and had a French bias for cuisine. In it, she provides a recipe for a basic souffle omelet that sounded simple enough to make, yet impressive enough to serve for a special occasion.
I also bought a four-pack of Odell Brewing's Mrycenary Double IPA, figuring it would be a nice hoppy contrast to the rich duck egg and that the extra alcohol content would relax my friend and remind us both of the ol' drunken days.
The souffle omelet, which I dressed up with some sauteed vegetables and fresh herbs, turned out to be a blast to make and was very, very tasty. The duck eggs were, for lack of a better way to put it, perfectly "eggy," as I find all the pasture-raised eggs from Grant Family Farms to be. You really can tell that they came from a happy animal. They were rich and savory and the sautéed vegetables and chopped herbs provided an earthy backbone to the dish.
The strong floral hops in the beer contrasted with everything, but not aggressively, as the sweet malt backbone calmed it down considerably.
We ate outside and enjoyed a sunny spring afternoon, while he told me about his newborn daughter, who might someday enjoy the same duck egg souffle omelet that we did.
Here's the recipe:
4 duck eggs (or 6 chicken eggs) 5 tablespoons butter 5 tablespoons hot water 1 bundle fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut in half 1/2 onion, chopped Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper taste 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped 1/2 cup grated cheese of your choice (I used organic cheddar) One fresh baguette (Hi Rise makes a wonderful one that's crusty and fluffy)
1. Separate the whites from the yolks of the eggs, placing each into separate mixing bowls. 2. Beat whites until they form stiff peaks (you can use a mixer, but doing it by hand is much more entertaining)
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3. Beat yolks until creamy and light in color. 4. Add hot water, a few pinches of salt and fresh ground pepper to yolks and mix thoroughly. 5. Fold in whites. 6. In a large nonstick skillet, melt 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat until the butter begins to just bubble. 7. Add egg mixture and cook on low heat for about 30 to 45 minutes, or until the bottom turns light brown. 8. Place egg mixture under a broiler and broil until the top is golden brown (it will smell amazing, like a cake, and like a cake, it's done when an inserted toothpick comes out dry) 9. In a large skillet, saute onions and asparagus until soft. Add a pinch of salt, cover and set aside. 10. Cut the souffle into slices, garnish with oregano and cheese, and serve it with asparagus and onions and baguette slices.