Thursday, May 13, 2010

Soufflé Omelet with Spring Vegetables & Crab

A couple years ago I was introduced to the concept of a baked or souffle omelet through Mark Bittman's book How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. His version is a sweet one which I posted here back in 2009. It remains a favorite of mine and a recipe I go back to often.

I decided to revisit the concept behind the baked omelet but instead made it savory by incorporating seasonal vegetables, herbs, and crab. It turned out perfectly although not as fluffy as the original since I had so many ingredients weighing it down. However, it is still so very airy and light due to separating the eggs and whipping the whites.

The small addition of lemon zest brightens the dish and complements the sweetness of the crab meat and delicate flavors of the spinach and peas. I used dill in this version but suspect chervil and/or tarragon would also be quite nice.

Although this seems like a quintessential breakfast or brunch dish, I envision myself making this again and serving it with a green salad for lunch or a light dinner.

For 4 servings:
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1½ tablespoons minced shallot
  • 2 cups packed spinach leaves (sliced if large)
  • ½ cup peas
  • 1 can crab
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup finely grated gruyere
  • 2 tablespoon fresh dill, chervil or tarragon or a combination
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 5 egg whites

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat in a 10-inch oven proof skillet. Add the shallots and sauté for a couple minutes until soft. Add the spinach and stir until just wilted, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer the shallot spinach mixture to a bowl. Add the peas, crab, milk, gruyere, herbs, flour and sugar. Stir in the 4 egg yolks. Season generously with salt and pepper and set aside.

With a mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold in the spinach mixture until the ingredients are distributed uniformly throughout the egg whites.

Heat the additional 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat in the same skillet used to cook the shallots. Pour in the omelet mixture, smooth the top with a spatula, and let cook for 2 minutes, undisturbed. Place the skillet in the center of the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Invert onto a plate and serve.

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