My favorite I'm-dining-alone-at-home-tonight meal is a classic dish that's quick, thrifty and elegant. The basic setup is simple: A cheese omelet with some buttered toast and a glass of dry Alsatian chablis. If I'm feeling like I need some vegetables, I might add a few spears of roasted broccoli or asparagus (if it's in season) or a sliced tomato sprinkled with chives and a few drops of balsamic. Served on a pretty plate and perhaps taken out to the garden if the weather permits, this meal nourishes, refreshes and delights on many levels.
Of course, having an omelet for dinner is far from original. The great Elizabeth David inspired an interest in omelets with her collected essays An Omelet and a Glass of Wine and of course Julia Child famously introduced us to French-style omelets as well. Judith Jones, whose omelet recipe is a favorite, is pictured above from a kitchen tour we featured here a few years ago from Sara Kate. So when having a solo omelet dinner, I feel like I'm walking in the footsteps of some mighty classy ladies.
Making a good omelet takes practice. You just can't get around putting in your time at the stove. This is one of the reasons why it makes a good dining solo dinner, for while your 'mistakes' will still be good and well worth consuming, they may will not be quite up to company standards. The omelet is one of those dishes that transcends the sum of its parts, and technique is one of the keys to getting there. Practice, practice, practice and enjoy the fruits of your labors no matter what falls onto your plate in the end.
The other key is the quality of your ingredients and when the list is as short as it is for a cheese omelet, each one needs your careful attention. The eggs should be as fresh as possible, preferably from pastured hens, maybe even from your own back yard! The butter should be fresh as well, salted or unsalted, it's up to you, and the pepper cracked straight from the mill. The cheese is your choice. I like Gruyere or a sharp cheddar but a nice soft goat's cheese is good too.
I great way to learn a technique is to watch one of the many omelet-making videos available on the interwebs. My favorite technique is similar to Jamie Oliver's in the video below, only I do a three-fold finish. Find the one that works for you and practice, practice, practice!
Favorite recipe: Judith Jones' Omelete for One
Favorite Technique: Jaime Oliver (video)
Classic Technique: Julia Child (Omelet lessons start at 15 minutes)
Favorite Cheese: Gruyere
Favorite Eggs: from pasture-raised chickens
Inspiration: Elizabeth David's An Omelette and a Glass of Wine
What's your favorite solo dinner?
(Image: Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan)