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Shiitake Mushroom Omelette

The secret to making a good omelette is to add water, not milk or cream, to the beaten eggs and to have the butter just beginning to brown—but not burning—when you add the eggs to the pan. Garnish the omelettes with radish sprouts, if you like.

Ingredients:

For the shiitake mushroom filling:

  • 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 4 small fresh shiitake mushrooms, brushed
     clean, stems removed and thinly sliced
  • 4 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in warm
     water to soften for 20 minutes, drained,
     squeezed dry, stems removed and thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbs. Madeira wine
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 1/2 to 4 oz. Gruyère or Comté cheese,
      shredded
  • 12 eggs
  • 2 Tbs. water
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 Tbs. plus 2 tsp. unsalted butter

Directions:

To make the filling, in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the shallot and sauté until it begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the fresh and dried mushrooms, increase the heat to high and sauté, stirring constantly, until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the Madeira and cook until all the liquid evaporates, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.

Preheat an oven to 200°F. Place the mushrooms and the cheese near the stove. In a small bowl, using a fork, beat together 3 of the eggs, 1 1/2 tsp. of the water and a grinding of pepper just until blended.

In an 8-inch nonstick fry pan or omelette pan over medium heat, melt 1 Tbs. of the butter. When the butter begins to brown, pour in the eggs. Immediately shake the pan back and forth while tilting it and cook until the eggs begin to thicken, about 15 seconds. Spoon about 1 1/2 Tbs. mushroom filling in the center of the omelet, sprinkle with one-fourth of the cheese and cook for about 10 seconds. Using a spatula or fork, carefully lift the edges and gently push the eggs to one side of the pan, tilting the pan slightly to allow the uncooked eggs to flow underneath. Then fold the omelette in half, pressing down firmly to solidify the eggs, and cook for about 10 seconds more.

Turn the omelette out onto a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining eggs, filling and cheese, adding 1 Tbs. butter to the pan before cooking each omelette, to make a total of 4 omelettes. Transfer the omelettes to warmed individual plates.

Add the remaining 2 tsp. butter to the fry pan, melt over medium heat, and then let brown for about 10 seconds. Drizzle evenly over the omelettes and serve immediately.
Serves 4
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Brunch Entertaining, by Janeen Sarlin (Time-Life Books, 1999).