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Souffléed Omelette with Fines Herbes

The souffléed omelette, or fluffy omelette, is a hybrid of two popular egg preparations, the omelette and the soufflé. It takes advantage of the extra loft achieved when egg whites are whipped separately, then gently folded into the yolks. To check the consistency of beaten egg whites, remove the whisk from the bowl and turn it upright. Soft peaks on the beaters tips will fall gently to one side, while stiff peaks will hold their shape. Stiff egg whites should not be dry or grainy and should not slip when the bowl is tilted, a sign that they have been overbeaten.

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1⁄4 cup water
  • 1⁄2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tbs. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh chervil
  • 1 Tbs. finely snipped fresh chives
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus
     sprigs for garnish
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh tarragon
  • 2 tsp. unsalted butter

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350°F.

In a large, spotlessly clean bowl, combine the egg whites, water and cream of tartar. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat until stiff peaks form when the beaters are lifted. Set aside.

In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks, salt and pepper until pale and thickened, about 1 minute. Stir the cheese, chervil, chives, parsley and tarragon into the yolks until well blended.

Place a 10-inch ovenproof nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat and melt the butter. While it is melting, working quickly and using a large rubber spatula, gently fold the yolk mixture into the egg whites, taking care not to crush too much air out of the egg whites.

When the butter has foamed and the foam begins to subside, tilt the pan to distribute the butter evenly. Scoop the egg mixture into the pan and smooth the surface gently with a nonstick spatula. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the omelette is puffed and the bottom is golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake until the omelette is firm in the center, about 7 minutes more.

Using the spatula, loosen the edges of the omelette, then slide it onto a platter. Cut the omelette in half or into 3 wedges, garnish with parsley sprigs and serve immediately. Serves 2 or 3.

Note: A classic French blend of herbs, fines herbes consists of chervil, chives, parsley and tarragon.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Breakfast, by Brigit L. Binns (Simon & Schuster, 2003).