I have posted on open-faced omelets before, I know. I also use sweet potatoes all the time. But I can explain. At chez secret menu, we have an unspoken rule: you can skip grocery shopping, and you can claim to be too tired to cook a proper meal, and you can even let stuff in the crisper go bad, but you can NEVER, EVER run out of eggs.
That leads me to my next unspoken kitchen rule, which is more universal: if you have eggs, you have a meal.
Now, eggs alone are no great shakes, but they are totally doable. Scramble them up, and you’ve got yourself breakfast — a sad breakfast, to be sure, but breakfast nonetheless. Have a fridge full of odds and ends? Half a bunch of parsley, a single shallot, and a nearly finished wedge of cheese? Now we’re talking.
This was pretty much the case last week, and if it hadn’t been for eggs, JM and I might be dead now. Overburdened by work, with nary a foot set inside a supermarket for weeks, we had hit rock bottom in the food department and had nowhere else to turn. You can eat out, sure, but you can’t eat out every night — or, I should say, we can’t eat out every night, because we would run out of money in about two weeks if we did that. So, eggs it is.
This meal was kind of a cross between a Spanish tortillita and a regular omelet: I fried up the potato first, and then let the egg trickle into all the spaces between the potato cubes to bind them together into a wonderful, edible island. This worked somehow, without burning or even browning the egg, because the heat was so low that it was more of a joke than an actual flame. Seriously, like, imagine heat so low that it’s the fire equivalent of a dog whistle, and you have to pay really close attention (or possibly be a different species) to even detect it.
Sweet Potato and Chive Omelet
Serves 1.5 normal people, 1 very hungry person, or 2 cheapskates
-1 sweet potato, diced
-2 tbs chives, chopped
-1-2 tbs olive oil
-1/2 onion, diced (optional)
-salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
-1-2 ounces of grated semi-hard cheese (like cheddar or gouda)
First, beat the eggs and add a generous sprinkling of salt, a bit of pepper, and your chives. Mix together and let stand in a cool spot (or covered in the fridge) while you attend to the sweet potato.
Heat the oil in a medium-sized pan (one that has a tightly-fitting cover) over medium heat. When the pan’s hot, toss in the onion and sauté until translucent. If you’re not using onion, skip ahead to the part when you toss in the sweet potato and sauté until golden (about 10 minutes). Test one cube to make sure it’s done — it should be firm, but still soft enough to eat.
Now lower the heat to virtually nonexistent. Really. Make it so low that you actually laugh at it. Wait a minute for the pan’s temperature to catch up with the newly pathetic flame underneath it.
Grab the handle of the pan and shake a bit until the potatoes spread evenly at the bottom of the pan. Slowly and carefully pour the eggs in between them, preserving the potato spacing. (Yes, I said potato spacing. It’s a theoretical term that refers to the distance between beings that were once a single entity, then divided into component parts, and now actively seeking reunion. Help them along this path by being gentle with the egg.)
Cover the pan and wait a few minutes. Peek underneath. Is the top still gooey and shiny looking? If so, cover the pan for another minute. Now peek again. Looking pretty firm? Cool. Grate the cheese over the top, turn off the heat, and cover again for another minute or so.
Very, VERY carefully slide the omelet out of the pan and put it on…a cutting board. Because it looks good. Looks are important, don’t you think?