My approach to cooking at home seems to hinge on few simple principles — layers of flavor, harmony in contrasts, and improvisation. It’s not like I set out to achieve them; they sort of just developed over time.
Tonight was a perfect example of these principles in action. I knew I wanted to make salsa verde with the handful of tomatillos and jalapenos I had bought on my trip to the Coral Gables farmers market on Sunday. Plump and light green, I husked the 6 tomatillos and threw them into the food processor along with a whole (not cored) jalapeno, a whole green bell pepper (cored,) and generous wedge of red onion.
Peeking into the refrigerator, I discovered that the cilantro and parsley I was expecting to find was no longer there! But, wait! We had bundles of fresh basil. In a bunch of whole leaves went, torn from their stems. I hit the on button and let the veggies and herbs process, with a little bit of water run down the shute. The mixture became pulpy, solids clumping and separating from liquid once it was throughly blended. So dropped in a small, ripe hydroponic tomato, and while it whizzed again – stealing a page from the Spanish – I drizzled in some fresh extra virgin olive oil to slightly emulsify, like a gazpacho. Some generous hits with kosher salt followed.
The texture was sublime. Silky in fact. And the taste, well — my taste buds were fooled. There could have been cilantro and parsley in there! I could have named it chilled basil soup and maybe even put it on a spa menu. Not too strong, but a subtle, basil flavor with hints of each green vegetable coming through, supported by just the right amount of red onion. But tonight it would not stand alone.
I usually make my omelets for breakfast with egg whites, a little thyme, and some grated parmigiano reggiano. Maybe diced fresh tomato folded in at the end, or some lightly sauteed shallots. If you’re like me, you like eggs all the time – doesn’t matter what time of day or what meal. When I have them for dinner, they end up on the plate a little more complex than they do when I’m just rolling out of bed. The experimental salsa verde would tonight therefore land on top of 5 lightly pan-fried egg whites, folded over a chunky hass avocado salad of diced cucumbers, red onion, fresh tomato, a few squeezes of lemon, kosher salt, and lots of freshly and finely ground black pepper.
A few notes on how I make omelets. No beating. No milk or cream. Just the whites separated from the yolks. They hit a pan with a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. When the whites begin to turn opaque at the base, pull one side in at a time with a silicon spatula and tilt the pan so the raw and translucent whites slide over onto the hot surface. After four sides and been drawn and tilted, flip once, add desired fillings, and remove from heat almost immediately, folding over the contents as the bundle slides onto a plate.
Tonight’s omelet, hot and straight from the pan, with its creamy, cool interior and generous streak of basil salsa verde was then topped with raw, fresh micro sprouts. Some toasted garlic naan from the grocery store gladly scooped and sopped up this farmers market-bought dish. The result was so tasty and satisfying. A contrast in flavors, textures, and temperatures. This is definitely going to be my go-to omelet for a while. If you like, grate some Idiazabal cheese on top, right before showering the omelet with sprouts.