Cracking stuff: Bill Granger's fuss-free omelettes
Sunday 07 April 2013
Ridiculous as this might sound, I made my name with scrambled eggs. Who could have imagined when I first opened Bill's in Sydney that they would become part of my identity? Eggs have taken me around the world; I've given cookery demonstrations showing people how to scramble in Tokyo, Chicago, London, Sydney – it's very bizarre. So when I do eggs, the pressure is on – expectations run high and I need to deliver.
I have to admit that I'm a little scrambled out, and at home I find omelettes are now my thing. What I love is that they are so instant and light. They're also one of those rare dishes that can be eaten at any meal, whenever you want something fuss-free. Elizabeth David couldn't have come up with a better title for her book An Omelette and a Glass of Wine. It immediately evokes a sophisticated simplicity I love and always try to aim for with my cooking.
Bill's restaurant, Granger & Co, is at 175 Westbourne Grove, London W11, tel: 020 7229 9111, grangerandco.com
Chinese-style omelette with prawns
The trick with these omelettes is to get the oil really hot, so that the eggs sizzle when they hit the pan.
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 tsp Chinese rice wine
1 tsp light soy sauce
4 spring onions, shredded
2 tbsp light-flavoured oil
150g/5oz cooked, shelled prawns
1 carrot, cut into thin strips
1 red chilli, thinly sliced
Few mint leaves
Whisk together the eggs, garlic, ginger, rice wine and soy. Add half the spring onion and set aside. Heat ½ tbsp oil in a small frying pan over a high heat. Add a thin layer of egg mixture and cook, pushing the uncooked egg mixture to the sides.
When the omelette is almost set, add some of the prawns, carrots, beansprouts, chilli, mint and remaining spring onions down one half of the omelette. Carefully fold over the other side of the omelette to enclose the filling.
Slide the omelette from the pan and on to a serving plate, then repeat the process with the remaining mixture, to make a total of 4 omelettes. Serve immediately with oyster sauce.
Chard open omelette
As much as I love a herb-and-gruyère omelette, once you start playing round with different toppings, it's hard to go back to the classics. This recipe takes inspiration from the lightness of the French omelette, passing through California for the topping. I like to leave it open and cut it into quarters to serve, rather than do individual folded ones.
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 red onion, thinly sliced
200g/7oz ruby or rainbow chard, stems cut into 1cm pieces, leaves torn
2 garlic cloves, sliced
½ tsp dried chilli flakes
2 knobs of butter
1 tbsp milk
100g/3½oz feta cheese, crumbled
To make the topping, heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes until starting to soften. Add the chard stems and garlic, season with salt and chilli flakes and toss to coat in the oil.
Pour in 4 tbsp of water, cover and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the torn leaves and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, until the leaves have wilted. Add a knob of butter and shake the pan to coat the leaves. Set aside.
In a bowl, beat the eggs and milk with some salt and freshly ground black pepper until smooth.
Give the frying pan a wipe out, heat the second knob of butter. Once foaming, pour in the beaten egg and cook for 3 minutes, until the base is set. Spoon over the cooked chard and dot with the feta cheese. Cook for a further 1 to 2 minutes, until the egg has just set. Add a drizzle of olive oil and extra chilli, if you like it hot.
The danger with making a tortilla is that, in my book, they taste even better at room temperature – and a wedge of left-over tortilla on the kitchen counter is a hard thing to resist!
100ml/3½fl oz olive oil, plus a drizzle
2 white onions, thinly sliced
700g/1½lb new potatoes, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, bashed
150g/5oz chorizo, sliced
Large pinch paprika
½ tsp dried chilli flakes
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium-low heat. Add the onions, and cook for 10 minutes. Pat the potatoes dry and add them to the onions with the garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked through and starting to get colour.
Drain well and discard the garlic. Beat the eggs into a large bowl until smooth, fold in the potato-and-onion mixture and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.
Return the frying pan to a medium heat and add the chorizo. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until golden. Tip into the egg-and-potato mixture and gently fold through, adding the paprika and chilli flakes. Return the pan to the heat.
Add a drizzle of oil; once hot, carefully pour the tortilla mixture into the pan. Evenly distribute the potato, onion and chorizo, reduce the heat to low and cover with foil. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until set.
Preheat the grill to high. Place the tortilla pan under the grill until set and golden. Turn out on to a chopping board and let it cool for 10 minutes, or to room temperature, then cut into wedges.
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