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What’s cooking today: Tomato, cheese & basil omelette

What’s cooking today: Tomato, cheese & basil omelette
Tony Jackman’s tomato, cheese and basil omelette. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

Juicy baby roma tomatoes and tiny leaves plucked from the Greek basil bush in my back yard gave this breakfast omelette a fresh touch.

Cheddar cheese and eggs are a happy match in any recipe, and the hearty impact of the cheese is balanced by the freshness of tomato and sweet herbs in this one. My basil happens to be Greek, a tiny-leaved variety of this wonderful herb, but you can of course use the regular basil found in most vegetable stores.

You may have heard me say this before, but never be mean with an omelette, because no matter how generous the filling is, it’s still all about the eggs. I only ever cook them in butter, believe that they should be made of three jumbo eggs, and I never add milk or bicarbonate of soda. The argument is that a bit of bicarb helps them fluff up, which it does; but it also changes the texture and flavour in an unpleasant way. I detest an omelette tarnished by bicarb, and milk thins out the eggs.

The fluffiness you’re after comes from three things: vigorous whisking, foaming butter, and the right temperature in order to achieve that foam.

A good omelette starts off at a high heat and finishes low.

(Per 1 omelette)

Ingredients

3 jumbo eggs

3 generous Tbsp butter

4 baby roma tomatoes, halved

2 Tbsp olive oil

10-12 baby basil leaves or 5 or 6 big leaves, torn into smaller pieces

50 g Cheddar cheese, grated

Salt and black pepper

Method

Slice the tomatoes in half and cook them in a little olive oil for 2 minutes, tossing. Season with salt and pepper.

Grate the Cheddar cheese. Pick the basil leaves off their stems.

Have all of the above ready, next to the stove, and a medium-sized frying pan, preferably non-stick. You need to work on a high flame to start with, then turn it down.

Break three eggs into a bowl.

Melt 3 Tbsp butter and, as soon as it is foaming, whisk the eggs vigorously and pour them in while still whisking. Turn the heat down a little. Tilt the pan left and right, fore and back, for the egg to run around, while using a spatula in your other hand to pull the egg in from the sides while the raw eggs pours to the part you’ve just cleared.

Keep doing this only until the egg is nearly set, then turn the heat down low and scatter the Cheddar over, then add the tomatoes, then scatter leaves over. Season with salt and pepper.

Place the filling ingredients over one half of the omelette, and fold over towards that side. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

With the spatula, turn one half of the omelette over to make a half-moon and give it another minute or so of cooking.

Slide carefully onto a plate, grind some black pepper over and add a sprinkling of salt, and get on with the next omelette if making more. The etiquette, because omelettes have to be made one at a time, is for the first person served to start eating right away. DM

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks.

This dish is photographed on a plate by Mervyn Gers Ceramics.

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