In August, my husband’s aunt gave a stack of cookbooks that had belonged to his grandmother. The kind from the sixties and seventies when butter was used without a second thought and 45 minute meal time preparation was considered rapid.
Each region has its place, as each region of France has its own cuisine. The recipes are old school, traditional. Meals that your grandmother would have made and other recipes that have been – if not forgotten – than swept aside by more interesting, flavorful cuisine. As I have an interest in traditional regional cuisine, this cookbook has been an inspiring read. There are many recipes I want to try, a few I already have and even a few that made me say “People ate that?”
In the Normandy chapter, I found what is probably the simplest recipe in the book. Omelette de la Mère Poulard. A poulard being a hen, so this recipe has a somewhat ironic title. What interested me about it wasn’t the ingredients, but the method. It called for separating the white and yolk of the egg, whisking them separately and then cooking the yolk first and adding the white with a bit of crème fraiche after.
I’d never seen an omelet cooked like this and decided to give it a try. The result was a perfectly fluffy, light egg with a lovely look. The yolk being in the center of the white. Simple. Easy. Pretty.
Omlette de la Mère Poulard or Mother Hen’s Omelet
- One egg
- 1 tsp crème fraiche
- salt and pepper to taste
Separate the white from the yolk and beat them separately. Heat oil or butter in a single serve frying pan. Be sure the pan is well greased. Once the pan is well heated, turn it down to medium heat and add the egg yolk. Season with salt and pepper to taste. While the yolk is cooking beat the white with the cream. Work fast because as soon as the yolk has cooked – about 2 minutes – add the white and the cream. You can flip or not as you choose. Let cook until nice and fluffy.
I served my omelet with sweet potato hash browns and Vendée ham.
Vendée is a department in the Pays de la Loire southwest of Maine et Loire and Angers. Each region has its ham and when I found out about this specialty I immediately found a charcuterie at the market that sold it.
Waxy, thick, this is a fatty ham like Serrano or Parma, salted and left to dry. Unique however, is the use of spices like cinnamon, thyme and all spice as well as eau de vie which is rubbed into the ham before it has dried. This gives it a sweet taste, offsetting the salt that most jambon cru has.
Normandy and Pays de la Loire are not so far apart. A northwestern lunch. Or brunch perhaps?
I usually like my eggs fried sunny side up. Have you ever made an omelet this way? How do you like your eggs?