(Omelettes filled with mushrooms, cream cheese, and parsley and topped with a cream sauce and Gruyère cheese)
This incredibly delicious omelette is my version of the Omelette Gargamelle once served in the restaurant Gargantua in Chinon, France, for which I found the recipe in a French recipe collection (source below). The main differences I have made to this recipe are to use a bit more egg, a LOT more cheese, and to cook the omelettes slightly differently (I cook them to a golden brown without contant stirring and shaking (the American way), but roll them instead of folding them (the French way), and before the inside has completely "set" (also more like the French do it)).
The names of both the restaurant and the dish come from the 16th century stories of Gargantua and Pantagruel by François Rabelais, who spent his childhood in the town of Chinon. Gargamelle was one of the characters in these stories.
INGREDIENTS (for 2 omelettes):
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 4 oz mushrooms, finely chopped
- salt and pepper
- 6 eggs
- 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
- 2 oz cream cheese, softened
- 2 oz Gruyère cheese, grated
INGREDIENTS (for the cream sauce):
- 6 fl oz milk
- 1-2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp flour
- 2 fl oz (1/4 cup) crème fraiche (or heavy cream)
- salt and white pepper
- pinch of nutmeg
INSTRUCTIONS FOR CREAM SAUCE (you can make this before or after the omelettes):
- Scald the milk (heat on stove or in microwave, stirring often, until it starts to steam)
- Melt butter in a heavy saucepan. Whisk in flour and cook until foaming, about a minute. This is called making a roux. Most recipes will tell you to use a 1:1 ratio of butter to flour, but I find that you generally end up with a lump of paste instead the liquidy stuff you need to thicken your sauce. Note: if you do not cook your roux long enough, your sauce will taste like flour.
- Remove the pan from heat, and slowly whisk in the milk until well blended (no lumps).
- Bring the sauce back to a boil, stirring/whisking constantly, until it thickens as much as you desire.
- Add the crème fraiche and season to taste with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR OMELETTES:
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
- Melt a tablespoon of butter in a frying pan over low heat. Add the chopped shallot and cook over low heat until soft.
- Add the mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Cook over medium to medium high heat, stirring often, until the liquid in the mushrooms evaporates (5-10 minutes).
- Whisk the mushroom and shallot mixture into the eggs until frothy, then stir in the parsley.
- Heat a tablespoon of butter in an 8 inch omelette or frying pan on medium heat until it's nice and foamy. Make sure it coats the entire bottom of the pan, as you want your egg mixture to kind of "float" on it a bit.
- Pour half the egg mixture in the pan. You can stir the mixture lightly with a fork for the first few seconds, but stop when it starts to set up a bit. Let the mixture cook until the bottom begins to brown slightly.
- Add half the softened cream cheese to the middle of the omelette (while the top surface is still a bit runny), wait for it to soften a bit more, then spread it out in a line across the middle.
- Fold a third of the edge of the omelette over to the middle, then "roll" it up the rest of the way, sort of in thirds. Again, the middle will still be a bit runny, but go ahead and roll it up, anyway. It will continue to cook a bit after you remove it from the heat, and it will spend a bit of time in the oven later, as well, so it WILL finish cooking.
- Remove the omelette to a baking dish, then cook the other half of the egg mixture as you did the first, and place the second omelette in the dish with it.
- Top the omelettes with cream sauce and grated Gruyère
- Bake omelettes in oven until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling (about 5 minutes). Serve immediately.
"Omelette Gargamelle" recipe, page 102 of La France Gastronomique by Anne Willan (first U.S. edition, (c)1991 by Anne Willan Inc.) . Arcade Publishing, New York