, Gloucester, MA


June 19, 2013

Have dessert for dinner

Pillowy, baked souffle cradles strawberries

In the billowing arms of a sweetened omelet, local strawberries leave shortcake for Escoffier. A little lighter, a little more epicurean than strawberry shortcake, a dessert omelet filled with strawberries is as delicious as it is angelically light. The texture is pillowy, a magnificent foil for the explosive sweetness of June strawberries. Folding the egg yolks into the whites is the hardest part.

Call it a dessert omelet, a puffy omelet, this baked souffle folded over something — here, strawberries — is considered by cookbooks the second of two omelet methods. Food writer M.F.K. Fisher writes, “The second school of omelet is roughly defined as belonging to those addicts who believe eggs should be separated and then beaten hard, and then brought together again. Probably the main trick to remember in this technique is that the resulting foamy delicate mass should be cooked slowly instead of fast.”

Marion Cunningham in “The Breakfast Book” says this about the Puffy Omelet: “I like these airy, foamy omelets — they look so grand and filling.”

If only to remind you what yellow really looks like, it is worth seeking out fresh, local eggs for this reclining structure of whites and yolks. Not that grocery store eggs are bad, but they are really a different item than a local egg. Commercially produced, grocery store eggs can hold cakes together and decorate a salad, with scant flavor. Hard-boiled and sliced, commercial eggs are protein and visual cliche, but not much else.

“The best thing to do with aged eggs,” M.F.K. Fisher writes, “is not to buy them, since they are fit for nothing, and a poor economy.”

We don’t always have that luxury, but for this dessert omelet, I recommend finding the local ones; they’re fresher. Quarts of crimson strawberries are shining on farm-stand counters and farmers’ market carts as I write this; local eggs are usually close by.

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