Where exactly does an omelette sit in meal classification? It is just as appropriate to serve one for breakfast as it is for dinner. It also makes a great brunch, lunch or late supper. Perhaps, then, that makes an omelette the perfect go-to meal – at any time of the day.
Oyster omelettes are synonymous with Chinese cuisine but I love making them in a traditional French way where the eggs are only just set. The difficulty with omelette recipes is that I can write about flavours and additions until the cows come home, but the trick is in the execution. I would strongly recommend making herb omelettes until you become confident. Only when you’ve aced those should you add the expensive luxuries of oysters and fish eggs. Everyone can learn from the techniques of French-born American chef, author and culinary educator Jacques Pépin. Videos of his true omelette mastery are easily accessible on YouTube.
For this omelette, native rock oysters (formerly known as Sydney rock oysters) are my mollusc of choice. The variety from south to north, both in flavour and size, is remarkable. These particular oysters come from Moreton Bay Marine Park, off the coast of southern Queensland – an area not commonly associated with oysters. The seeds were captured in the wild and then were finished in leases between North and South Stradbroke islands. Oysters spawn as the water warms, so having greater diversity in growing regions is effectively allowing us the pleasure of oysters all year round. Which is great when we’ve already established the pleasure of omelettes the whole day through.
15ml oyster sauce
30g crème fraîche
20g fish roe (salmon, lumpfish, caviar)
1 bunch chives, finely cut
cracked black pepper
Shuck the oysters and lift the meat out of the shell onto a rack to be grilled. Retain the liquid from the oysters and mix it into the oyster sauce.
Grill the oysters over a smoky fire until the meat is just set (about three minutes). Transfer the oysters to a small pot or pan and add the oyster sauce mixture. Cook in this sauce until the oysters get a glaze.
Crack the eggs into a bowl, add a pinch of salt and whisk them very well.
Place the butter into a non-stick pan with curved sides and allow it to melt before tipping the eggs in. Agitate and stir the eggs rapidly with a spatula until the curds start to set.
Ensure the mixture spreads to the edge of the pan then lay the oysters in a line down the middle from one side to the other. Evenly distribute the crème fraîche and fish roe along with the oysters, then finish with the finely cut chives and some cracked pepper.
To serve, roll opposite sides over and flip the omelette onto a plate.
This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Aug 8, 2020 as "Any time is right".
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