Winter brunch

Seattle is cold, clear, and dry today, the kind of weather that makes my thoughts turn to bicycling. Instead of venturing out, I cook a heavy brunch that will give me a lot of energy for a walk planned this evening, downhill to the post office and back.

We have a pack of four sweet Italian sausages from Skagit River that need to be cooked, so I slice those into disks and set them to cooking in a pan. While the meat browns, I mix a pair of eggs and garnish them with leftover rosemary and sage. Two leaves of sage give off a strong flavor. Next time, I’ll use just one leaf.

I put too much butter in the egg pan and recognize the familiar shape of a proto-omelet. Tipping back the edges, I let the buttery-egg liquid run to the edge of the pan, forming a lovely circle. I cannot make a proper omelet, no matter how much I doctor the process with egg or milk. The problem is with the flip.


To make an omelet, you heavily butter an omelet pan and add the beaten eggs or beaten egg-milk mixture. When the edges solidify, use a spatula to gently pull the egg edge and tilt the pan so that the pooled liquid runs to that side. Wait until the liquid solidifies, then repeat the process with a different part of the edge, until most of the liquid has been drained to the edges and you have lovely yellow disc in your omelet pan.

An omelet pan has sloping sides, rather than the harsh verticals of ordinary pans. This makes it easier, in theory, to flip the omelet. That’s what you do next. Flip the omelet with a flick of the wrist, causing the pan to lurch upward and send the omelet into the air. When the omelet lands, you cook the raw side and solidify the mass. Then add your filling, fold the omelet in half, and enjoy. You may need to cook the omelet for a minute or so to melt cheese, but you can start that as soon as you flip the omelet.

I know the circle is doomed, but I decide to attempt the necessary flip.

My record for flipping omelets is 0-20-1, meaning that I have never completed a successful flip. The “1″ represents the one time I flipped an omelet into the air and watched it complete a graceful double-flip, landing back on its original side. When I tried to flip it again, to cook the raw side, the usual disaster occurred.

I sometimes imagine a race of omelet-flipping aliens have come to earth. They would have very flexible wrists and fast reflexes.

My home town, Ballard, is next to the ocean, and my street is wide enough for flying saucer parking. This makes it easy for them to land in front of my house. They come to my door and say, “Flip for the fate of your world, human.” And then they hand me an omelet pan.

I don’t worry that much about this scenario, since it involves several things I don’t believe in: Aliens visiting my house, direct responsibility for saving the planet from imminent destruction, and my ability to flip an omelet. Thinking of the aliens helps me cope with the inevitable.

I always flip the omelet over the kitchen sink, to avoid messing up the stove. And I always complete the first part of the flip, throwing the disk up into the air and causing it to turn over. Sometimes, the omelet turns halfway, folding over the raw part. I have no choice but to make scrambled eggs. Usually, the omelet flips and lands half in the pan, shearing the other half into the sink and spattering egg on the counter. That’s what happens today. The aliens win.

I don’t know how they destroy the earth. My mind never wanders that far. I become preoccupied with salvaging the eggs and cleaning up my mess. My wife loves me because I make pancakes, and the flipping is much easier. If a race of pancake-making aliens ever appear on my doorstep to issue their challenge, they are screwed. But that’s a different daydream.

The sausages cook nicely, and I salvage a decent piece of herbed fried eggs, which came from a local organic farm.

The eggs are marked organic but not free-range. Interestingly, the yolks had varying color intensities, which is more common among free-range chickens. We bought their eggs because our usual suppliers, Skagit River and Sea Breeze, were out. I’ll ask about their methods at the next market.

The is nothing special, an oat bran bread that comes from nearby Arlington. I spread raspberry preserves, from my month of berries, onto both slices and enjoyed a hearty meal in the midday winter sun.

6 Responsesto “Winter brunch”

  1. Nosher of the North says:

    I actually prefer a scramble to an omelet. You can find several nice scrambles at my breakfast blog (
    If the aliens bring their own eggs, will you eat them? They certainly won’t be local. . .

  2. Man of La Muncha says:

    I also prefer scrambles, but I want to make at least one decent omelet in my life. Portland, Oregon, is a good town for scrambles if you ever visit there.

  3. leavesofjoy says:

    I worked for a year on the omelette station of a natural foods restaurant, and, at least at that place, they didn’t flip, either. Here’s how they did it:

    Be sure to use an all-metal pan, no plastic handles or icky teflon. I use a beautifully ugly old seasoned cast iron pan, with about 1.5 inch deep sloping sides. I don’t know its official purpose, I found it at a campsite and it’s my favourite pan.

    Heat the pan well with butter, then put in the scrambled eggs, proceeding as Man of la Muncha describes- tucking the sides up to let the raw egg flow in, etc.

    Then, when the whole bottom of the omelette is set, place it under a preheated broiler, about 2-3 inches away. That will cook the top layer, and also fluff it a bit, making a nice texture. When the top is solid, pull it out (careful- hot handle!) and place your fillings and cheese on one half. Broil again until cheese melts, then fold over, slip onto a plate, and be impressed with yourself!

    This is nearly foolproof, as long as your pan is broiler-safe, and releases the omelette well. Good luck!

  4. Man of La Muncha says:

    On the topic of scrambles and eggs, is there a “style” for scrambled eggs in Canada, as there is in England and in (at least parts) of the U.S.? Scrambled eggs in England (without added ingredients), tend to be runnier than similar dishes in the U.S. How are scrambles done in Quebec and the other Canadian provinces? I don’t recall having eggs during visits to B.C., though I know a place that will server oatmeal accompanied by their oatmeal stout.

  5. brad says:

    The few times I’ve eaten scrambles at Québecois homes they were pretty much like what you’d find in the US. My girlfriend is from France, so we usually have the traditional French breakfast of toast with jam, accompanied by a bowl of coffee. She won’t eat eggs for breakfast; the idea repels her. When we have omlettes, they’re for supper. But when she’s away, I make scrambled eggs for breakfast the best way I know how: cooked very slowly, on low heat, for at least half an hour, with a little milk and tarragon. The texture and flavour are unbeatable!

  6. Venusia says:

    I like my scrambled eggs very slightly runny, with a splash of soy sauce.

    But in general I prefer my eggs over easy; I forgo the jam, slather on the butter and dunk my bread in the yolk, so I source my eggs carefully.