There is a certain elegance to using only one main ingredient in a simple dish, it elevates it, making it’s presence important. Along with simplifying the dish, it also means the main ingredient must be cooked perfectly. Above all others, and in France especially, chanterelles are treasured in a simple omelet. As the 2013 Minnesota chanterelle season has started now, I knew this recipe would be a must to share.
So I know that chanterelles were used classically in omelets, but I wanted to see if there were any tricks or different ways they are traditionally prepared. I searched around online for “Omelet aux girolles”–“Omelet with chanterelles”. I expected a decent number of results, but was totally blown away with what I got, recipes including everything from herb puree sauces, to unsmoked ham, creme fraiche, sour cream, even bell peppers and bacon!-(which would totally ruin chanterelles).
The most important thing that I saw wasn’t a recipe method though, it was in the picture examples. Searching for “omelet aux girolles” in French gave me pictures that really spoke to what is certainly the original way to prepare the dish. The French sources more often than not had a thin open faced omelet, decorated all over with chanterelles, as opposed to some rolled up omelet with chanterelles in it. The simple method spoke to me, and was exactly what I was looking for.
It just didn’t seem right to hide chanterelles inside of an american style omelet. I mean I could have come up with a fine version of a rolled omelet I suppose, but it would not have been near as pretty, or as fun to eat.
Classic Chanterelle Omelet with Fines Herbes
Serves 1-multiply as needed
- 1 large egg, beaten until smooth with a tablespoon water
- 1 Tsbp Creme fraiche or sour cream
- 1 tsp chopped fresh fines herbes- (Equal parts: Tarragon, Parsley, Chives, Chervil-slice the chives individually, chop the other herbs together, then mix all when finished)
- 1.5 ounces fresh chanterelles (about a small handful if you don’t have a digital scale)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp grapeseed oil, or other searing oil like vegetable, or canola
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- Clean the chanterelles by holding them individually by their stems, swhish them lightly in cold water, then allow them to drain until thoroughly dry on towels. Very clean chanterelles may simply be brushed without washing.
- Whisk together the eggs, chopped herbs, and sour cream or creme fraiche.
- Heat the oil in a small cast iron skillet or a small teflon pan. (I used a small six inch cast iron with 2 inch sides). When the oil is hot and just begins to smoke, add the drained and completely dry chanterelles to the pan, cooking in the oil until they are lightly caramelized and golden, about 2-3 minutes.
- Season the chanterelles to taste with salt and pepper, then add the butter and melt.
- Add the egg mixture to the pan, let this cook for 30 seconds, stirring occasionally to form soft curds which should only lightly envelop the chanterelles, keeping them visible and not hidden under egg.
- When the egg mixture begins to coagulate, then turn the heat off of the pan and allow the eggs to set with the residual heat of the pan.
- Finish the omelet by seasoning with a touch of fine salt like kosher or flaked salt and serve immediately.