[Photograph: Daniel Gritzer]
In the world of cooking, dishes labeled “Florentine” almost always feature spinach, so it’s no surprise that that’s the calling card of this classic omelette. To round out all those healthy green leaves is a generous amount of melted Gruyere or Swiss cheese, but don’t let the short ingredient list fool you: This omelette is packed with flavor. It’s also, in the case of this recipe, packed with a truly generous amount of filling, which makes this five-egg omelette a meal that can easily fill two people, if not more.
There are just a couple keys to success. First, this recipe uses the basic rules of the classic American omelette, as described by Kenji in his article on the overall technique. (For those turned off by the browned eggs and giant half-moon shape, you may be better off reading our guide to French omelettes here.) Those rules include seasoning the eggs well in advance of cooking to make them more tender, and cooking the eggs with as little stirring as possible to create large and fluffy curds.
For the filling, there are few things to keep in mind. First, mind your spinach: We strongly prefer cooking with Savoy (or curly) spinach rather than baby spinach and other flat-leaf varieties. Savoy spinach retains some semblance of texture even when it’s been cooked until extremely tender, which is something flat-leaf types of spinach can’t say for themselves (they cook down to an unfortunately slick and slimy texture). Frozen spinach works well in this recipe too, and unlike fresh curly spinach, it doesn’t need to be washed thoroughly to rinse away sandy grit before cooking.
Whether you decide to use fresh or frozen spinach, after cooking you’ll want to squeeze out excess moisture in order to avoid ending up with a watery omelette. And no matter what kind of spinach or cheese you choose, this omelette makes an excellent breakfast, brunch, lunch, or even dinner.
Why It Works
- Salting the eggs in advance helps break down the eggs’ protein structure, leading to a more tender omelette.
- Mixing the cheese with the sautéed spinach gets a jump-start on its melting.
- 5 large eggs
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black or white pepper
- 3 1/2 ounces (100g) grated Gruyère or Swiss cheese
- 2 tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter, divided
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound (450g) fresh Savoy spinach, thoroughly washed, or 10 ounces (283g) defrosted frozen spinach (see note)
In a medium bowl, season eggs with salt and pepper, then whisk until homogeneous and frothy. Set aside.
Add cheese to a separate medium heatproof bowl, and line a large plate with a double layer of paper towels. In a 10-inch nonstick skillet, melt 1 tablespoon (15g) butter over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is aromatic and just begins to soften, about 30 seconds.
If using fresh spinach: Add spinach to skillet, cover, and cook until just wilted, about 2 minutes (you may have to press down on the spinach with the lid at first to cover, but the spinach will rapidly lose volume as it wilts). Uncover, season with salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently, until spinach is very soft and most of the liquid it has released has evaporated, about 4 minutes.
If using defrosted frozen spinach: Add spinach to skillet, season with salt and pepper, and stir well to combine. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, uncovered, until excess water has evaporated, about 4 minutes.
Transfer cooked spinach to paper towel-lined plate, roll up in the towels, and squeeze gently to extract any additional excess moisture; discard paper towels and any accumulated liquid. Transfer hot spinach to bowl with cheese.
Wipe out now-empty skillet, and melt remaining 1 tablespoon (15g) butter over medium heat, swirling frequently, until butter is lightly browned. Re-whisk eggs until foamy, then add to skillet and cook, using a silicone spatula to push the edges in toward the center as they set and tilting the pan to spread the uncooked egg underneath. Continue pushing in the edges of the eggs and tilting the skillet, working all around the pan, until omelette is almost set, about 45 seconds.
Sprinkle spinach and cheese mixture over half of omelette, remove from heat, cover, and let omelette sit until mostly or fully cooked through on top (depending on your preferred consistency), about 1 minute.
Using silicone spatula, loosen the edges of the omelette from skillet and shake skillet to ensure that it’s not stuck. Carefully fold omelette in half to enclose the filling, then slide it onto a serving plate and serve immediately.
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