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Two Pan Brunch

Omelet with young spinach and smoked Gouda with sage potato “fries”

Due to weather-imposed changes to my usual farmer’s market plans, I found myself with a bigger box of produce than usual, including a bag of young, tender spinach leaves from their greenhouse. Having used up half the bag in a dinner of spinach quesadillas (delicious), I did not want the rest of the tender green to go to waste, so Sunday brunch presented itself. Since the farmer had cautioned against cooking these leaves much, or at all, an omelet seemed the way to go. Usually I like to have bread with my egg dishes, but being out of bread meant I had to look elsewhere for my starch. I had two medium golden potatoes stored away from the week before and needing to be used, so my side dish presented itself as some form  of pan-fried potatoes.

I used two pans because I like both the omelet and the potatoes to be as warm as possible on the plate, but you can use just one pan, starting with the potatoes and then re-using the pan for the omelet, if your pan is reasonably non-stick.

The potatoes, part 1: Slice the potatoes into thick sticks; I ended up with fries about 2 inches long and slightly less than 1/2 inch thick – give or take. In salted water, boil the potato sticks until just tender, erring on the side of slightly underdone. It took about 10-12 minutes in my case. Drain and spread them out to dry and cool down a bit.

The omelet: Prep the spinach by removing any bigger, tougher stems if need be and chopping the (washed!) leaves into smaller pieces. Grate your cheese – I had a tiny wedge of smoked Gouda to use up but almost any other cheese you fancy, such as cheddar or Parmesan, or even some goat cheese, would work here. Whisk two eggs in a small bowl with a dash or two of Chipotle Tabasco (or other hot sauce), and salt and pepper. Heat some butter in a pan (one where your eggs don’t stick) over medium heat. Pour in the whisked eggs and let them set a bit. Add the grated cheese so it melts into the eggs. Throw spinach on top. When the eggs have set enough for you to be able to get a spatula around the edges of the omelet without tearing, carefully fold the omelet over, as one does. Let cook a bit longer so the spinach can wilt a bit, and flip once, to ensure even cooking. Omelets don’t take long, and you don’t want to overcook the eggs. Slide on plate and serve with the potatoes. Sprinkle extra cheese on the omelet if you want – I did.

Potatoes, part 2: While the butter is melting in your omelet pan, get your trusty cast iron pan ready over medium-high heat. Add some olive oil and a dab of butter, and once the oils are hot, throw in the cooked potato sticks. Let the potatoes brown, add salt if needed, and I recommend an herb of your choice. I used fresh sage and let the chopped leaves crisp along with the fries. After a few minutes, shuffle the fries around to get them brown on more than one side. Keep on heat until they have the crispness you like. Make cheesy fries by sprinkling some grated cheese  over the potatoes once they are on the plate.

Serve your brunch (or lunch, or dinner) with genmai cha (Japanese green tea with toasted rice) or other beverage of your choice. Ignore the dishes for a while, do not let your omelet go cold.

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