Bonzer Words!: Omelette de la Mère Poulard
...Around the turn of this century, a small inn, named the Auberge de Saint-Michel Tête d'Or flourished at the foot of the Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel. The owners were a Normand couple named Poulard, and over the years, the little inn established a reputation based upon the wife's masterful omelette-making technique...
Poppy Fogarty telles of a delicious omlette - and how to make it.
Always on the lookout for recipes that we can bring home when we travel in France, we have been fortunate to find and taste some wonderful dishes. Sometimes they have been in families for many years, and sometimes we get lucky and some kind French chef will come out and speak to us about a particular dish.
Mind you, it's only after—firstly asking the waiter to tell the chef what a wonderful dish it was—that we are Australian—that we love French food and that we simply must have this recipe to take home with us.
So often the chef (generally le Patron or Madame la Patronne), will come out, wiping their hands on the long cloth hanging from their apron, their chef's hat askew, to speak with us. Sometimes sitting down with us to drink a glass of wine, and even to ask us about Australia. Funnily enough, they often say to us 'Yes, I have a cousin, uncle, sister etc . . . in Australia,' and we laugh to ourselves, because this happens so often.
As you most likely know, The Mont St. Michel, on the border of Normandy and Brittany is probably one of the most visited sites in France. A magnificent edifice, it stands alone, surrounded by water, with only a thin narrow road leading up to it.
Around the turn of this century, a small inn, named the Auberge de Saint-Michel Tête d'Or flourished at the foot of the Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel. The owners were a Normand couple named Poulard, and over the years, the little inn established a reputation based upon the wife's masterful omelette-making technique.
Stories came back to the towns of the wonderful Mère Poulard omelettes. They were so light and creamy it was said—mysterious too . . .
How did she make them?
What was her secret?
Did she add extra water to the egg mixture?
Did she whip the whites and yolks separately?
Did she use a special pan? Special butter? Special salt?
When Mère Poulard died in 1931, many said that the secret died with her.
The family who took over the Auberge, and now run it as Hôtel Poulard, claim the secret was passed to them when they purchased the business. How true this is, one does not know.
But then again, there is a second restaurant at the foot of the abbey which also claims to make the true Mère Poulard omelette, so who knows?
So here is the recipe devised by Chef Claude Guermont, who kindly supplied it to us, and it truly is exactly as they serve it in the restaurant.
I am sure many of you make omelettes. However this recipe has been cooked for many, many years and nearly everyone who visits La Mère Poulard would like to re-create it at home.
OMELETTE DE LA MÈRE POULARD
The preparation for this omelette is so simple it is difficult to believe it tastes so wonderful. To increase the rise of the egg mixture, do not add salt, rather, substitute lightly-salted butter for un-salted butter. To realize the full potential of this dish, use the freshest eggs you can find.
3 eggs at room temperature
2 tablespoons lightly salted butter. 1) Break the eggs into a large bowl and whip until approximately 4 or 5 times their original volume.
Melt the butter in a 10inch heavy pan, over medium to high heat (preferably a gas flame) until bubbly. Do not let the butter brown. Add the egg mixture, but do not stir.
Hold the pan approximately half an inch above the heat source, tilting it gently from side to side and from front to back. The top surface should remain foamy, but as soon as a light brown crust begins to form along the sides of the omelette, remove it from the heat and place under a preheated grill for 15 seconds.
Remove from the grill, gently fold the omelette in half and slide it out of the pan onto a plate. Divide in half and serve at once.
In our family we serve this with just a side salade verte (green salad) with vinaigrette dressing.
© Poppy Fogarty
Poppy writes for Bonzer! magazine. Please visit www.bonzer.org.au