When I learned that babies are only supposed to eat eggs that are fully cooked, the gag-inducing hard-boiled eggs of my childhood leapt to mind. Those eggs that were so overdone, their yolks reminded me of a foggy day in Halifax – a glimmer of sun, tinged in grey.
The only other eggs that graced my early years were in egg salad, spread on white bread with Cheez Whiz. I still love Keira’s Nanny’s egg salad, though I no longer marry it to plastic cheese.
That was the extent of my egg eating. People, I didn’t eat runny yolks! I didn’t even know about them until my mid-twenties when I started reading more about food. After watching Julie & Julia, I conquered the poached egg. I eat them to the exclusion of almost all other forms of cooked egg. It seems a sin to scramble an egg, forever crushing its runny-yolked potential.
Some day, Keira will try runny yolks, perhaps sopping them up with her Nanny’s crusty sourdough. For now, though, Keira’s eggs must be fully cooked. There are, of course, delightful ways of preparing eggs beyond soft-poaching. My new goal is to master the fluffy omelette, and so I prepared one with new asparagus and aged cheese. I used a local Parmesan-style cheese, but an old cheddar or gouda would be excellent.
Asparagus Omelette (adapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian)
20g aged cheese, grated (you can use more, but be wary of sodium levels)
1 tsp vegetable oil
4 large eggs
A few grinds of pepper
Start by trimming and steaming the asparagus. To do so, cut off the woody ends of the asparagus – usually a centimetre or two from the bottom (wherever your knife meets resistance). Save these ends to make an asparagus stock for future use (wink wink).
Cut the asparagus into shapes and lengths appropriate for your baby. I cut mine into 2-centimetre lengths, which I think Keira could manage. Cut off the asparagus tips and be sure to give these an extra wash, as the grit likes to hide in them.
Steam the asparagus stems for about 5 minutes, then add the tips. Continue steaming until the asparagus is somewhat soft. My thin spears took about 8 minutes. Ultimately, you need to decide what is appropriate for your baby.
Take the asparagus off the heat and set aside.
In a bowl, crack the eggs and add the pepper. Whisk just a few times with a fork – it’s best to have strands of white and yolk, rather than a homogeneous mass.
Put the vegetable oil in a large cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the eggs. After a second, use a fork to lightly scramble the eggs. Don’t skip this step – it’s what will make the omelette pillowy and textured.
Turn down the heat to medium-low, and allow the eggs to cook. As the eggs set, sprinkle the cheese over the top. Lay the asparagus over one half. When the eggs are almost completely set, use a spatula to fold the non-asparagus side over the asparagus. Turn off the heat, and let the eggs finish cooking.
Before serving, make sure the eggs are entirely cooked and cooled a bit (if serving to a baby).