One of the great things (maybe the only) about Louisiana in the summer is the extra food that seems ever-present. Whether it's the tomatoes from your neighbors' garden that won't stop, or the crustaceans pouring from the boiling pots, somehow, you often wind up with lots of fresh something that you need to eat. I will miss this if/when we move to colder climes... For this month's cooking challenge, southern Louisiana provided the inspiration and ingredients!
On special occasions, we get breakfast at this great little joint in downtown Mandeville (one block north of Lake Ponchartrain) called "The Broken Egg" (http://www.anotherbrokenegg.com/), then go for a much needed walk along the lakefront. They have a VERY rich omelet called "The Floridian" in which fresh lump crab meat is sauteed with garlic and green onions and lusciously adorns a cream cheese-stuffed omelet. The sides (as if you need a side) include country potatoes and fruit. Ordinarily, I wouldn't even think of trying to make this sinfully rich breakfast item, but thanks to Louisiana bounty, I found myself with a grocery bag full of boiled crabs and a bushel of freshly boiled potatoes in my fridge - the potatoes came from the neighbor's garden, the crabs from a party where the gigantic cooler was stuffed full.
It sounds like a good idea to pick a bag full of crabs for this challenge, but when you're not getting the immediate satisfaction of eating as you go and there is no ice cold beer to soothe your bleeding and burning fingers, not so much fun! But, for all of you wondering, "How does one pick a crab?" here you go:
It is made a bit more difficult when a little someone, who's gotten his first taste of this delicious Fruit de Mer, won't leave you alone until he gets a bite (then another, and another).
Now that the crabs have been picked (sans a few bites), I was ready to gather the ingredients to make "The Floridian". For a family of 2 1/2 they are:
Lump crab meat (a bowl-full)
4 green onions
4 - 6 cloves of garlic (yeah...garlic)
1/2 tbs butter
splash of milk/soy milk
6 oz Philadelphia cream cheese
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 tbs olive oil
dash or two of Tony's
For the country potatoes, I used 4-5 boiled (in crab boil no less) garden-fresh potatoes and about 1 tbsp of olive oil. And since this was our dinner and not breakfast, I steamed a broccoli crown as a side instead of fruit.
Once the potatoes were diced, I heated up some olive oil in a skillet, plopped them in, and left them alone. Next, I needed to saute the crab meat with the onions and garlic. Heat up the butter in a skillet, add chopped green onions and minced garlic. Heat through, then add the crab meat. The smell of this buttery, garlicky concoction was intoxicating!
As the crab meat warms through, it is time to make the omelets. For the adults, each omelet had 2 eggs, for the little squirt, only one. I made each omelet separately...whisked the eggs, a dash or two of Tony's, a splash of soy milk (or whole milk), and a pinch of shredded cheese. Then I liberally oiled the skillet, and heated it through. Once the bottom of the omelet had set a bit, I added a hunk of cream cheese to one side.
I do get stressed out when I am making omelets, mainly because I am always nervous that it's not going to look right. I either get something that looks lovely (on left) or hideous (on right):
I got 2 out of 3 O.K., and the final product looked pretty good:
yes...that is a kid's plate, but it was the best looking one of the bunch. Anyway, we all enjoyed it thoroughly. The gooey cream cheese melded perfectly with the sweet crab meat saute, and the country potatoes and broccoli nicely complemented the transition from breakfast item to dinner item. If I were to make this again (not sure I will, given the fact that I had cuts on my hands for a week), I would make all of our omelets with just one egg - that's some rich stuff!