Eggpanada

Have you wondered what you can use with all the egg whites you've stored in the fridge while baking or cooking carbonara? There are a few healthy options you can use with your remaining egg whites, like meringue, a rice scramble with ground cauliflower, or an omelette. The latter is a tasty, protein-packed breakfast (or brunch, or lunch) made from herbs, cheese, milk, cold cuts, and egg whites.


Sure, an egg white omelette doesn't have the same, say, influential bandwidth, as a traditional one made of egg yolk, but give the egg whites a chance, and you won't regret it. The key here are two things: an intense whisk, to achieve an airy, fluffy, souffle-like texture; and adding in sharp cheese like cheddar, to bind the fat to the egg white and boost the omelette flavour. Think of this analogy like sprinkling sea salt on your mug of hot chocolate -- remember the amplified taste? That's what cheddar will contribute to the egg whites.


This recipe is fun to do, simple and easy, as you can throw in excess packs of vegetables in your fridge, and make use of that half-opened carton of milk, or that can of button mushrooms you used to make stew, sauce or curry for dinner, or those bits of salami, prosciutto and ham that you nibbled on during your virtual cheese and wine night with the gang, and don't really want to throw away because we want to save what we can (and food waste is one of the worst things to do during this pandemic).


I used two kinds of cheese for this recipe to give it some depth: cheddar and a small chunk of gruyere cheese. Cheddar not only lent some sharpness, but also gave the dish literal weight to keep the omelette from curling up too fast. The gruyere gave a good foil to the strong taste of cheddar, but parmesan will also do. Again, this is about utilising whatever you can scrounge in your refrigerator; don't order what you are not going to use in the next two weeks.


Because cheese is the main base for this dish, it reminds me of "The Big Cheese" episode of Dexter's Laboratory, where the titular character just kept repeating omelette du fromage the whole day. After cooking, however, the physical result looked more like a cross between a scrambled egg white and an empanada; so here it goes: the breakfast Egg-panada, to get us through the last few days of May and the extended community quarantine.


 

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves: 1-2


Ingredients:


6 egg whites

1/3 cup or 90 ml whole or skimmed milk

1/2 cup green bell pepper

1 cup chorizo, ham, leftover cold cuts

1/2 cup mixed cheese gratings*

1/4 cup mixed greens: spring onions, rosemary bits, chopped parsley

2 basil leaves for garnish

1 tablespoon olive oil or unsalted butter


*I used cheddar and gruyere, but you can also use another kind of cheese with the cheddar; it's better to use a lighter cheese to complement the cheddar.


1. Whisk egg whites and milk until frothy. Whisk like the fast and furious! Meanwhile, heat olive oil or butter on skillet at medium-high. Once butter has melted, or olive oil starts to sizzle when you flick a few drops of water on it, pour milk and egg batter evenly until it becomes a thick enlarged circle.


2. While batter bubbles and cooks, sprinkle bell peppers and thicker vegetables first to soften them, followed by cold cuts and cheese bits.

When sprinkling the cheese, start with the cheddar first, as this sinks into the mixture. Gruyere, parmesan and mozzarella gratings rise and form bubbles.


Once the cheese melts, throw in the chopped herbs and alliums (leftover spring onions, rosemary, parsley, or other micro-greens you may have in the chiller).


3. Reduce heat when the edges start to curl and you can lift the inside with a flat turner. Feel the omelette with the flat part of your turner or cooking spoon. Once it feels hard yet spongey, you can now turn off the heat.

See the edges curling or shrinking from the end? That means your omelette is almost done.


Carefully transfer the omelette into a serving plate and flip one side to touch the other side. Garnish with basil or whatever extra herbs you may have, and remaining cheddar.

I know, food purists and professional chefs may not like blue plates because it is thought to make the dish look unappetising, but I don't care, because I fell in love with this handcrafted Kevala platter at first sight, and also, it's a pretty contrast to the egg whites, or any bread or cream-based dish. :-p