I had planned to write about springtime in Kansas City today—about how the roar of the air conditioner has taken the place of my space heater’s hum, how the tulips are ablaze, and how it seems like the entire city is joining us on our evening strolls—but it snowed yesterday. During a very unusual May storm, unwelcome snowflakes blanketed our green grass in a patchy white covering. I’m happy to say that it has already melted. Whoa, what’s going on?
When I went into my favorite small health food store in Kansas City the weekend before last, it was warm, and I discovered the first of the season’s cherry tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes are consistently delicious because they are ripe through the middle and juicy. They are my go-to tomatoes until those magnificent heirloom tomatoes start showing up at the market in the middle of the summer. Anyway, after coming up with this dish, I went back to the shop to buy more regional tomatoes, but I was unable to do so. Regarding the tomatoes, perhaps I spoke too soon.
The recipe I have today is a combination of two food concepts I encountered last week in Oklahoma. Oklahoma isn’t exactly renowned for cutting edge culinary concepts, but then again, I don’t aspire to be a cutting edge chef. Inspiration is everywhere. Both roasted cherry tomatoes and omelets stuffed with smashed tortilla chips were new to me, and I can now say I’m a fan of both. I found the sweet and juicy, whole roasted cherry tomatoes in Nebu‘s salad bar line when my dad took me to lunch at the new Devon tower. They make this fresh homemade salsa taste extraordinary.
Later in the week, I ordered an omelet stuffed with tortilla chips out of curiosity when I went to brunch with friends at Juan del Fuego’s. A small handful of chips lend salty crunch and extra flavor to the interior of the omelet. It’s indulgent and lowbrow and wonderful. If you’re familiar with Tex-Mex migas (eggs scrambled with tortilla chips) or if you’ve ever tried huevos rancheros with crispy tortillas, you’re probably firing up your skillet already.
I’ve been working on my omelet-making technique all week and I can’t say I’ve perfected it yet, but I’ve typed up my method as best I can below. Don’t worry if your omelet doesn’t turn out perfectly; the worst that can happen is that you end up with scrambled eggs. Any combination of eggs, chips, salsa and cheese is going to be delicious. Serve with coffee, mimosas or spicy bloody marys in the morning or a Mexican beer with lime at dinner.
Oh and the internet (and Julia Child and Jacques Pépin) will tell you that you must use a non-stick skillet to make an omelet, but I’ve been making mine in my 8-inch cast iron skillet without trouble. For it to work, though, your cast iron skillet must be well-seasoned. Another tip: be sure to heat your skillet before adding anything to the pan to further prevent sticking. (Wondering why I’m so obsessed with my cast iron skillets? Several reasons. They’re non-toxic, non-stick and easy to clean once you get the hang of them. Regular non-stick skillets can release toxins when over-heated or scratched; cast iron pans do not. Cast iron pans are affordable and last forever.)
Also read: Pumpkin Oat Pancakes
Roasted Cherry Tomato Salsa (quantities below yield enough for 2 saucy to 4 not-so-saucy omelets)
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- ½ teaspoon olive oil
- ½ small white onion, chopped
- ⅓ cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped
- 1 jalapeño, deseeded and membranes removed, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small lime, juiced, or 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
Tex-Mex Omelet (quantities below yield 1 omelet)
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons milk or water
- pinch sea salt
- pinch black pepper
- hot sauce (Cholula recommended)
- 1 scant tablespoon butter
- ⅓ cup Jack cheese or other melty cheese, shredded
- 3 tablespoons black beans
- handful blue corn chips or tortilla chips, broken into small bite-sized pieces
- optional garnishes: sliced avocado, sour cream, hot sauce, etc.
- Make the salsa: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a small, rimmed baking pan with parchment paper for easy clean-up. Toss the cherry tomatoes with ½ teaspoon olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt on the baking pan. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until the tomatoes are juicy and collapsing on themselves.
- In a bowl, mix together the chopped onion, cilantro, jalapeño, garlic, lime juice or vinegar and sea salt. Once the tomatoes have cooled enough to handle, use a serrated knife to chop them. Pull off the tomato skins as you go for a smoother salsa. Mix the tomatoes into the mixture. Taste and add more salt or lime juice if necessary.
- Make the omelet: In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk or water, sea salt, black pepper and a few dashes of hot sauce. You want the egg mixture to be super scrambled. Heat an 8-inch, well-seasoned cast iron skillet or non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Once the pan is hot enough that a drop of water sizzles on contact, toss in the pat of butter and swirl the pan to coat. Pour in the egg mixture and let it set for about ten seconds. Use a heat-safe spatula to gently scoot the set eggs toward the middle of the pan, then tilt the pan so runny eggs take their place. Repeat this process until there is hardly any runny eggs to scoot around. Use your spatula to gently release the underside of the omelet from the pan. Tilt the pan a little forward and back to make sure it’s not stuck anywhere, then use a quick flick of the wrist to flip the omelet back into the pan. Let it set for a few seconds, then scoot it off the pan onto a plate.
- Immediately top ½ of the warm omelet with a sprinkle of cheese, followed by black beans, smashed tortilla chips, and more cheese, then gently fold the other half on top. Spoon a generous amount of salsa (warm the salsa first if necessary) over the middle of the omelet as shown. Serve immediately.
IF YOU’RE IN A HURRY, skip roasting the tomatoes and make pico de gallo using the salsa recipe below, or gently warm store-bought salsa instead. If an omelet seems too tricky, just make scrambled eggs.