Holiday Brunch-Worthy: Tofu Omelet with Pesto, Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms
Now, I realize I promised a light and not-too-filling recipe today, but before we get to that, I must share something very rich and decadent and–because I ate most of it in one sitting–rather filling: the Peppermint Ritter Sport bar I won (a while ago, now) in Amey’s contest!
I received the bar in the mail a couple of weeks ago, and was thrilled to rip open the envelope and find that it reached me in perfect condition–all the way from California! While a couple of the squares had broken apart, the smooth, white, minty filling remained enclosed in the chocolate and every piece was perfectly edible. And believe me, eat it I did (well, I shared–just a wee bit–with the HH).
I also loved that the entire wrapper was in German! Here in Toronto, anyway, the Ritter Sports we get have multiple languages on the wrappers, including French and English. It made Amey’s seem much more authentic. Thanks so much, Amey! It’s always so exciting to get something fun in the mail, and that bar is a definite new favorite. (Wow, I think I’m a little overwhelmed with all the goodies I’ve received in the mail from other bloggers these past few months! Have I mentioned lately that you guys are THE BEST??!)
And after dessert. . . . breakfast!
A couple of weeks ago, I went out for brunch with my friend PR Queen to celebrate both our birthdays, which are a month apart. (Yes, this really was the birthday that refused to surrender!)
In any case, we went to an upscale vegan resto called Fressen, where the food is stellar (and the prices are equally astronomical). I relished my fresh beet, apple and carrot juice; salad of baby greens and balsamic-dijon dressing; and stuffed tofu omelet. But I just couldn’t see myself going there on a regular basis, mostly because (a) it’s right in the heart of the Queen West area of Toronto, just a minim too trendy, too grungy and too crowded for my taste; (b) Queen West is right in the heart of the general downtown in Toronto, a 35-minute drive away at the best of times, but more like an hour-plus when there’s traffic; (c) the prices there are, as I mentioned, bordering on the stratosphere; and (d) if I kept eating brunch there on a regular basis, I’d be denying myself the challenge of re-creating the same brunch at home. Which, because I’m just wacky that way, I endeavored to do the very next weekend.
First, I suppose I should pause here to admit that, for most of my life, I have been severely Ovule-Challenged. Whether soft boiled, sunny-side up, over easy, or any other way, I never did master egg cooking skills. And omelets add yet another layer of difficulty: the perfect (egg) omelet is meant to be uniformly puffy and light, all in one piece, possessing a slightly gooey interior that I’ve always found rather gag-inducing. Even when the HH and I were first together and I attempted omelets on a regular basis, my egg oeuvres (or would that be oeufres?) would invariably crack and split and wilt like leaves on my sorely neglected ficus plant every time I tried to flip them, resulting in breakage and a pan housing three or four large, ragged-edge slabs of egg, sprawled at odd angles. I’d end up stirring the mixture furiously, ultimately transforming it into a semi-scramble and calling it frittata. It wasn’t long before the HH took over omelet duty. He’s never had a problem whipping one up (literally); and, to this day, he cooks an omelet for himself almost every Sunday.
I assumed I’d have more success re-creating that tofu-based Fressen beauty (even though my first attempt at a tofu omelet also lacked that airy, pillowy texture, despite its wonderful flavor). What I loved about the Fressen version was how it seemed both moist and fluffy at the same time; while clearly cooked and browned on the outside, the inside remained soft, creamy, and light as custard. Stuffed with a succulent, rich filling of pesto, caramelized leek and mushrooms, it was a vision to behold: golden and crisp on the outside; vibrant green, tan and walnut-brown on the inside. And the flavor! The perfect edible mixture of woodsy, grassy, and airy. I wanted more!
Given its ultra-light texture, I surmised that the omelet included silken tofu along with the firm. I’d already mastered pesto during the summer when my experimental home-grown basil flourished so remarkably; and while we didn’t have leeks in the fridge, we did have an abundance of onions, which served as a servicable replacement.
I created the omelet base by adapting the generic recipe in Joni Marie Newman’s Cozy Inside, with several adjustments and additions. I used home-made pesto, but you could just as well use store-bought. The rest of it comes together in a flash.
While the result wasn’t quite as fluffy as I’d hoped it would be, this did render a reasonable facsimile of the original. Great for a brunch at home after a holiday feast, and an especially tasty way to economize and avoid those sky-high restaurant bills .
Given the cilantro-based pesto filling, I thought this would be a good submission to Weekend Herb Blogging, the event run by Haalo over at Cook (Almost) Anything Once, and this week hosted by Scott over at Real Epicurean.
Tofu Omelet with Pesto, Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms
Diet, Dessert and Dogs (http://dietdessertndogs.com)
You can use any tofu-based omelet recipe you choose for this recipe. While this one tastes great and the flavors are beautifully complemented by the filling, it is very fragile and breaks easily. A more sturdy recipe is this one; or use a version of your own.
about 1/3 to 1/2 cup (80 to 120 ml.) pesto of choice (store-bought or home made)
2 Tbsp. (30 ml.) extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, sliced thinly in half-moons
about 3/4 pound (350 g.) button, cremini, portobello or other mushrooms, sliced
Olive oil spray
1 pkg. (12 oz. or 375 g.) aseptically-packaged, firm silken tofu (such as Mori-Nu)
1/2 pkg. (about 6 oz. or 190 g.) regular extra-firm tofu
1/4 cup (60 ml.) plain or unsweetened soymilk
1 tsp. (5 ml.) instant vegetable broth powder
3/4 tsp. (7.5 ml.) turmeric
1/4 cup (60 ml.) nutritional yeast
1 tsp. (5 ml.) garlic powder
1 tsp. (5 ml.) dried parsley or 1 Tbsp. (15 ml.) fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp. (30 ml.) organic cornstarch
1 Tbsp. (30 ml.) tahini (sesame paste)
2 Tbsp. (30 ml.) brown rice flour
Make the filling: In a large frypan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until they are translucent, about 5 minutes. Cover and continue to cook another 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and golden. Add the mushrooms and sauté another 5 minutes or so until they soften and begin to give off a bit of their liquid. Cover and turn off heat.
Make the omelettes: In a food processor, combine all ingredients until smooth.
Spray an omelet-sized (I used 8 inches, about 18-20 cm.) frypan with olive oil spray and heat over medium heat. Pour 1/4 to 1/3 of the omelet mixture into the pan (depending on how thick you like your omelet) and spread it to cover evenly. Cook 6-8 minutes, until the bottom is browned and the top is almost dry. Flip and cook the other side for a minute or two more. While the bottom cooks, spread 1/4 to 1/3 of the pesto over half of the omelet; top with 1/4 to 1/3 of the mushroom/onion mixture. When done, fold the omelet in half to cover the filling and slide from the pan onto the plate. Dig in! Makes 3 or 4 omelets, depending on thickness.
To flip the omelet, I use Joni Marie Newman’s method, as described in her book: “slide [the omelet] out of the pan onto a plate, cooked side down, then put the pan on top of the plate, and flip the uncooked side of the omelet back into the pan.” Then cook the other side according to your recipe.