Monday, 15 November 2010

Chilli, Cheese and Ham Omelette with Real Homemade Chips

are perhaps more often eaten for breakfast or lunch than for dinner. The fact that they are so easy and quick to prepare, however, along with the variety of fillings which can be incorporated in them, make them the perfect option for a simple dinner recipe. This means that an omelette is the perfect solution as to what to have for dinner on a night when you are tired, short of time, or both.

The chips that I have served with this chilli, cheese and ham omelette are prepared in a way similar to that first suggested by British TV chef, Heston Blumenthal. It involves first parboiling the chips in water, before twice frying them in oil, for maximum crispiness and internal fluffiness. I have included this method of preparing chips on this blog before but I am constantly tweaking the process and experimenting with it, so what follows is my latest, precise way of making chips.

Naturally, if you want to eat only the omelette, or serve it with a different accompaniment, the preparation time will be considerably reduced and you can simply scroll down to the omelette part of this recipe.

Real, Homemade Chips

The most important part of making chips (or French fries) is in choosing the correct type of potato. The varieties available in different areas make it difficult to suggest a specific variety but if in doubt, perform a Google search on the potato types available in your supermarket or ask for advice.

The first step is to peel the potatoes, slice them and then chop them in to chips. Each chip should be about the size of an average middle finger. The chips should then be put in to a pot of cold water. I was for a time slightly salting this water - I have now stopped doing so and believe the results are better. Put the pot on to the heat, bring to a boil and simmer for five minutes only.

Drain the chips carefully through a colander so as not to break them. Refill the pot with more cold water and put the chips back in. Set the pot aside to let the chips cool completely in the water. This will take up to half an hour. Drain the chips once again, put them in a large, sealable tupperware dish and put them in to the fridge for at least half an hour.

I have tried various oils for frying chips in this way but my preference is very much for sunflower oil. The oil should be put on to come up to a moderate heat. While this is happening, the chips should be taken from the fridge, laid out on a clean teatowel and very carefully patted dry. They should then be placed in the oil and fried for about six or seven minutes, until they only just begin to show colour. They should then be removed to a plate covered with kitchen towel, covered and left to cool. It is then time to put them back in to the dried tupperware dish and in to the fridge for another half hour.

It will be just before you start cooking your omelette that you will reheat the sunflower oil and add the chips for a final five to six minutes' frying. They should then once again be drained on kitchen paper before being served immediately, along with the omelette.

Chilli, Cheese and Ham Omelette - Ingredients

3 eggs
1 small slice of pre-cooked ham (or bacon rasher!)
1 small red chilli pepper
1 oz grated cheddar cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A little butter for frying


Break the eggs in to a bowl, season with salt and pepper and whisk them until they are combined. Melt a little butter in an omelette pan and pour in the egg mixture. Set the heat to medium and carefully draw the edges of the egg in to the centre with a spatula, all the way around, until they begin to set. Leave the omelette to cook in this way (a couple of minutes) until it is almost completely set.

The ham or bacon should be roughly chopped and the chilli pepper finely chopped. Whether to leave the chilli seeds in or remove them depends upon how hot you want your omelette to be. When the omelette is almost completely set, the ham and chilli should be evenly scattered across one half of it only and the cheese scattered on top. The omelette should then be folded over and served as shown at the top of this post with your real chips and a little tomato relish.

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