Steve and I recently returned from a biking trip in the Dordogne region of France. We pedaled through the beautiful countryside which was adorned with newly opened red poppies and the blue irises celebrated in Van Gough’s paintings, visited medieval towns, toured castles and churches, explored prehistoric cave art, and, of course, ate very well.
One of our favorite meals was at a casual family restaurant in the village of Les Eyzies de Tayac. After marveling at the astonishing paintings in the Font-de-Gaume cave, we were hungry. Another American couple had talked enthusiastically about the cépes omelets at Restaurant Mentalo, so we hopped on our bikes and headed to town. The omelets were loaded with sautéed wild mushrooms and oozing melted cheese. Fresh salads and crispy potatoes rounded out our lunch.
Our trip was expertly coordinated by Randonnée Tours, and they informed our hotels that I have celiac disease. I was impressed that all the hotels were ready for me with gluten-free bread at breakfast. The charming Hostellerie de La Bouriane, in the village of Gourdon, was particularly accommodating; the chef knew just which dishes needed adjusting at dinner because the sister of the owner also has celiac disease.
The first day we were home, I made omelets inspired by the simple but memorable meal we enjoyed in Les Eyzies. To replicate the woodsy flavor of the mushrooms we ate on the trip, I reconstituted dry porcinis (Italian relative of the French cépes) and sautéed them with sliced baby bella mushrooms. Those of you who, like me, are conscious of consuming plenty of calcium, will be happy to know that each omelet supplies about 500 mg calcium—from gruyere cheese, chosen for its rich, nutty flavor, and mozzarella cheese, used for its great melting qualities. For those of you unconcerned with calcium, you’ll get a remarkably tasty and satisfying dish. The recipe, of course, is naturally gluten-free.
Wild Mushroom Omelets
- ½ oz dried porcini mushrooms
- ¾ cup very hot water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 cup about 3 oz sliced baby bella or crimini mushrooms
- Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- ½ teaspoon minced fresh thyme, plus more for garnish
- 2½ oz about ¾ cup grated gruyere cheese
- 1½ oz about ½ cup grated mozzarella cheese
- 6 eggs
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Place the porcini mushrooms in a small bowl. Add ¾ cup very hot water and let soak until soft, about 20 minutes. Drain the porcini, squeeze out the water. Chop the mushrooms.
- Heat the oil in a heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and sauté 1 minute. Add the baby bella mushrooms, sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the porcini and sauté 1 minute to blend the flavors. Mix in ½ teaspoons thyme. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Remove from the heat. Mix the cheeses together in a medium bowl.
- Break 3 of the eggs into a small bowl. Sprinkle with a big pinch each of salt and pepper. Beat with a fork until the whites and yolks are thoroughly blended, about 35 strokes.
- Place a nonstick skillet or omelet pan with a 7-inch-diameter bottom over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and let cook until melted and the foam almost subsides. Add the eggs all at once. Using a wooden spatula, stir along the bottom of the pan a few times until the eggs thicken, tilting the pan occasionally and lifting the edge of the eggs to allow uncooked egg to flow under the cooked portion. Cook only until the top is almost set but still very wet. This will take only a few seconds. Sprinkle half the cheese over the eggs, then spoon half the mushroom mixture in a line down the center of the eggs. Tilt the pan and fold one third of the eggs over the mushrooms, then fold the omelet over again. Let brown for a few seconds and then roll out the omelet onto a plate. Make a second omelet with the remaining eggs, butter, cheese and mushrooms. Sprinkle thyme over the omelets and serve right away.