Friday, February 27, 2015

Crawfish Brandy Crème Omelette

     Omelette Nantua!
     Crawfish Brandy Crème omelets are a traditional New Orleans brunch entrée.  Today's omelette recipe only requires a few items, yet the flavor is sophisticated and very rich.  Crawfish Brandy Crème Omelets have been a popular brunch items since the 1800's for one good reason.  The flavor combination is superb!    
     When shelling poached crawfish tails, it is important to retain the orange colored crawfish fat.  It is the crawfish fat that give the sauce its color.  Crawfish fat is pure flavor!
     Cognac (brandy) Crème Sauce reached a peak in popularity in the late 1800's and early 1900's.  Brandy Crème sauce is still popular in modern times.
     In classic French cuisine, the word "Nantua" can be used to describe any food preparation that contains crawfish.  Today's omelette recipe can be called "Omelette Nantua."  Because brandy actually is a selling point, the name "Crawfish Brandy Créme Omelette" actually is a better choice.
     Sauce Nantua can be used to make a Crawfish Brandy Crème.  Sauce Nantua is béchamel sauce and Crawfish Butter combined.  There is no brandy in a classic Sauce Nantua recipe.  Shelled crawfish tails are an optional garnish for Nantua Sauce.
     Beurre Nantua is a compound butter or a butter sauce that is made with copious amounts of crawfish fat.  Beurre Nantua (crawfish butter) should be added after the brandy and béchamel are reduced, if the Nantua Sauce option is chosen.
     Basically, the sauce in today's recipe can be called Nantua, but by not mentioning the brandy, it would be like giving liquor away for free!

     Eggs can be cooked to any state of doneness that guests prefer.  There actually is no "one size fits all rule" for egg cookery!  Saying that an omelette cannot have any other color than yellow is like telling a chef to turn valuable customers away.
     Some cuisines actually require omelets to be cooked to a golden color.  Types of Classic French Omelette Soufflé is often cooked to a deep brown color.  Sausage omelets almost always cooked till golden brown highlights appear.  As one can see, eggs should be cooked to suit the nature of a recipe or to suit the needs of guests.
     Light golden colored omelets are common in classic French New Orleans Cuisine.  Louisiana French chefs get the most out of every possible flavor on a plate.  An omelette that has golden highlights, has just the right flavor for a rich brandy crème sauce.

     There is a fine line between golden caramelization and browning.  The omelette in the photos is an example of lacy golden caramelization finish.  To achieve a golden color, the temperature should not be raised, or the cooking pace will end up being hasty.  High temperatures and eggs do not mix!  Patience is the only way to create light golden caramelization on an omelette.
     Most chefs discourage peeking to see if the color is just right, but with eggs that is okay.  By prying the edge of the omelette up with a ribber spatula, the state of doneness can be seen. 

     Crawfish Brandy Crème:
     This recipe yields 1 generous portion of sauce!
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 1/3 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Add an equal amount of flour, while constantly stirring with a whisk, to make a thin roux.  (The roux should look like a shiny and it should not look caky.)
     Stir till the roux becomes a light blond color and a hazelnut aroma develops.
     Step 2:  Add 2 teaspoons of minced shallot.
     Add 1/2 cup of milk.
     Add 1/3 cup of cream.
     Add 1 cup of brandy.
     Step 3:  Bring the liquid to a gentle boil, while whisking occasionally.  (Try not to flambé.)
     Step 4:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add 20 to 25 shelled poached crawfish tails and the orange crawfish fat from the shells.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1 small pinch of cayenne pepper.
     Add 1 small laurel leaf.
     Step 5:  Simmer and reduce, till the sauce is a thin consistency that can evenly coat a spoon.
     Keep the crawfish brandy crème warm over very low heat.
     Remove the laurel leaf before serving.

     Crawfish Brandy Crème Omelette:
     This recipe yields 1 petite omelette!  
     For a hearty omelette, use 3 large eggs.
     Step 1:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 2 whisked large eggs.
     Use a rubber spatula to even the edges of the omelette.
     Step 2:  When the eggs become firm on the bottom half, flip the omelette.
     Cook the omelette till it is fully cooked and golden highlights appear.
     Step 3:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Spoon a few crawfish tails and some of the brandy crème sauce on the center of the omelette.
     Step 4:  Fold the omelette in half and slide it onto a plate.
     Spoon a generous amount of the crawfish brandy crème over the omelette.
     Step 5:  Garnish the omelette with 1 warm poached whole crawfish.
     Garnish the plate with an Italian Parsley sprig.

     This is an unforgettably good tasting New Orleans style omelette! 

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