The revered food writer, Elizabeth David once said, ‘Summer cooking implies a sense of immediacy, a capacity to capture the essence of the fleeting moment’. For me, it’s all about taking a few humble ingredients and marrying them together with an abundance of fresh herbs to create simple suppers to be enjoyed in the sun. For that reason, this baked omelette has always been in my summer repertoire; I like the fact that it’s baked because it sort of looks after itself leaving me free to get on with pleasant little tasks in the garden. When we were kids, my Dad called these ‘Dubonnet jobs’ meaning that they were designed to be pastoral, decorative and slow and always rewarded with a glass of the sweet blend of fortified wine, herbs, and spices on the rocks; that was how we rolled during long summer holidays in Provence where life was slow, considered and observed. Very often it was too hot to cook so we would make an omelette like this one in the cooler hours of the morning to be enjoyed later with a glass of chilled wine, a lemony salad, a board of local cheeses and bowls of sun-warmed apricots.
Knob of butter
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 large white onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
Half tsp of sea salt
100g fresh mixed herbs (I use dill, mint, tarragon and parsley), finely chopped
150g of goats’ cheese (I like Banon, the one wrapped in chestnut leaves)
8 large free-range eggs
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to your taste
How I make it
Heat an oven to 200C and butter a shallow 10-inch pie dish.
In a large frying pan, heat the oil and add the onions and salt. Cover, turn down the heat and allow the onions to sweat until they are soft and translucent. Remove from the heat and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs together and season.
Add the cooked onions and chopped herbs, mix together and pour the mixture into the pie dish. Crumble over the goats’ cheese and carefully mix a little so the cheese is slightly, but not wholly, submerged.
Place the dish into the oven and bake until the omelette is firm in the centre, around 25-30 minutes.
Remove the dish from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Run a knife around the sides and transfer to a large serving plate. Enjoy warm or a room temperature.
This is lovely with served alongside my Sicilian tomato & caper salad or some Greek yoghurt uplifted with some fresh lime juice.