West Virginia Appalachian Omelette

Driving south on Interstate 81 in Virginia, I decided to make the short detour just over the state line to have lunch at an eatery called A Taste of West Virginia, which I’d been told was operated by the nearby Greenbrier Resort renowned for its culinary excellence. The café couldn’t have been more delightful or restful, and while I was tempted by a couple of hickory-smoked pork and fried seafood specialities, what intrigued me most (and made the most sense at that time of day) was this Appalachian omelette featuring genuine local country ham. Suffice it to say that I couldn’t ask about the recipe fast enough.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup white cornmeal
  • 2 pinches onion powder
  • 2 pinches garlic powder
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 medium green tomato, cored and thinly sliced
  • 9 tablespoons butter
  • 6 large eggs
  • 4 ounces lean country ham, chopped
  • 1 cup grated Swiss cheese (preferably Emmenthaler)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives
  • ¼ teaspoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves

Method

In a wide, shallow bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt and pepper and stir till well blended. Dredge the tomato slices in the mixture. In a medium skillet, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter over moderate heat, add the coated tomato slices, fry till golden, about 2 minutes on each side, and set aside.

Crack 3 of the eggs into a small bowl and beat well. Melt 3 more tablespoons of the butter in the skillet over moderate heat, add the ham, and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Pour the eggs over the ham and stir till wet curds form. Scatter half the cheese and half the tomatoes over the top, sprinkle half the chives, parsley, and tarragon over the top, and cook till the eggs are just set, about 1 minute. With a spatula, flip one half of the omelette over the other half, let sit 1 minute, then transfer to a heated plate.

Repeat the process with the remaining ingredients to make a second omelette.