Danish Omelette

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The correct name for this lovely dish is 'Danish Egg Cake', but for some reason people say they are put off by it This is a shame, because it is seriously delicious and one of the first things I look forward to eating when each year I visit Faborg, the small town in which my wife grew up. It is also one of the few Danish dishes that does not involve the use of herring and, much as I adore herring, you can have too much of a good thing.

There are eight or nine restaurants in Faborg, none of them - it must be said -Michelin rated, but my favourite egg cake is served at a lovely old pub called Tre Krona, where I like to eat it washed down with a lot of good Danish beer. Traditionally it is served with rugbrod, a bread in my view more akin to floor tiles than anything I want to eat, so I say, ‘Hold the rugbrod, more beer on the side.' Bliss.

Egg cake may be cooked as individual omelettes or in a large serving, in which case the pan is brought to the table and people help themselves to thick wedges.

The Danes use a local bacon that they call speck, which it is not, being closer to streaky bacon. You can use either smoked or unsmoked. The tomato in the dish must be raw. There is something about a sweet raw tomato that goes brilliantly with an omelette. You might also like to try the egg cake with a topping of strips of smoked eel mixed in with the bacon, to produce a happy marriage of flavours and textures.

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Ingredients

  • 4 slices of streaky bacon
  • 1 tomato (or 3 cherry tomatoes)
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp double cream (optional and certainly not traditional)
  • 15g/½oz butter
  • handful of chives
  • 30g/1oz smoked eel fillet (optional)
  • salt and pepper

Utensils

  • roasting pan
  • roasting rack
  • omelette pan or heavy frying pan with an ovenproof handle for a larger omelette (a paella pan would also work well)
  • pastry brush
  • bowl
  • whisk
  • spatula

Method

Mise en Place

First prepare the bacon: preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas6. Cut the rind off the bacon and place the rashers on a rack in a roasting pan in the oven until it just begins to crisp. Remove from the oven and reserve. (This is a very good way of cooking bacon for other dishes - much better than frying and easier than grilling.)

Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C/325°F/gas3 • If not using cherry tomatoes, cut the tomatoes into wedges and reserve • Brush the omelette pan with a little sunflower oil • Beat the eggs in the bowl with a little salt and pepper and the cream, if using, until just amalgamated. Do not over-beat.

Cooking

The cooking technique is somewhere between that of making a classic omelette and stirring scrambled eggs, since what you want to achieve is a layered effect of lightly browned egg and moist creamy egg.

Put the pan over a medium heat add the butter and swirl it around. Tip in the beaten eggs before the butter is completely melted. The eggs will start to set at once. Using a spatula, push the egg away from the edges. Leave for 60 seconds, then repeat the process. Turn down the heat and cook very gently for 3–4 minutes, until the bottom is set and lightly browned.

If the cake is very large and still liquid, stir the surface and put it into the cooler oven for a further 4 minutes to finish cooking, though remember that it will anyway continue to cook in the pan when taken off the heat This is a case of practice makes perfect After you have made it 3 or 4 times with a certain number of eggs you will know precisely how to achieve the perfect balance between under- and over-cooking.

While the eggs are cooking, return the bacon to the oven to warm through.

Serving

Arrange the tomatoes round the edge of the pan. Cut the bacon into 5mm/1/4 in pieces and use them to cover the top of the cake. Scatter with chopped chives and chopped eel fillet, if using.

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