Omelets were well established in the kitchens of both the English and the French by the time South Carolina was settled. Early versions in the Low- country often included sorrel, spinach, and tansy—a recipe unchanged since the Middle Ages. The omelets were, in fact, often called “tanseys.” Tansy has disappeared from Lowcountry tables, but it is still thought to have abortive properties among old root doctors. Tansy is very bitter and aromatic, and I use it sparingly in combination with other potherbs. A classic French sorrel omelet is more to my liking—a perfect light summer supper with a glass of fruity white wine. If you want the flavor, but not the bite, of the garlic, don’t mince it; instead, impale the clove on the tines of a fork and beat the eggs with the fork.
Beat the eggs with salt and pepper. Over medium-high heat (preferably in an omelet pan), melt the butter while you beat the egg mixture with the sorrel and garlic. The butter will sputter and hiss for a minute. Swirl the butter around in the pan to coat the sides, then just at the moment that it stops hissing, pour the egg mixture into the pan all at once.
Let the eggs set partially, then, using a wooden spatula, pull the omelet away from the edges of the pan toward the center and let some of the raw egg trickle out toward the edges so that it is more evenly cooked. Fold the outer third of the omelet over the center, then fold the entire omelet over again. Turn off the heat and let the omelet rest in the pan for a moment or 2; it should puff up a little. Slide the omelet out onto a warm plate and top with herbs (chervil is traditional). The sorrel inside the omelet will be partially cooked, and its tartness will nicely balance fresh fruit or a fruity wine.
© 1992 All rights reserved. Published by UNC Press.