There is a grand and glorious culinary tradition — in southern California, at least — known as “surfer’s surprise” meals. These are meals that are made of whatever you have on hand. Even elements that may not seem to fit together at first glance often make a tasty dish. (The Tasty Factor, or TF, goes up when you 1. don’t have to run to the store for anything since you’re using whatever you’ve got and not worrying too much about the outcome and 2. are saving money because of the whole not-running-to-the-store thing and also not throwing away good food. Seeing as the average American throws away 15% of the food s/he buys, you’ll be giving yourself an automatic 15% discount on life if you use what you’ve got. On LIFE, folks. That’s a whopping discount. Makes more sense to not overbuy than run off to Wal-Mart and buy 20 times what you need and will ultimately just wind up throwing away. Or overeating it out of a sense of “I bought it, so I have to eat it” obligation and then regretting it and possibly spending even more money on mitigating the effects of it. But I digress…)
Point is, I was pleasantly pondering what to make for breakfast last weekend and realized that I had leftover cooked chicken, literally dozens of eggs (a cook should never be without her [preferably pastured] eggs), some random shaved Parmesan cheese left over from a recipe I had developed for Clean Eating magazine, and about six green beans from the garden I had picked the day before but hadn’t gotten around to eating. I don’t live within a twenty-minute walk from the beach the way I did when I lived in San Diego, but summer reminds me of surfers no matter where I am, so I decided to make a Surfer’s Surprise omelet. Feel free to vary the meats, veggies, and/or cheese however you like.
Surfer’s Surprise Omelet
Serves as many as you like. If you’d like to serve this for lunch or dinner, figure on 2 eggs and at least 3 ounces of chicken per person. Breakfast might be half that…or not, depending on your appetite.
Cooked chicken, preferably from pastured birds, diced (if the pieces are too big, they’ll make the omelet tear when you fold/flip it; then again, the chicken doesn’t have to be minced, either)
Green beans, chopped (these can be raw or already cooked)
Eggs, preferably from pastured hens
Grated or shaved Parmesan cheese
Put a pat of butter in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat and let melt while you whisk together the chicken, beans, and egg(s). Pour the mixture into the skillet, reduce heat to medium-low, and let cook undisturbed for 2 minutes or until the bottom has set and most of the top is starting to look opaque. (You can cheat by carefully lifting up an edge of the omelet with a heat-proof spatula to see if the bottom side is golden brown. If it is, you’re golden.) Sprinkle the cheese down the center of the omelet, creating a thick line.
Gently fold one side up and over, using the center line of cheese as your folding-line guide. You may need to very gently press down on the top with your spatula to “cook” it into place, so to speak. Let cook 1 minute, then very gently — using two spatulas, if that makes you feel more secure about things; it certainly makes me feel more in control — flip over the omelet and cook 1 final minute.
Serve immediately, garnishing with freshly cracked pepper.
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