Lately, I’ve been happily browsing through cookbooks featuring New Orleans cuisine, which means I’ve had jambalaya and gumbo and étouffée on my mind. The fact that the weather is about to get downright cold — we’ll miss you, 70 degrees Fahrenheit! — is making me even more inclined to whip up some hot-off-the-stove flavors of the Big Easy.
One of the first dishes I had to make was a riff on muffaletta. Muffaletta is a type of sandwich featuring deeply savory pickled ingredients like olives and pimentos and gardinera (the latter consists of various veggies packed in brine; it’s basically taking the concept of pickles waaaay past cucumbers) and layering those ultra-savory elements with Italian deli meats and cheeses. All of those delicious elements are sandwiched between two hearty slabs of bread. For this version, though, I opted to skip the bread in favor of a whole-grain corn tortilla. Not only can you fold up a freshly toasted tortilla into a handy sandwich shape, the thin tortilla lets the fillings shine through instead of stifling them the way heavy bread does.
And I made a few other changes, too, like featuring a savory omelet (made by stirring olives and capers and cheese directly into the omelet) in lieu of deli meat and making a quick salsa with a drizzle of vinegar in lieu of using pickled veggies. The end result was a Mexican/New Orleans hybrid that was probably one of the most satisfyingly savory dishes I’ve ever eaten. And it’s so easy to make!
Mexican-Style Muffaletta Omelet
This serves 2 for breakfast or 1 for a hearty lunch or dinner. Feel free to double or triple the recipe as desired.
For the salsa:
1 large carrot
1 small cucumber
1 small sweet or spicy pepper (I used half a red bell pepper)
Drizzle of red wine vinegar
For the omelet:
2 eggs, preferably from pastured hens
2 oz. soft herbed goat cheese
Handful chopped olives (I used my favorite: castelvetrano, which are buttery and lush)
Spoonful of capers, drained
2 whole-grain corn tortillas
Chop all veggies and place in a bowl. Drizzle with vinegar and a dash of sea salt. Set aside.
Whisk eggs, cheese, olives, and capers together until mixture is smooth. Heat a dab of butter or ghee in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. When butter is melted, pour in egg mixture. Let cook undisturbed for 3 minutes. At that point, use the edge of a spatula to gently push apart the center so that the uncooked top can pour down into the bottom of the skillet to cook. Cook another 2 minutes before gently prying up an edge and peeking underneath. Omelet should be turning golden brown. If it isn’t, let cook another 2 minutes and check again.
Use two spatulas to carefully flip over omelet. If necessary, cut omelet in half first and then flip each half individually. Cook second side 2 minutes and then fold in half — gently fold one side up and let it come down to rest on the other side — and flip again. Cook 1 more minute or until center is set and not runny. Remove from heat.
While you’re making the omelet, place each tortilla in a small nonstick pan. Dry-heat over medium heat for 3 minutes or until bottom side is turning brown and tortilla is fragrant. Flip and repeat with second side. If you’re making lots of tortillas, stack them between towels to keep them warm and supple.
Serve each diner one tortilla topped with half of the omelet and half of the salsa. Eat immediately. (Believe me, that won’t be a problem!)
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