For most of my life, leftovers usually fell into the last two categories. The bad leftovers were eaten grudgingly, and the ugly leftovers were thrown in the garbage bin. The good leftovers were usually lunch or an afternoon snack, and rarely made it to dinnertime the next day. But the sad reality was that leftovers were a tired memory of a meal that was just o.k.
In the last few years, as I've begun to really cook for myself, I've started to rethink what the word "leftovers" really means. Sometimes it is the same soup, or casserole, or pasta, reheated yet again. And it's always a lot better than the leftovers in my memory. (I had one boss tell me he was always jealous of my leftovers. Another boss always complained that I never brought enough to share with the whole office. Chalk one up for leftovers.)
But other times, leftovers are something much, much more. It's amazing how a totally different focus can create an entirely new meal that no one would ever imagine was leftovers.
Eggs are one of my favorite ways to manage this. Frittatas and omelets are so good that folks will think you cooked the entire thing for that meal only, instead of scraping around the corners of the fridge to use up scraps. I only made my first frittatas and omelets this past year (it's a lack of patience thing), but they sure do make a strong showing in my life now.
I'm still working on the ability to make a new meal out of any kind of leftovers, but this particular omelet was a revelation. We had too much lobster the other night (if there can be such a thing), and as I stared at the fridge wondering what to eat, this recipe came to me. Even better, it took less than twenty minutes from start to finish.
And it tasted wonderful. A far cry from the leftovers of my memory.
Saute some onions and crushed red pepper.
Toss in some lobster for 30 seconds or so, just to get it a little bit warm. Remove from pan.
Add some more oil to the pan, pour in eggs whisked with milk or cream. When the eggs are mostly set, scatter lobster and cheese on one side of the omelet.
Say a prayer while you (gently) fold the eggs over the filling. Leave it in the pan for another minute or so, then remove to a plate, and top with more lobster and cheese.
- 2 tablespoons bacon fat or olive oil, divided
- 3 eggs
- 2 tablespoons cream
- 1 or 2 lobster tails, cooked, peeled, and chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 ounce cheese, grated (about 1/2 - 3/4 cup)
- 1/4 small onion or 1 shallot, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 scallion, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat 1 tablespoon fat in an omelet pan or 8-inch skillet over medium heat. Add onions and saute until soft and beginning to turn golden, about 10 minutes. Add the crushed red pepper and saute about a minute more. Add the lobster to the pan for about 30 seconds, then transfer the entire mixture to a bowl and set aside.
Heat the remaining fat in the pan. Meanwhile, whisk together eggs and cream. Pour the eggs into the pan. Lift up at the sides with a spatula every now and then to keep them from sticking to the pan. When the eggs are mostly set, scatter 2/3 of the lobster mixture and half the cheese on one side of the eggs. Starting at the other side of the eggs, use a spatula to fold the eggs over the filling. Keep over the heat for one or two minutes more, then transfer to a plate. Top with the remaining lobster and cheese. Sprinkle scallions over the top, and salt and pepper to taste.
There won't be any leftovers from this one, I promise.