#14 (Part 1): Andorran Truites de Carreroles

I am SO far behind, and I apologize for that. It’s been too hot here to think – let alone cook – lately, and on top of that I’ve had a bunch of random nonsense come up to keep me busy. But I’m back now! I won’t claim that I’m going to catch up right away, because that’ll certainly jinx me, but I’m going to try to catch up as soon as I can.

When I started researching Andorran cuisine (and learning fun facts about Andorra! For example, did you know that it is officially a “co-principality” and one of their two co-princes is the President of France? Or that no one actually knows for sure where the name “Andorra” comes from? Bust those facts out at your next dinner party, and everyone will surely be impressed by your knowledge of countries smaller than Albuquerque, New Mexico and with roughly a seventh of the population!), what I found over and over was “Andorran cuisine is essentially Catalan cuisine,” with very little in the way of specifically Andorran recipes. So I researched Catalan cuisine, came up with something delicious-sounding I wanted to make, made my grocery list, and then went back to my researching to make sure that the dish I’d selected was indeed also eaten in Andorra…and drew a bit of a blank. The odds are good that it absolutely is eaten in Andorra, but I couldn’t prove it, which made me feel like it might be slightly counter to the spirit of this project if I just made it alone.

That said, I didn’t want to give up on that delicious-sounding recipe (which you’ll read about in Part 2), but I did want to make sure I made something that was unambiguously eaten in Andorra, too. So back to the drawing board (a.k.a. the internet) I went for some deeper research.

At that point, what I learned was that, given Andorra’s location up in the heights of the Pyrenees, not a whole lot of things actually grow there. Thus, traditional Andorran food tends towards the simple and towards things you can actually find up in the mountains – like trout, snails, and mushrooms. (One source said, “Andorran people love going on hikes, mostly because they think of them as an excuse to gather mushrooms!” I have no idea how true that is, but I definitely saw more than a few references to mushrooms being an important part of the Andorran diet.) I haven’t cooked any mushrooms for this project yet, nor have I made a food that could really be called a breakfast, so when I discovered truites de carreroles, a fairly simple Andorran mushroom omelette, that seemed like a winner.

So, shall we begin?

THE PROCESS

om1
I actually used six eggs rather than five (more on that below), but other than that, I successfully managed to put all of the ingredients in this picture! It helps when there aren’t very many ingredients. Thanks for keeping it simple, Andorra!

So, before I start, I have to note that this will be a relatively imprecise recipe. You see, I started out thinking I was going to make one big omelette to be shared among three people, but halfway through preparing things, I remembered that all three of those people like their eggs cooked to different consistencies, and so everyone would be happier if I made three individual omelettes instead. Which is fine, except that making three individual omelettes meant that instead of measuring out specific amounts of salt and pepper, I just added them to each individual’s taste, and further meant that by the time I got to the third omelette, it was clear that my original, carefully measured-out bowl of shredded cheese had been overly depleted and I was going to need to shred some non-measured additional amount. So when you get to the end of this blog post and see quantities like “3/4 cup or so,” that’s why. Luckily, this is the sort of thing where precise quantities really don’t matter – add whatever amounts of cheese, salt, and pepper you feel like, and it’ll be fine. (Well, okay, don’t add, like, a half-teaspoon of cheese, 2 cups of salt, and a gallon of pepper. That would not be fine. But I think you could probably figure that one out on your own.)

Anyway, my first step was to shred the aforementioned cheese. I got out my lovely little grater, managed not to slice any fingers open this time, and filled a bowl with finely-shredded cheese. Next, I finely chopped the scallion, and chopped the mushrooms into smallish chunks. (I used just the caps, but you can totally use the stems, too – they’re going to get cooked until they’re nice and soft, anyway.)

Next, it was time to do some sautéing. I melted two tablespoons of butter in a frying pan over medium heat, added a couple of dashes of salt and pepper, and then tossed in the chopped scallion. Once it had had two minutes or so to soften up, in went the mushrooms as well.

om2
I almost always seem to have a “onions of some sort in a frying pan” picture in these blog posts, but at least this time I’m mixing it up by having mushrooms AND onions of some sort in a frying pan. Vive la difference! (As they might say in Andorra – that is, if “they” happened to speak French, as a reasonably-sized minority of Andorrans do. If they speak Catalan instead (that being the official language of Andorra), they might say “Visca la diferencia,” provided Google Translate is not lying to me and telling me how to say “My hovercraft is full of eels” instead.)

I stirred them around for about five minutes, until they were nice and tender, and then added the tarragon and mixed it in well. After that, I removed the pan from the heat and poured its contents into a bowl so my mushroom mixture would be be nice and convenient when it came time to start filling omelettes with it.

om3
Buttery mushrooms: more appetizing than a hovercraft full of eels! (Incidentally, it turns out that “my hovercraft is full of eels” is “el meu aerolliscador esta ple d’anguiles,” in case you ever need to say that to someone in Andorra. Never let it be said that this blog is not educational!)

Next up: the eggs. I cracked each pair of them into a bowl and added another dash of salt and a more generous dash of pepper to each. Then I plopped some butter (again, precise amounts aren’t necessary here – just make sure you have enough to thoroughly butter-ify the bottom and sides of your pan) into a small frying pan, heated that up over medium-high heat until the butter was melted, spread around the pan, and bubbly, and then poured in the first set of eggs.

At this point, I have to confess that I got a little overly ambitious. I’ve made plenty of omelettes in my life, and they always turn out plenty tasty, but they never seem to turn out especially pretty. So before I began making my truites de carreroles, I read and watched half a dozen online tutorials on how to make an attractive-looking omelette. I was repeatedly assured by said tutorials that this was super-duper easy and anyone could do it. My first clue that those people were lying liars who lie should probably have been the tutorial that suggested you should just fold over one third of the omelette, and then when you flip it out of the pan and onto the plate, it will “naturally” fold the other third over to make a perfect, professional-looking omelette. I am almost completely certain that the person behind that tutorial had 73 previous attempts in which they flipped the fillings right out of their omelette, the omelette fell apart, or it just sorta flopped onto the plate in a pile before they managed to get a take where it actually did that “natural” fold properly, because come ON.

Sadly, while I was certain that particular person was being less than honest about the difficulty level of that omelette-flipping trick, I was more gullible when it came to the people whose instructions were a little less showy. So, feeling emboldened, I set out to follow their instructions and make a classy-looking omelette. I was doing okay at first. I managed all the scooting-eggs-in-from-the-edges-and-turning-the-pan-to-pour-uncooked-eggs-over-to-said-edges bits, although the result looked a little lumpier and bumpier than the tutorials’ versions. I added my fillings, went to fold the omelette…and, of course, the eggs helpfully fell apart, melty cheese oozed out of the holes between the scrambled egg pieces, and the overall result looked less than impressive, to say the least. After that abject fancy-looking-omelette failure, I decided that if I wanted to end up with something remotely photogenic, I was going to need to aim a little lower for the next two omelettes. This meant no trying to fold each omelette into thirds, no fancy egg-scooting procedures, but instead just swirling the eggs around as needed to create a mostly-cooked disc of scrambled egg, sprinkling a third of the mushroom mixture and a third of my grated cheese onto half of it (ish), folding the non-topped half (ish) over, cooking it just a little longer to make sure everything was cooked through and the cheese was nice and melty, and serving it up (carefully and without any silly, showy flipping). Because the truth is that, for all that “presentation” is nice, omelettes taste just as good when they fall to pieces as they do when they’re folded in half semi-competently as they do when they’re “naturally” folded into perfect, tidy thirds by lying liars on YouTube.

Since omelette-making is, by its nature, something that has to be done fairly quickly and without pausing to pick up one’s cell phone and take pictures, I don’t have any photos for you of half-made omelettes, just of the most attractive of the three finished products:

om4
It may not be professional-looking, but it is pretty appetizing-looking, which seems like the important thing! Although now I’m imagining a “professional-looking omelette” in the sense of an omelette that looks like a professional – like, maybe it’s wearing a little suit and tie? Maybe it has little meetings with other breakfast foods? “What’s on the agenda for today, Mr. Omelette?” “We need to monetize our paradigms holistically, Ms. Waffle!” (I have no idea how business-type-people talk, but that seems about right.)

THE VERDICT

Om nom nom nom nom.

I was actually surprised by just how much I liked this! While I like both mushrooms and Gruyère, neither are particular favorites of mine or things I usually put in omelettes, and so I was anticipating that my feelings about truites de carreroles would be something along the lines of “pretty good, but I’d like it better with a different cheese and maybe some other veggies or meat inside it.” But the truth is, a good Gruyère is exactly the right cheese for this omelette, and I think additional ingredients would just distract from the tastiness of this combination. Sometimes simplicity really is best, and this is one of those times.

If I were to make this again – and I don’t see why I wouldn’t, since I make omelettes for breakfast reasonably often (and omelettes for lunch or dinner now and then, too), and this is an excellent omelette – I would either change nothing at all or, possibly, throw in an extra scallion. I do like me some onions (as anyone who’s read this blog knows), and I don’t think one more scallion would drastically change the flavor profile here.

THE INGREDIENTS

(for three 2-egg omelettes)

6 eggs
2 tbsp unsalted butter (plus another 2-3 tbsp or so for buttering omelette pans)
1 1/2 cups diced baby portabellas (or other mushrooms of your choice)
3/4 cups or so finely grated Gruyère cheese
1 scallion, diced
1 tsp tarragon
salt to taste
pepper to taste

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