This recipe isn’t really about the omelet. It’s about the watercress aioli. The spicy, creamy, dreamy watercress aioli. The omelet is just a delicious vehicle for the sauce. As are the sandwich, the fish, and the sweet potatoes I plan to smother in watercress aioli later in the week.
To explain how this recipe came about, I need to go waaaaay back – to elementary school. See, I have this vague childhood memory of a book, a swan and watercress sandwiches. Over the years, whenever I heard the word watercress or saw it in the grocery store, I would be overcome by a sense of deja vu and a picture of a swan would flash in my brain. Most of the time, I couldn’t remember what the connection was. Other times, I knew it had to do with this book I read for school but the memory was so fuzzy and fleeting that I couldn’t quite grasp it.
Until now. Until the crazy power of Google brought the memory rushing back. All I needed to do was type the words “swan,” “book” and “watercress” into the search engine and here’s what I found:
The Trumpet of the Swan by EB White:
On the wall of the bedroom, he found a button that said WAITER. Louis put his beak against the button and pressed hard. In a few minutes, there was a knock at the door and a waiter entered. He was nicely dressed and tried not to show surprise at finding a swan in the room. “
May I get you something?” he asked.
- Watercress aioli:
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 medium jalapeno, seeds removed and minced
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1 cup canola oil, safflower oil, or another neutral oil (I used canola)
- 8 ounces watercress, trimmed and thick stems removed
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 6 eggs, beaten
- 10 cherry tomatoes, halved (I used marinated cherry tomatoes leftover from a Caprese salad. You can use plain cherry tomatoes or marinate them in a little olive oil and basil.)
- Watercress leaves, for garnish
- Have all the ingredients at room temperature. Combine the egg yolks, mustard, red-wine vinegar, lemon juice, garlic and jalapeno in a food processor and process on low until combined. Slowly add the olive oil and then the canola or safflower oil, with the food processor continuing to run on low, until the aioli reaches a desirable consistency. Should it become too thick, simply whisk in a tablespoon of warm water.
- Add the watercress to the food processor in batches and puree using quick on-and-off pulses. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add half the beaten eggs to the skillet. Use a rubber spatula to keep the eggs moving – pull them towards the center of the pan and tilt the pan around so the eggs run to the sides. This helps your omelet cook evenly and keeps it from getting rubbery.
- Once the eggs start to set, add a pinch of salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook the omelet for another minute. Fold the omelet in half. Repeat with the rest of the eggs and tomatoes.
- Top each omelet with a few tablespoons watercress aioli (or more to taste) and some watercress leaves for garnish.