You will not find Fleischomeletten on a Swiss restaurant menu. You will find them–made with care and greeted with enthusiasm–in Swiss homes. In appearance, Fleischomeletten resemble crêpes or German pancakes. But the ‘Omeletten’ are much ‘eggier’ and, unlike either their French or German counterparts, may not be made in advance and successfully reheated. They require the cook to spend a little time in the kitchen making them right before serving. This lends a personal touch and a certain homestyle informality to any menu that includes them. Fleischomeletten are a treasured feature of Swiss celebrations at home. The joyful observance of Easter with family and friends seems a fitting occasion to include them in the diplomatickitchen Menu: Easter Lunch.
Postscript: Easter gatherings often include children; there is more than an even chance that they will enjoy Fleischomeletten, too.
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A Timing Note: The meat filling for the ‘Omeletten’ may be made a day ahead of time, refrigerated, and reheated briefly. The ‘Omeletten’ are made right before serving.
A Note About Doubling Quantities: Make 2 recipes of the ‘Omeletten’ batter to double the quantity, rather than doubling the recipe. The filling is also better if made in 2 small quanitites, rather than doubled.
Ingredients For the Meat Filling:
- 30 grams (2 Tablespoons) of Butter
- 75 grams (1/4, plus 1/8 cups) finely chopped Onion
- 700 grams ( 1 and 1/2 pounds) of Ground Beef
- 340 grams (12 ounces) Tomato Paste
- 1 or 2 Tablespoons of Water
- 1 teaspoon of Salt, or to taste
- a Dutch Oven or heavy-bottomed Casserole with a Lid
- Spatula or Wooden Spoon
1. Melt the butter in the pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until the onion softens and a few bits begin to color.
2. Add the ground beef and cook it, breaking it apart with a spatula or wooden spoon, until no trace of pink in the meat remains, all the liquid it has given off has evaporated, and it is an even, crumbly consistency, without chunks, completely combined with the onion.
3. Add the tomato paste, stirring to combine it with the ground meat mixture. Cook the mixture for several minutes, continuing to stir, until it clumps together into a ball and comes away from the sides of the pot. The bottom of the pot will show traces of fat from the butter and meat and the filling will slide over the pot’s surface freely. Add 1 – 2 Tablespoons of water just to moisten the filling, 1 teaspoon of salt, and cook a few minutes more, stirring again. The cooked filling is a cohesive blend of meat, onion and paste–not a meat mixture in sauce.
4. Remove the filling from the heat. Taste it and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Cover the filling to keep it warm and make the ‘Omeletten’. (The filling may be made a day ahead of time, refrigerated, and reheated briefly before rolling it up in the ‘Omeletten’ just before serving.
II. Making the ‘Omeletten’: for 8 ‘Omeletten’ with a little extra batter left to insure that there will be at least 8 of them, even if the batter isn’t measured out evenly for each one.
- 6 Eggs
- 90 grams (3/4 cup, minus 1 Tablespoon) of Flour
- 1 teaspoon of Salt
- 100 milliliters (1/2 cup) of Milk
- a small saucer of Vegetable Oil and a Paper Towel for wiping over the pan as you make the Omeletten
- an Electric Mixer, hand or standing
- a Crêpe Pan or any flat-bottomed Pan with sloping sides: The photographed ‘Omeletten’ were made in a 24 cm (9-inch) Crêpe Pan.
- a Spatula
- an 80 ml (1/3-cup) size Measuring Cup is useful for measuring out the batter as you make the ‘Omeletten’.
- a Plate, on which to stack the ‘Omeletten’ as they are made and a Cotton Kitchen Towel to cover and keep them warm
- a second Plate on which to roll the Meat Filling in the ‘Omeletten’ for serving
1. Beat the eggs.
2. Mix the flour and salt together and mix 1/2 of it into the eggs. Mixing continuously, add half the milk, then the rest of the flour and salt, and finally, the rest of the milk. Continue mixing a little longer to form a smooth batter.
3. Place the paper towel and saucer of oil near the burner on which you will make the ‘Omeletten’. Place one of the plates and a towel nearby as well.
4. Bunch up the paper towel and dip it in the saucer of vegetable oil. Lightly run the oiled piece of towel over the bottom of the crêpe pan. Heat the pan over medium heat until it feels very hot when you place your hand above it but the oil is not smoking.
5. Hold the pan by the handle with one hand and pour a scant 1/3 cup of egg batter into it, tilting the pan back and forth at the same time so that the batter quickly spreads out and forms a circle over the bottom. (The technique is the same one used for making crêpes.)
6. Cook the ‘Omelette’ on one side for about 1 minute. When the edges of the ‘Omelette’ show a trace of gold around the rim, slide a spatula carefully around the edges and under the bottom to loosen the cooked side from the pan, then slide the spatula around and under the ‘Omelette’ and flip it over. The cooked side will be a light golden yellow with darker spotting. Cook on the second side for only about 30 seconds. The ‘Omelette’ will puff a little as it cooks on the second side. (The second side may be golden-spotted a little here and there, but it is not essential for it to colour–only cook.)
7. Transfer the ‘Omelette’ to the plate and cover it with the towel.
8. Wipe the pan with the oiled paper towel and continue making ‘Omeletten’ in the same manner until all the batter is used. (Wipe a little oil over the pan’s surface each time before adding batter.) There will be at least 8 ‘Omeletten’–2 per person.
III. Assembling the Fleischomeletten:
1. Place an ‘Omelette’ on the second plate. The second (less coloured) side of the ‘Omelette’ should face up.
2. Spoon about 90 grams (a scant half-cup) of meat filling in a line, a little off-center to your left, down the ‘Omelette’ from top to bottom):
3. Transfer the Fleischomelette to a dinner plate. Roll one Fleischomelette for each person and serve them. Reserve the rest of the filling and the second half of the ‘Omeletten;. The ‘Omeletten’ will stay warm stacked and wrapped in the towel. Roll a second round of Fleischomeletten for everyone after the first round has disappeared–which it very likely will.
A Note: Fleischomeletten are the Main Course of the forthcoming Lunch Menu: Easter Lunch. The Menu, in its entirety, will not be posted before Easter, after the current Dinner Menu: Dinner at Journey’s End is completed. The Main Course of it is posted out of sequence in honour of Easter. If you would like one of the (as yet) unposted Easter Lunch recipes to serve as part of your Easter celebration, the diplomatickitchen will be happy to email it to you upon request.
A Request to Readers and Cooks: A subscriber has requested advice on making Orange and/or Lemon Marmalade. Her question is posted in the diplomatickitchen’s Ask and Tell feature. Your good recipes for either of these marmalades will be greatly appreciated. You are invited to go to Ask and Tell and contribute your version of this recipe.
© Elizabeth Laeuchli, the diplomatickitchen, 2011-2013