Monday, April 23, 2007

The Brick Layer's Omelet

Recently, Mr CC's Aunt Kay sent an article that had been clipped from the March 10, 1963 Bonanza Magazine within the San Francisco Sunday Chronicle, Western Dining section. The article, part of which is shown above, was written by Jane Benet with a photo by early Bay Area photographer, Roy Flamm, and features a recipe from Ralph Johnson, my late father-in-law, painter, sculptor and art professor at UC Davis from 1957 to 1988. The recipe is a re-print from the Artists' & Writers' Cookbook published in 1961.

As I've said before, Ralph was a great cook and dear friend and I was fortunate to share many an evening with him; my kitchen or his.

The story goes that when he was a young man, Ralph had a job as a hod carrier, working for a Danish bricklayer. His boss gave him the recipe which he then dubbed the Brick Layer's Omelet.

Mr CC is the chef of note here, claiming proprietary descendancy. He shopped for the ingredients and made the dish. I took the photographs and ate what was put on my plate. This is an old fashioned dish using simple ingredients. It was tasty but, more to the point, it was truly poignant.

Before I go any further, I simply must tell you about these eggs. Oh my god, they are so beautiful, their yolks so orange, their whites so perky and clear. They must have come from very happy hens.

Well, yes, as it turns out, they are very happy hens from our very own, local Wild Chick Farm. Pasture-raised, organically fed, they live about 12 miles from my kitchen. These particular eggs are from Araucana hens and may be purchased on Saturday mornings at the Arcata Farmers Market.

Brick Layer's Omelet
As re-printed in the SF Sunday Chronicle, March 10, 1963

3 strips bacon
4 eggs
1/4 cup flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup chopped olives (we used black)
1/3 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/3 cup monterey jack cheese cut into cubes

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Fry the bacon in a 9-inch skillet until tender-crisp.
Remove from skillet and drain on paper towels. Leave bacon fat in the skillet.
Place the rest of the ingredients into a large bowl and mix together with a fork until the eggs and flour are combined.
Pour contents into the skillet and crumble the bacon over the top.
Bake in the 350-degree oven until the omelet is golden and puffy, about 30 minutes.
Cool slightly and cut into wedges to serve.
As Ralph said, "A little jelly is sometimes good with it."

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