The creaminess of mascarpone does double duty in this light and fluffy omelet: It adds creaminess to the whipped eggs, and serves as a zesty sauce when blended with spices and cilantro. Whipping the egg whites makes these omelets super fluffy. With the advent of Spring, we just couldn’t resist serving this with asparagus. Be sure to get freshly picked local asparagus, which will be more tender than generic supermarket asparagus.
1 dozen eggs (3 eggs per serving)
1 cup mascarpone cheese, divided
1 pound asparagus
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
4 tablespoons butter
¼ cup Champagne onions
Place ½ cup mascarpone in a mixing bowl, and stir in paprika, cumin and cilantro. Place in refrigerator to firm up while preparing the omelets. Leave the remaining ½ cup mascarpone to soften up at room temperature.
Trim off woody ends of asparagus and steam gently for a few minutes until crisp-tender. Set aside.
[Chef’s Note: To trim the asparagus, grasp each end of the stalk and snap upwards on the thick end using your thumb. The asparagus spear should break at the point where the tender part ends and the tough end begins.]
Heat an omelet pan over medium-high heat. Separate the eggs, and mix the yolks with the remaining ½ cup of mascarpone cheese. Whisk the egg whites vigorously until very airy, but short of reaching soft peaks. The whites should be airy but still fairly liquid. Stir the whipped whites into the yolk and cheese mixture.
Add a tablespoon of butter to the pan (for each omelet). When butter has melted and foam begins to subside, pour in enough of the egg mixture just to cover the bottom of the pan. The bottom should start to set immediately. Reduce heat to low and let the omelet firm up. Be careful not the let the bottom get brown. Once the top of the omelet has set, but is still soft, slide the omelet out of the pan and onto a plate. Keep warm while preparing the remaining omelets.
Remove the spiced mascarpone from the refrigerator and spread a little onto the top of the omelet. Place several spears of asparagus in the center, tips poking out of each end. Bring the sides of the omelet up around the asparagus, and top with a dollop of the spiced mascarpone cream. Garnish with champagne onions and serve immediately.
The mascarpone cream topping can be served in numerous ways. Here are some of our favorite additions to the softened cheese:
Chopped almond slivers and cracked pepper, garnished with chervil leaves
Minced lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice, garnished with caviar
Champagne onions mixed directly into the mascarpone, garnished with chives
Recipe and photo by Mark Tafoya