Dione Lucas’ Omelets

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Dione Lucas, who I wrote about here, had strong opinions on a lot of things. Her opinion on the ever comedic and lighthearted Galloping Gourmet was that “there is no need to introduce buffoonery into cooking”. She once called commercial mayonnaise a “hi-jinx on the American public”. Also, she stated that it is “better to not prepare a dish than to substitute an ingredient”. On pepper, she felt that one should never use commercially ground pepper because you “might as well throw sand in your food”. Don’t worry she had equally strong feelings on flavored salts when she was quoted as saying to “never, never, never use garlic salt, onion salt or any similar saline abominations”.  I think you are catching on to my point.

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Dione Lucas’ The Cordon Bleu Cook Book published in 1947.

She was especially strict in the rules for making an omelet which she considered her specialty. I read a quote in an old newspaper where Dione Lucas said that an omelet was “the most beautiful meal you can feed anybody”. She was surprised that though American’s had a fondness for egg dishes, they relegated them primarily to the breakfast menu and ignored them for lunch and dinner. She believed that use of eggs being healthy and cheap “should be encouraged” and that eggs were “used in many attractive ways in the continental kitchen”.

So what were Dione Lucas’s Rules for a perfect omelet?  Well here is the list:

  • Eggs should be two to three days old for omelets because fresh eggs curdle in the pan. Though all other egg dishes are the opposite and should ONLY use fresh eggs.
  • The pan should be made of cast iron or aluminum. NEVER use stainless steel, tin-lined or copper.
  • Preferably the pan will have a rounded base. (This is the only rule that she will forgive if you use a square pan.)
  • Your omelet pan should ONLY be used for making omelets.
  • When beating the eggs with the water, the end results should not be too frothy.
  • The pan should not be so hot that when you put the butter in melt it ends up browning.
  • The omelet pan should NEVER EVER be washed with water as it will cause the omelet to stick. It should only be wiped out with a dish towel. Laura Shapiro in the book Something in the Oven guesses that Dione Lucas’s omelet pan had not been cleaned with water for over 40 years.

Dione Lucas's Cheese and Herb Omelet

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

I actually combined two of her omelet recipes into one- The Herb Omelet and the cheese omelet. So if you just rather have one or the other just leave either all the herbs out or the cheese. Also this is the way Dione Lucas gets an omelet to set. If you have a tried and true method that works better for you then by all means use it!

Credit: The Cordon Bleu Cookbook by Dione Lucas

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon cold water (If prefer milk then use it.  I won’t tell Dione!)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon each chopped chives
  • 1 teaspoon chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. Beat the eggs with the water and salt and pepper until mixed put not frothy.
  2. Then mix in chopped herbs and set aside.
  3. Over medium heat add the butter to melt.  Swirl the pan so the butter covers the whole bottom.
  4. Add egg mixture to the pan and stir the egg quickly until the eggs start to set. Then stir more slowing the top unset portion for two minutes.
  5. Once the eggs have almost set add the cheese and let it stand for a few seconds.
  6. Fold over the omelet and turn it out on a plate
  7. Garnish with extra cheese and chopped parsley if want.

Dione Lucas's Spinach Omelet

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

The problem with Dione Lucas' Spinach Omelet recipe is that she really doesn't give exact, or really any, measurements for the filling. It is literally listed as spinach, sour cream and paprika. So this is my guess to what seems to work for my personal taste. So feel free to adjust it to do the same. Also the same disclaimer as in the above recipe. This is how Dione Lucas gets her omelet to set. If you have another method you prefer then use it!

source: The Cordon Bleu Cook Book by Dione Lucas

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of baby spinach
  • 1 Tablespoon sour cream
  • A pinch of paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon of butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon cold water (or milk)
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Over medium heat cook the spinach in a little butter or oil till wilted.
  2. Mix with one Tablespoon of the sour cream and a pinch of salt, pepper and paprika. Set aside.
  3. Beat the eggs with the water and salt and pepper.
  4. Over medium heat, melt the butter swirling the pan to make sure it covers the whole bottom.
  5. Add egg mixture to the pan and stir the egg quickly until the eggs start to set. Then stir more slowing the top unset portion for two minutes. Then leave until the eggs have set to your liking.
  6. Once the eggs have set add the spinach mixture.
  7. Fold over the omelet and turn it out on a plate
  8. Optional: Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of paprika

Bibliography

Lucas, Dione. The Cordon Bleu Cook Book. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1952.

Salsini, Barbara. “Gourmet Called Food ‘a Blank Canvas’ for Creativity”. The Milwaukee Journal. December 5, 1973.

Shapiro, Laura: Something from the Oven: Reinventing Dinner in 1950s America. New York: Penguin Group, 2004.

Shoddy, Aileen. “Dione Lucas Stages a Gourmet Comeback”. The Southeast Missourian. April 22, 1970.

Tulsa, Rosa. “Guide Book Along Gourmet Route”. The Milwaukee Sentinel. April 22, 1970.

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