There is nothing better than when Summer finally arrives and the time for creating meals that can be shared really comes into its own. Don’t get me wrong I love to cook for others all year long but there is something special for me about the Summer time and how a meal becomes a little more celebratory and relaxed I suppose on a more regular basis. I think things slow slightly, moods are elevated and the enjoyment and openness to try new things definitely is elevated. Today I started this transition to more Summer themed shared meals by making what we in Ireland would call an omelet but the way it is cooked it should probably be described more as a closer relative of a frittata. This I think is a great summer meal for a few people to enjoy together, you can really pack the filling in, get lots of eggs in there too and make something that is delicious and hearty but also will go a long way all from one pan. Cutting this into portioned wedges serving it alongside your favourite accompaniments means that this meal can be personalized to a variety of tastes really quickly and easily. I am a big fan of family style eating and it was a major part of how I was raised as part of a large family. Some of my favorites are good coleslaw, which is actually really quick and economical to make yourself and is a real winner whenever I serve it up, also a light and fresh green salad of some variety, dressed or just raw and refreshing, some roughly chopped raw veggies like carrots, bell peppers, radishes, cucumber, tomatoes whatever you like mix and match or have little separate bowls so people can pile their plates with their preference. I also like providing ‘toppers’ so ill leave out some chopped nuts, seeds, wedges of lemon, some olive oil, chili flakes, just a few options that can be sprinkled over to adjust the final creation to the desires of the individual. Then all that remains is to lay everything out, provide plates, cutlery and a judge of something to wash the meal down with, then sit and enjoy a vibrant meal in the company of those close to you. This type of setting I think really helps bring people together, conversations are a little freer and there is a more relaxed vibe as you pass around food and try the contents of this bowl or that, test your tastes and share and experience.
My omelet today was a medley of all the vegetables I had on hand, red pepper, red onion, courgette, baby broccoli and garlic. I also added kidney beans and chickpeas for added protein and scattered some fresh thyme and chili in when seasoning near the end of the frying of the veggies in a little olive oil. I beat together the eggs with a splash of milk, poured the mix straight into the pan over the cooked veggies, allowed that to sit on low heat for a few minutes until the edges of the omelet were hinting at developing colour giving me a good indication that the bottom was browning nicely. I then added pieces of young goats cheese all over the top, sprinkled a tiny bit of cheddar as we are big cheese lovers here and put the pan under the grill until the entire thing was golden and enticing. Giving the pan a firm jolt horizontally forward to release the omelet I then slid it out onto one big plate to be divided and devoured straight away.
I really hope you enjoy this and I’d love to hear about your experiences sharing meals and if anyone tries this out. Personally I cannot wait for the weather to improve so I can have more meals like this and create some new, fun summer get together ideas.