Ham and Cheese Omelet

My husband took the kids to school this morning for their twice-weekly reporting to the Kumon Center. They were in such a rush that no one had a proper breakfast. Since they would only be there for about an hour, I used that hour to make some ham and cheese omelets. I cooked two and they were ready by the time my family got back. My 13-year-old exclaimed, “Ham na naman (Ham again)?” She had her fill anyway. There were no leftovers. But I guess that means I should give the ham a rest.

To make a ham and cheese omelet, you will need an onion, a small green bell pepper, a small red bell pepper a small carrot, butter, about a cup of chopped cold ham, and some eggs. I used two eggs for each omelet. Peel and chop the onion. Core and deseed the peppers and chop. Peel and chop the carrot. Beat the eggs. Melt about a tablespoonful of butter in a skillet. Add the chopped onion and cook over medium heat for about 30 seconds (below, left). Add the chopped bell peppers and carrot (below, right) and cook until the vegetables are tender-crisp.

Add the chopped ham and cook, stirring, until the ham is reheated (below, left). Transfer the ham-vegetables mixture to a plate and keep warm. Add another tablespoonful of butter to the skillet. Pour in two beaten eggs. Swirl the skillet around for even cooking. When the eggs are almost set (still wet on top), fill half with the ham-vegetables mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese on top. Fold over the empty half of the egg then slide onto a plate.

Potato omelet

Cooking potato omelet, or itlog na may patatas as we called it when we were kids, was something I learned from my father just as my husband learned it from his. Of course, my father’s version was much, much more oily; there were no non-stick pans when I was a kid.

I don’t know what it is about the combination of crisp fried potato cubes and scrambled eggs that makes it such a hearty breakfast. I always thought that it was the happy childhood memories I associated it with that made it special. After all, it’s quite a plain dish. Well, that theory sufficed until I had kids. The moment they tasted itlog na may patatas, they were hooked. They even have specifications for cooking it: not like a “real” omelet but stirred just as soon as the scrambled eggs start setting. With buttered pan de sal or, better yet, pan de sal and questions put (white cheese), it’s the perfect breakfast for a lazy Sunday morning.

Wash and peel the potatoes. Cut into half-inch cubes. Heat the cooking oil in a non-stick pan. Add the potatoes and pan fry over high heat until the edges are brown. Pour off the oil. The oil that coats the bottom of the pan is enough to cook the beaten eggs. Reheat the potatoes. Season with salt and a little ground pepper. Over medium heat, pour in the beaten eggs. When the eggs start to set, stir the mixture a few times. Allow to set once more then stir again. Repeat until the eggs are cooked and firm.