the stunning red omelette in carcassonne, france

There is no question that I enjoy surrounding myself with treasures and spoils of the sights I have seen, and the places I have conquered.

Be it warm mukluks from northern Minnesota, coral from the shores of O’ahu, a placemat displaying the mountains of the Berner Oberland, or a ticket for a train ride in Sardinia, memories of my travels clutter up both my life and mind.

 

Despite my apparent plethora of material goods – and I think many people would agree with me here – it is my memories of food that resonate most strongly with the places I have visited.

Cheese studded with fruit and nuts from the Coop in Kandersteg, Switzerland. A cream puff larger than my face just outside of Berlin. Piles of small fried shrimp near Padre Island in Texas. Spam in Hawaii. Spam in Minnesota. Dim sum in San Francisco, Victoria B.C., and St. Paul. Excellent pot pie in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Warm Raclette enjoyed after a day spent falling down a mountain in the French Alps, the waiters begging my two table mates and I to somehow – miraculously – eat the whole wheel of cheese.

I could go on for a very long time with this list, and if you have travel memories, I bet you could too. After all, you are what you eat, right?

There is one food memory missing from the list that merits greater discussion, and by greater discussion, I mean five years of pondering exactly what it was that I ate before attempting to recreate it here. A stunning, fully red omelette that I enjoyed in Carcassonne, a beautiful town steeped in history in le Midi of France.

But first, Montpellier.

  

I studied abroad in the youthful university town of Montpellier as a sophomore in college. The months that I spent in France arguably shaped my life view and mindset more than anything else I’ve accomplished or set out to achieve.

More than the degrees I’ve received, or the half marathons I’ve run, or the elaborate nine-layer cakes I’ve created. All three of these things are, at least to some degree, simply akin to suffering.

The slow-paced nature of existence in le Midi was the perfect setting for self-realization, and provided stellar degustation conditions as well.

I was fortunate enough to play the “I’m abroad and young, I must spend see as much as possible and take mini-trips every weekend” card a great deal during my time there, and thus visited many incredible places. One such place, Carcassonne, was one of the first in a long line of weekends spent oohing and aahing over some architectural feature or another.

Carcassonne was founded by the Visigoths in the 5th century, although its fortified Cité dates back even further to Roman occupation. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the Languedoc-Roussillon region in southern France.

After leaving behind the fortified Cité and its gargoyles and ramparts, I found myself in Le Bistrot d’Augustin, a tourist trap of a restaurant near the Carcassonne train station. Being that the other obvious option, McDo, was a glorified McDonald’s with an accent, I was satisfied with my choice (but saved room for a McFlurry for dessert).

Within the walls of this seemingly mediocre restaurant, I experienced one of my greatest food-place memories. I was served an omelette…. that was red. Qu’est-ce que c’est que ça? Je ne sais pas du tout!

Ever since that fateful omelette day, I have always wondered exactly what it was that I was served. Why didn’t I remember? Why didn’t I ask? Write it down? Send smoke signals? I mean, it was a near-brilliant rose red. Seems a rare find, in retrospect.

Finally, five years later, I have attempted to recreate this fantastic red omelette. Not knowing anything of its composition, its origin, or its interior or exterior ingredients (…eggs?), I devised an appropriate replica.

Sure, it’s a bit more orange than red, not very brilliant in hue, and probably nothing like the one I ate in Carcassonne. But on a positive note, it’s delicious. Perfect for breakfast – or for lunch, as I enjoyed it, paired with some julienned sweet potato strips (fried in bacon, of course).

 

Tomato Omelette with Crab Meat and Mushrooms

Makes one single-serving omelette

++Ingredients:++

3 eggs
1 tbsp milk
3 large mushrooms
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tin crab meat (3 oz / 85 g)
Swiss cheese, grated
Butter
Salt
Paprika

++Directions:++

Sauté finely sliced mushrooms in a small amount of butter with salt and paprika to taste. Add 1 tbsp tomato paste and crab meat, and mix well, allowing it to cook until hot. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, thoroughly beat two of the eggs until frothy. Beat in milk and tomato paste. Add several shakes of paprika. Mix in third egg by hand.

Add small amount of butter to frying pan. Pour egg mixture into pan, and allow to set for a minute before adding the mushroom/crab filling on one side of the pan. Top with cheese. Cover pan with a lid and cook several minutes. When top looks nearly cooked, flip un-filled side of egg onto filled side. Let cook one minute more.

Eat, and dream of returning to the lazy hazy crazy days of life in Le Midi.

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29 thoughts on “the stunning red omelette in carcassonne, france

    1. Scott, it was a fantastic place to visit ! Kind of like making a pilgrimage too, walking up the hill to it from the village below – made it easy to imagine what it was like centuries ago:)

  1. Oh, so wonderful to see the pho-tos…Wooooop!! I wonder if the omelette had some(or many) roasted red peppers in it. They should make it a brilliant red, and very sweet…Your omelette looks, and I bet tasted, divine!

    1. Mum, woop woop ! Told you there’d be some photos down memory lane coming up soon:)

      I debated the merits of roasted red peppers versus tomatoes for quite some time in this omelette. Believe me, five years of pondering results in a wealth of considerable options. And perhaps I’ll try that next time. The omelette didn’t have an altered texture, though, so you wouldn’t be able to add too much roasted pepper, or it would de-egg-ify and all that. As it was I had to add a third egg to balance out the tbsp of tomato paste.

      I dunno. I require five more years of thought on the topic !

  2. 1. Why am I not living in that castle-building-magnificence?
    2. WOOT for studying abroad and spending/travelling willy-nilly with no thought to consequences.
    3. I wish my Dad hadn’t ruined omelettes for me forever by force-feeding me a kidney omelette when I was eight.
    4. Please let me never find out what a mukluk is, because my mind is having the most SPECTACULAR time imagining what it is.
    5. I can’t wait until “[delicious food] in Australia” is on your list.
    6. I wish I had crab more often.
    7. I hereby bequeath you eight squeezy hugs to help build your non-tangible happy place.

    1. Hannah,

      1. Because only pigeons, gargoyles, and grey-skinned mannequins live there.
      2. You’re all willy nilly with your phallic Asian desserts.
      3. After watching Two Fat Ladies, even kidneys sound appetizing to me!!!………almost.
      4. I will remain mum on the mysterious mukluk. Although I will tell you this – they are one of my all-time favorite possessions.
      5. I can’t wait until [you buy me a plane ticket to] Australia.
      6. I wish I had better quality crab more often.
      7. I will pretend Beata is you, and give her eight squeezy hugs. Actually I won’t, that would make her breathe funny. Oh, actually, I will.

      She ran away.

      Thank you !!

      1. 1. But are they friendly gargoyles, like in The Hunchback of Notre Dame?
        2. It’s the best way to be willy-nilly.
        3. I’m not saying kidney omelettes are necessarily bad, and I’m a big fan of liver, but just… eight years old. It was hard.
        4. Urge to google… rising.
        5. I can’t wait until my salary allows me other than to just barely pay rent and buy food, so that I can buy you a ticket.
        6. The Little Mermaid.
        7. Is Beata Psychic Cat? MY KNOWLEDGE OF YOUR LIFE EXPANDS.

        xoxo

        1. 1. Do you mean the (American) football team? Just kidding. Never saw it, or read it. But… maybe.
          3. Liver sounds disgusting to me, as do kidneys. That’s why Two Fat Ladies have some kind of witchcraft voodoo power over me.
          4. DO IT DO IT *HINT* THEY ARE WARM !
          5. Clearly I need to write to your supervisor and explain our Situation. Or maybe I should just get myself a salary.
          6. Beverly Hills 90210. Sorry, I could never watch the Little Mermaid (Ursula! Scared!), so I’ve simply pretended you proclaimed something random rather than made a connection.
          7. Heck yes she is ! Buy me two plane tickets and she’ll sit next to me on the flight:)

          1. 1. Never in my life will any kind of sport come before Paris in my world.
            3. MMMMMMM The Ottoman’s liver dish! Destroys my vegan tendencies every time.
            5. Do you mean my boss? Please do. I have friends working at my level in the public service and they’re getting $22,000 more a year than me. And doing far, far less, the bastards.
            6. Cold Comfort Farm.
            7. Sadly it’s far more complicated than that. My brother’s girlfriend is trying to figure out how to bring her cat when she comes here, and so far there have been multiple shots, hundreds and hundres of dollars (with another $800 just the other day), and lots of time in quarantine :(

            1. 6. Livin La Vida Loca.
              7. Yeah, I know about all the expenses, it’s crazy. Plus the worst part is that the survival rate in the belly of planes is not perfect, which frightens me. I would never take my cat on a plane; she’s tiny, and I can’t see how she’d be alright. Before I started grad school I was considering moving to Europe, and I spent a lot of time figuring out how to move Beata there with me. Option A was an expensive cruise ship, Option B was to stow her in my luggage and set sail on a working freighter.

              1. 6. The Dish.
                7. I think you should have gone with Option C, which is make like the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood and eat the cat, then somehow get it out again at the end, unscathed. Both of you unscathed, that is.

    1. Katerina, there’s nothing quite like the landscape of southern France ! Although, I’m sure that could be said about any number of places – – must travel more, and find out:)

  3. What amazing pictures! I’m very jealous of your travels. I’ve played Carcassonne on X-box. Not nearly as breath taking as your pictures have proved.

    I’m extremely intrigued about your omelette. Such an great post about travel food.

    1. sarah, I knew Carcassonne was a board game, but I didn’t know it had made the leap to the virtual world ! I haven’t played Carcassonne, but I sure do love Settlers of Catan.

      I’m jealous of my past travels too:) I feel such the urge to pack up a bag and just go somewhere, now – – but then who would do the dishes?

    1. Silvia, I knew you’d pick up on the Rugenbraü !

      I love using these placemats; I’ve been staring at them for years but somehow keep managing to find new names I’ve never ‘seen’ before. I love it:)

      Do they make different ones for the winter time? Oooooh, want.

  4. I must have those mukluks! Oh, have I pined for them since I was a sophomore in college. I am also pining to travel internationally again, this time with a heightened awareness of the culinary opportunities around me. I have some recipes for Egyptian food (finally! It’s been four years since I was there.) that I can’t wait to try. I may be doing a travel nostalgia post of my own sometime in the future. Thanks for sharing such sweet memories!

    1. Brianne, holy crap you went to Egypt?!! Oh my gosh, yes please do a nostalgia post ! Please please please. I was just thinking of Egypt the other day, but also of how I am not anxious to visit because of all the folks deviously and persistently hawking their wares. Through the eyes of someone else, though, it would be the perfect trip !

      These mukluks are the best thing to ever happen to me post-frostbite:) You won’t regret the purchase.

      1. I had plenty of experiences with those devious folks hawking their wares during my short trip. I wasn’t the best haggler, sadly. It was the trip of a lifetime, though. I’ll share it soon!

  5. You remind me how old I am, and how many places I have not been. I guess I read blogs, so that I can see all of those places. It also reminded me of how many places I went inside the US when I was young and in college. Maybe I should dig up some of those memories. All that happened before blogging. All of that happened before a Mr. Jobs and a few others decided computers could be smaller than a large room.

    1. lucinda, and I remind myself of how five years passed in the blink of an eye. If these five years gave me forehead wrinkles and a grey eyebrow hair, I can’t wait to see what’s up next… Oh, yes actually, I’d be happy to wait:)

      For sure dig up some old memories ! That’s what photos are for – reliving the past. And I for one think that room-sized computers sound much more fun than tiny laptops and tablets.

  6. Oh my goodness. I am embarrassed. Ludite blogger bravely voyages out into the reaches of cyber space and realizes that the lady that faithfully comments on her humble blog is actually an extraordinairy blogger/writer/chef. (Just to clarify: ludite blogger = me; extraordinairy blogger/writer/chef = you) Also. My husband loves a little game called “Carcassonne” and incidentally, omletes.

    1. This comment made smile so large, and laugh a bit too. And it also highlights why I love reading your writing so much – even in a simple comment, you craft a story, and you do it well.

      I had feared you found me a bit creepy with my faithful commenting, but it’s just my blogging way (bonus: your excellent writing).

      I’ve never played Carcassonne but I hear it’s excellent! I love Settlers of Catan, so would like to give Carcassonne a go someday soon.

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