If only every day could be pizza day, [sigh] wouldn’t life be grand?
Many of my students think this. They say it to me openly in the form of a question-critique-whine: “Why are you so mean? We never make pizza!” (Note exhibit A: Making Our Own Pizza Pie.) For whatever reason circuits cross and make them bonkers when a scent resembling pizza (basil is the “pizza plant”) or word resembling pizza is uttered: “Don’t you think this dish is full of pizz…azz?” I say.
“Pizzazz?” It must be pizza’s lesser known cousin.
But I thought my recipe for an Egg Roll Up (as I call it) was just that– full of pizzazz. Quit an elegant breakfast dish, I imagined. Served on china along with your finest silver and perhaps a mimoso on the side. That is if it didn’t end manhandled into the grasps of my students who thought it served a better purpose as a giant floppy burrito. (But hey, they enjoyed it so I’m not going to ask them to re-roll and top off my champagne. Okay, I might still ask them to top off my champagne.)
I wanted us to make omelettes.
Omelettes are fun. Omelettes are delicious. Omelettes are fairly quick and easy to make. At least, they are fairly quick and easy to make for two or three, or when you have four chefs at the hotel’s omelette bar whipping them up a la minute. In my attempt to transfer the a la minute cooking on the stovetop by an adult to the oven, visions of a breakfast jellyroll danced in my head.
I remember my mother making a good deal of jellyrolls as a child (the white cake kind filled with raspberry jam). I remember not really caring too much for them, but they must have been easy to make (and yes, I ate them because duh, they were full of sugar). They were definitely fun to roll and then douse in powdered sugar. So I imagined that jellyroll cake layer made out of egg, then rolled up with our favorite savory fillings rather than raspberry jam (and stick with me because pizza will return).
In class we whisked up our egg batter and poured it into our buttered jellyroll pan. Into the oven for a quick 10 minutes while we chopped our ingredients. And here, is where I was crowned “Cooking Teacher of the Year.” It is here where my students later declared, upon finally taking a bite, that we should make these in every class for the rest of the year– Why? Because our fillings included some favorite pizza toppings: tomato paste, mozzarella, basil, red pepper and spinach. (For the non-pizza zombies we also had options of cucumber, broccoli and snow peas.)
Out of the oven came our giant egg sheet and flipped onto a towel (this wowed them all). A pizza cutter sliced the egg into personal rectangles for everyone and students added their choice of toppings (oh glorious omelette topping bar!), we rolled them up and back into the oven they went for another 5 to 8 minutes to warm fillings and melt cheese. (If you’re like my students you over-fill and require toothpicks to secure in place until the cheese melts and glues everything together.)
And voila. Egg Roll Ups, or Pizza Omelettes, or Egg Pizza, or whatever else the little ones come up with while they wolf them down. “So good,” my student pictured above commented, he asked to bring some home. I provided him with some foil and he returned hardly 2 minutes later to my side with sad eyes cast on an empty plate.
“What’s wrong? Where’s your take home?” I asked, imagining it must have fallen on the floor with such a solemn expression.
“Well… I wanted to bring some home, but then I forgot and kept eating because it was good, and now there is nothing to bring home.”
If only every day could be Egg Roll Up day.
Egg Roll Ups
Makes one large (4 servings) or 4 individual
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella or ricotta cheese
2 cups vegetables of choice (chopped sautéed spinach, sliced sautéed red and green peppers, fresh basil, chopped sautéed mushroom, tomato paste, chopped cucumber, sliced snow peas, etc)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 12 x 17 x 1-inch baking sheet with butter. Cover the bottom with a sheet of parchment paper and grease the parchment with butter.
In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, flour, milk and salt. Whisk until frothy and combined. Pour into baking sheet and bake 10 minutes, until lightly golden. (This is how we did it in class. If you have the capacity to whip the egg whites to soft peaks then fold in the yolks, flour, milk and salt combined separately you will have a fluffier and thicker egg base to roll, much like a jellyroll.)
Remove from the oven and quickly flip the egg sheet onto a clean dish towel. Remove parchment paper. Allow to cool slightly while finishing chopping filling ingredients.
If making four individual Egg Roll Ups, slice the egg sheet into four pieces, fill evenly and tightly roll separate. Or fill evenly and tightly roll one large egg sheet. Use toothpicks to hold in place if needed, transfer back to baking sheet, seam down. Bake 5 to 10 minutes more, until golden and cheese is melted.
Slice into elegant rounds displayed on your best china, or just grab it up like a burrito and enjoy.
NOTE: A delicious addition to the egg batter would be 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh herbs.