What’s the best omelet you could ever make? In my opinion, it’s the one with the freshest ingredients, especially the ones that come straight from your garden or from the wild. So when you want to cook up an omelet, look outside at what’s growing out there, what’s in season, and what’s ready for harvest. For us now is the time to go out there and pick the grapes from their vine and the figs and almonds from their trees. And for these three items, we are blessed with a bountiful harvest which is at its peak this week. In this picture, below, you can see the grapes hanging from our pergola on our balcony upstairs.
At least two of the ingredients of today’s omelet, just like many of the omelets of which we have written (asparagus, caper, mustard, and others), originated in the Middle East. I’ll bet that you thought that one of these two was grapes. You were wrong. Grapes were found in the tombs of the ancient Egyptians, but before that they were present in the Caucasus region between Europe and Asia way back in the Stone Age. And the earliest known use of grapes for production of wine were found in the present country of Georgia, where wine residues were also discovered on the inner surfaces of 8,000-year-old ceramic storage jars.
The almond and the fig are said to be native to the Middle East.
If you are looking for a picture of the flower of the fig tree that opens, blossoms, and then falls as it begets the fruit as occurs on all our other fruit trees in our yard that you have seen pictured here, you are in for a disappointment. The flower is what you actually eat.
The fruit is a fleshy stem with flowers inside. It is called a syconium, an urn-shaped receptacle which contains between 50 to 7000 (depending on the species) highly simplified uniovulate flowers or florets on its inner surface. Here’s a picture of one of our figs cut open so you can see all the “flowers” inside. There is a lot more information about figs which I will not explain because I just don’t understand what achenes, drupes, ostioles, or aganoids are. But it is fascinating that there exists a pollinator specificity of this fruit, with a long and complex history of co-evolution between figs and their pollinating wasps.
The other native of the Levant is the almond and this tree gives us the first flowers even at the end of winter in late February. I just cannot find pictures of our tree, so you’ll have to make do with downloaded ones. Here is what we see when the tree is in blossom. After the flowers fall, the tiny green almonds appear (a) and slowly enlarge over the spring, and then during the dry summer the outer husk of the almond dries and opens (b) to reveal the nut that must then be cracked to give us the part that we eat (c).
a b c
Let us proceed from (c) above to make the omelet below:
Here are the home grown ingredients. Now beat the eggs to introduce air into them and make the omelet fluffy. If you like your omelet with a bit of a zing, add cut up pieces of a small hot pepper to the heated olive oil. Pour the egg into the frying pan and after it sets at the edges, lift that edge and tilt the pan to allow egg to run underneath. Lay your ingredients on one half of the egg after it has nearly set and turn down the flame from medium to small. Wait for full setting and flip the empty half of the egg over the half with the contents.Finish flipping the egg over, serve and eat. B’Tayavon/Bon Apetit.