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The Bear: An omelette with potato chips and the heart of hospitality

THE WASHINGTON POST – FX’s The Bear, a show about a family-run sandwich shop in Chicago transitioning into a fine-dining restaurant, depicts a lot of crave-worthy food in its second season. There’s the day Sydney Adamu (Ayo Edebiri) spends eating at restaurants across the city, the time Marcus (Lionel Boyce) spends in the pastry kitchen at a high-end restaurant in Copenhagen, and the pasta Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto (Jeremy Allen White) makes for his love interest Claire (Molly Gordon), to name a few.

But the food that I’ve seen talked about and even replicated the most on my social media feeds is an omelette Sydney makes for Natalie “Sugar” Berzatto (Abby Elliott) in the season’s penultimate episode, aptly titled Omelette.

What makes this omelette so hunger-inducing is the line of Boursin cheese piped down the middle before it gets rolled up and then a sprinkling of crushed sour cream and onion potato chips – “The type with the ridges,” Sydney specified.

According to the show’s culinary producer, Courtney Storer, the Boursin omelette with potato chips was inspired by chef Ludo Lefebvre’s Boursin omelette (sans potato chips). The omelette on the show starts with Sydney whisking the eggs through a mesh strainer. While I am loath to dirty the extra dish, straining the eggs achieves an extremely smooth texture with no streaks of egg whites or bubbles. Made in the French style, the omelette is cooked so that the eggs don’t brown on the bottom and are baveuse, or still wet on top.

The cheese melts into the eggs for an extremely creamy centre like I’ve never had before.

‘The Bear’ Brousin omelette with potato chips. PHOTO: THE WASHINGTON POST

Lefebvre recommends the cracked black pepper flavour of Boursin in the recipe he shared online, but in my re-creation, I opted for the garlic and herb version to mimic the flavours of the potato chips. (Or you could use whatever flavour of soft, spreadable cheese that you want to make the dish your own. The show does not specify which flavour of cheese is used.)

Thanks to the cheese, the potato chips and a sprinkling of chives, the dish is full of onion-y, herb flavour with textural contrast between the creamy, supple omelette and the crisp chips.

“I could cry,” Natalie said after taking her first bite.

While the flavour of the omelette is delicious, what truly makes it special is the care it represents, which is what great hospitality is all about.

At this point in the series, Natalie is well into her pregnancy while also serving as the manager of the soon-to-reopen restaurant. As the team gets ready for their friends and family debut, Natalie is looking the worse for wear and says she hasn’t eaten. After initially turning down Sydney’s offer to make her something, Natalie asks for an omelette. Sydney sees someone in clear need of nourishment and jumps at the chance to provide it.

This scene speaks to part of what drew Sydney – and others both on the show and in real life – to food in the first place. Cooking and serving others can help foster a sense of connection and satisfaction.

In a conversation with Carmy, Sydney calls the act of making an omelette for Natalie the best part of her day.

“You like taking care of people,” he responds.

“Yeah, I guess.”

‘THE BEAR’ BOURSIN OMELETTE WITH POTATO CHIPS

This French-style omelette based on the one shown in FX’s The Bear is filled with Boursin cheese and topped with crushed sour cream-and-onion chips. The eggs are whisked through a mesh strainer to get an extremely smooth texture with no trace of egg whites or bubbles, and the finished omelette is rubbed with butter to make it shine.

INGREDIENTS

Three large eggs

One-eighth teaspoon fine salt

One tablespoon plus one teaspoon unsalted butter, divided

Two tablespoons garlic-and-herb spreadable cheese, such as Boursin brand cheese

Thinly sliced chives, for serving

Crushed ruffled sour cream and onion potato chips, for serving

Freshly ground black pepper, for serving

DIRECTIONS

Set a mesh strainer inside a medium bowl. Crack the eggs into the strainer and whisk with a fork until they pass through the mesh. Set the strainer aside and whisk the salt into the eggs.

In a 10-inch, nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, melt one tablespoon of the butter, swirling to coat the bottom and sides of the pan.

Add the eggs and, using a rubber spatula in one hand, constantly stir the eggs while gently jerking the pan back and forth with your other hand. Cook the eggs, continuing to stir and scraping down the sides of the pan with the spatula periodically. Once the eggs are mostly set yet still runny and wet on top, about three minutes total, smooth them evenly across the skillet. Place dollops of cheese in a line across the upper third of the omelette.

Tilt the skillet and use the spatula to fold the top edge of the omelette over the cheese to the centre; use the spatula and gravity to nudge the omelette to roll and fold over completely.

Slide it onto a plate, seam side down, and rub the top of the omelette with the remaining one teaspoon of butter. Top with a sprinkling of chives, crushed potato chips and a couple grinds of black pepper, and serve. – Aaron Hutcherson

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