Visible leagues away from land and sea, the Mont Saint-Michel rises amidst the vast bay bearing its name, alternatively surrounded by miles of treacherous sand or fast marées (f.) (tides), giving it an aura of legend as the succeeding layers of religious edifices grew skyward over the centuries.
Of the different restaurants and shops you pass on your way up to the abbey, you can’t fail to notice the red devanture (f.)(storefront) of . Continuing a millénaire (thousand-year-old) tradition of welcoming pèlerins (m.)(pilgrims) to provide them with gîte ( m.) and couvert (m.)(room and board), Annette and Victor Poulard opened their auberge (f.)(inn) in 1888. Its cuisine, now nicknamed “Mère Poulard” (a title of honor given to exceptionally talented woman chefs) became famous over the world.
Using all the ingrédients (m.)(ingredients) the region of Normandy is known for – butter, cream, etc. -, and even the superb copper skillets of Villedieu-les-Poêles, the result is a rich and satisfying fluffy omelet which delighted hungry travelers. The omelets are served nature (plain) or with different garnitures (f.)(fillings, in this case, sides).
Though its exact recipe remains un secret bien gardé (a well-kept secret), we have a few words from the mère Poulard herself (to a Parisian restaurant owner):
“Monsieur Viel, voici la recette (f.) (recipe) de l’omelette : je casse (break) de bons œufs dans une terrine (earthenware oven dish), je les bats (beat, whisk) bien, je mets un bon morceau (piece) de beurre dans la poêle (frying pan), j’y jette (throw) les œufs et je remue (stir) constamment. Je suis heureuse, Monsieur, si cette recette vous fait plaisir.”
Here is a recipe that gets as close as possible to the original (for 2 persons):
– 5 eggs
– 1 oz salted butter
– 1 tbsp of thick crème fraîche
– salt & pepper
– With the eggs at room temperature, separate the white and the yolk.
– Whisk the egg yolks until they get white, then add salt, pepper and crème fraiche.
– With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until you get a stiff mix.
– Gently mix the whites and the yolk by coating the whites with the yolk.
– When the mixture is homogenous, stir again gently to obtain a thick and frothy mixture.
– Gently melt (not cook!) the butter in a frying pan.
– Over a brisk heat, A feu vif, pour the mixture into the hot pan.
– Stir continuously while shaking the pan, but be careful not to overcook or burn!
– When a film forms on the surface but the inside is still frothy, it’s ready. Stop stirring so the mass can stabilize.
– Let the omelet slide onto a hot dish and fold it onto itself.
– Serve right away!
And finally a video: L’omelette de La Mère Poulard
Want to brush up on your French while you’re making omelets? Start here.