Kitchen Accomplice: Baked rolled omelet

By John Kirkendall

Ready for a sumptuous brunch?

This delicious preparation includes sausage but depending on your crowd you could easily use lump crab meat instead. It looks spectacular on the plate and the Gruyere cheese adds a richness and depth of flavor your guests will love. The hot buttered biscuits alongside are irresistible – fresh fruit is all you need to go along with this. Well, maybe a little local honey to add to the buttery biscuits – why not?

First make the béchamel. Next convert the béchamel to a Mornay sauce. Then proceed to the baked omelet. I give you the omelet instructions first.

Serves 4.
• 1 tablespoon olive oil to brush on the jelly roll pan you have selected.
• 1 cup milk.
• 1/3 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled).
• 8 large eggs.
• 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard.
• Coarse salt (if you can find the flaky Maldon salt mined in England, you won’t be sorry.) and freshly ground pepper.
• 2 packages frozen chopped. spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
• 1 1/2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese (6 ounces).
• 1 small can petite diced tomatoes, drained thoroughly, patted dry and sprinkled very, very lightly with salt and pepper.
• 1 package sausage, cooked through, drained and patted dry with paper toweling.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush a 10-by-15-inch rimmed baking sheet or jelly-roll pan with oil. Line bottom of pan with parchment, leaving a 1-inch overhang on the two shorter sides. Brush parchment with oil.

In a bowl, whisk together milk and flour. Add eggs, mustard, 1 teaspoon salt, and teaspoon pepper; whisk to combine. Pour into pan. Sprinkle spinach over top in an even layer.
Bake until edges of omelet are set, 10 to 12 minutes. Sprinkle with Gruyere cheese, tomatoes and sausage; bake until cheese has melted, 2 to 4 minutes. Beginning at one shorter end, lift parchment, and roll up omelet tightly, peeling back parchment as you go. Slice and serve. Top slices with Mornay sauce. Serve with biscuits and butter.

Béchamel Sauce
• 5 cups whole milk.
• 6 Tbsp clarified butter (or 3/4 stick unsalted butter).
• 1/3 cup all-purpose flour.
• 1/4 onion, peeled.
• 1 whole clove.
• Kosher salt, to taste.
• Ground white pepper, to taste.
• Pinch of ground nutmeg (optional).

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer over a medium heat, stirring occasionally and taking care not to let it boil. Meanwhile, in a separate heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the clarified butter over a medium heat until it becomes frothy. Don’t let it turn brown, though – that’ll affect the flavor.

With a wooden spoon, stir the flour into the melted butter a little bit at a time, until it is fully incorporated into the butter, giving you a pale-yellow-colored paste. This paste is the roux. Heat the roux for another minute or so to cook off the taste of raw flour.

Using a wire whisk, slowly add the hot milk to the roux, whisking vigorously to make sure it’s free of lumps.

Now stick the pointed end of the clove into the onion and drop into the sauce. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until the total volume has reduced by about 20 percent, stirring frequently to make sure the sauce doesn’t scorch at the bottom of the pan.

The resulting sauce should be smooth and velvety. If it’s too thick, whisk in a bit more milk until it’s just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Remove the sauce from the heat. You can retrieve the clove-stuck onion and discard it now. For an extra smooth consistency, carefully pour the sauce through a wire mesh strainer lined with a piece of cheesecloth.

Season the sauce very lightly with salt and white pepper. Be particularly careful with the white pepper – and the nutmeg, if you’re using it. A little bit goes a long way! Keep the béchamel covered until you’re ready to use it.

Makes about 1 quart of béchamel sauce.

Mornay Sauce
The Mornay Sauce is a classic cheese sauce made by enriching a standard Béchamel sauce with Gruyere and Parmesan cheese.

• 1 quart Béchamel sauce.
• 4 oz. grated Gruyère cheese.
• 4 oz. grated Parmesan cheese.
• 2 Tbsp butter.
• 1/2 cup whole milk, hot.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the Béchamel to a simmer.
Add the Gruyère and Parmesan cheeses and stir until the cheese has melted.
Remove from heat, stir in the butter and adjust consistency with the hot milk if necessary. Serve right away.

Judge John Kirkendall is a retired Washtenaw County Probate judge. He presently serves on the Elder Law Advisory Board of the Stetson University College of Law. He has taught cooking classes for more than 25 years at various cooking schools in the Ann Arbor area and has himself attended classes at Cordon Bleu and La Varenne in Paris, as well as schools in New York, New Orleans and San Francisco. He is past president of the National College of Probate Judges. He can be reached at