The days are getting shorter and that crisp Autumn air is starting to sweep over us. I have to admit I look forward to the cooler nights of Fall…the sky seems to look a little prettier, sprinkled with fluffy Fall clouds, and the trees look like artwork, with the most spectacular colors you’ve ever seen. It’s my favorite time of the year!
Autumn is also the time when we start to re-introduce richer, heartier ingredients back into our cooking repertoire. My Basil Goat Cheese Omelette over Fresh Ragout is a lot like Autumn…a transitional dish that is both a farewell to the hot summer days and a welcoming of the cooler months. Although the fresh herbs contribute to the summery feel, there is still a “hearty factor” from the warmed goat cheese and earthy tomato sauce that can easily translate into the Winter Season. And if you freeze your fresh summer herbs like I do, this breakfast can be made in a flash.
Now this breakfast was inspired by a phenomenal dish at Cafe Deluxe, which is a restaurant I used to frequent often during my collegiate days at George Washington University – Oh how the years go by 🙂
Ad and I were in Northern Virginia a couple weeks ago on a mini-shopping weekend vacation and on the morning of the last day we decided to go to my old stomping grounds for a lovely, nostalgic breakfast.
Upon looking at the menu my eyes immediately fell on their Goat Cheese and Ragout Egg White Omelette…it was exactly what I needed that morning and let me tell you it did not disappoint!
The beautiful combination of a tangy goat cheese omelette topped with a bright tomatoey sauce was mouthwatering. I decided that I just haaad to re-create a version of this at home!
When re-vamping this dish I decided to change it up a little with a deconstructed version – and because I can’t help myself, I just had to put my own special spin on it of course. I chose to create a Deconstructed Basil Goat Cheese Omelette over Fresh Vegetable Ragout. I wanted my dish to be rustic and served family-style, with the eggs slowly simmering in a beautiful, bright and fresh vegetable ragout containing favorites like zucchini, squash and cremini mushrooms. Large dollops of whipped fresh basil goat cheese are dropped in the pan and left to melt beside the simmering eggs.
Toasty Crusty Ciabatta bread is buttered and used as a spoon to help scoop up all of the delicious sauce. Are you drooling yet? Such a fantastic breakfast option that is sure to carry you through the crispy mornings of Autumn and Winter.
To make this fresh vegetable ragout you will need squash, zucchini, cremini mushrooms, leeks, a 14.5 ounce can of organic diced tomatoes, a 28 ounce can of organic crushed tomatoes, red pepper flakes, dried oregano, granulated garlic powder, kosher salt, cracked black pepper and fresh chives.
For the basil goat cheese you will need fresh basil leaves, fresh goat cheese, almond milk, kosher salt and cracked black pepper.
Last but not least, you will need eggs.
The first thing that you will need to do is to clean the leeks. Leeks grow right from the ground so they oftentimes have debris in between the layers that needs to be cleared. I’ve found that the best way to do this is to chop them up first then place them into a bowl of water for several minutes, swishing them around a couple of times. As they sit in the water, the debris will fall to the bottom of the bowl. Then just use a slotted spoon to lift the leeks from the dirty water and place them on a paper towel to dry. Very easy!
The next thing to do if make the basil goat cheese. You can actually make this several days in advance and store it in the refrigerator – I like to use this basil goat cheese not only for this recipe but as a topping for toast, to dollop over egg whites and even as a light cheese sauce to quinoa pasta. You can even use this as an appetizer by rolling the basil goat cheese into a log, refrigerating until hardened, slicing it into discs and placing it over warmed marinara sauce!
In a food processor, add the fresh goat cheese, basil leaves, almond milk, a pinch of kosher salt and pepper and blend until the mixture reaches a lightly whipped and creamy consistency. Remove the whipped goat cheese from the food processor and place it onto plastic wrap, rolling it into a log with your hands. (You can also place it into an airtight container – it just won’t look as pretty). Place the whipped basil goat cheese log in the fridge immediately.
Roughly chop the squash, zucchini and mushrooms and sauté them in a 12inch skillet over medium heat with 1 teaspoon of olive oil until just tender, about 2-5 minutes. (Remember, you still want them to still be crispy since they will be in the pan for a while.)
Add the leeks and sauté for several minutes until just tender.
Reduce the heat to low and pour the can of diced tomatoes into the pan, along with the granulated garlic powder, dried oregano, kosher salt, and pepper.
Add the crushed tomatoes and simmer, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together and the sauce to slightly reduce and thicken.
Create several pockets within the sauce and break the eggs over each pocket – I like to mix whole eggs with egg whites in each pocket. Cover the pan and cook the eggs over low heat for 7-10 minutes, or until the eggs are set.
Turn off the heat and add several dollops of the whipped basil goat cheese throughout the skillet – the residual heat from the pan will slowly melt the basil goat cheese, creating a deliciously soft and creamy texture.
Lastly, sprinkle some chopped fresh chives and cracked black pepper over warm dish. Serve this as a family-style breakfast with crusty buttered ciabatta bread.
- 4 ounce fresh goat cheese (Brand: Montchevre fresh and natural)
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
- 2 teaspoons almond milk
- pinch of kosher salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 large squash
- 1 large zucchini
- 1 cup chopped cremini mushrooms, approx. 5 large mushrooms
- 2 leeks
- 1-14.5 ounce can organic diced tomatoes (Brand: Muir Glen)
- 1-28 ounce can organic crushed tomatoes (Brand: Muir Glen)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon granulated garlic
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- fresh chives, for garnish
- ciabatta bread, toasted and buttered
- Chop leeks up then place in a bowl of water for several minutes, swishing them around a couple of times. As they sit in the water the debris will fall to the bottom of the bowl. Use a slotted spoon to lift the leeks from the dirty water and place them on a paper towel to dry
- To make basil goat cheese: In a food processor, add the fresh goat cheese, basil leaves, almond milk, a pinch of kosher salt and pepper and blend until mixture reaches a whipped and creamy consistency. Remove the whipped goat cheese from the food processor and place onto plastic wrap, rolling it into a log with your hands. (You can also place it into an airtight container.) Place the cheese log in the fridge immediately.
- Roughly dice the squash, zucchini and mushrooms and sauté in a 12inch skillet over medium heat with 1 teaspoon of olive oil until just tender, about 2-5 minutes
- Add leeks and sauté for several minutes until just tender, 2-5 minutes
- Reduce heat to low and pour the can of diced tomatoes into the pan, along with the granulated garlic powder, dried oregano, kosher salt, and pepper
- Add the crushed tomatoes and simmer, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes to allow flavors to meld together and the sauce to slightly reduce and thicken
- Create several pocket within the sauce and break the eggs over each pocket. Cover pan and cook the eggs over low heat for 7-10 minutes, or until eggs are set
- Turn off the heat and add several dollops of whipped basil goat cheese throughout the skillet - the residual heat from the pan will slowly melt the goat cheese creating a soft and creamy texture.
- Sprinkle finished dish with chopped fresh chives and fresh cracked black pepper.
- Serve immediately family-style