Notes: Other vegetables, such as chopped broccoli or cauliflower, can be used instead of asparagus. The amount of cayenne used here adds flavor and color rather than much spiciness, but if you are very sensitive to heat or are serving this dish to young children, you may want to substitute paprika.
Sunset MARCH 2003
1. Cut asparagus into 1/2-inch lengths. In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart pan over high heat, bring 1 quart water to a boil. Add asparagus and cook until bright green and just tender when pierced, about 2 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix egg yolks, 1 1/4 cups cheese, milk, flour, cayenne, and salt until well blended. Stir in asparagus.
3. In another large bowl, with a mixer on medium speed, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Spoon about a quarter of the whites into yolk mixture; stir to combine. Scrape yolk mixture into bowl with remaining whites and fold together gently just to combine; do not overmix.
4. In an 11- to 12-inch nonstick, ovenproof frying pan over medium-high heat, melt butter; swirl pan to coat. Pour in egg mixture and smooth top with a heatproof, flexible spatula. Cook until edges appear set and dry and bottom is browned (loosen edges with spatula to check), 7 to 8 minutes.
5. Transfer pan to oven and broil 4 to 6 inches from heat until omelet is puffed, set, and lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/4 cup cheese; broil until cheese is melted and bubbling, 1 minute longer. Serve at once from pan, spooning onto plates.
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