Omelet de Couscous
Many things people commonly know and love have come about quite by accident. Take for example, Play-Doh, which was invented in 1955 in an effort to make a wallpaper cleaner. Legend has it that even fireworks were an accidental discovery, created by a Chinese cook 2,000 years ago who mixed together the explosive ingredients of charcoal, sulfur and saltpeter.
Jena McCoy, this year’s Grand Chef of 2008 at the 33rd annual Bayou Gourmet Cook-Off, also said that her grand-prize winning Omelette de Couscous also was invented by accident. The first-time Bayou Gourmet competitor earned first place in the Quick and Easy category, which put her in the final round of seven finalists for the grand-prize award. No one was more surprised than the young cook when her name was called as the Grand Chef of 2008 at the cooking competition.
However, even though the recipe started off accidentally, it underwent several transitions before it arrived at the Bayou Gourmet Cook-Off.
McCoy, a college student, loves cooking and started at about 12 years old. She receives her inspiration from her father and the Food Network.
“My father has been the biggest influence,” she said. “We both share a love of food and creativity.”
Even though she’s busy hitting the books at college, she still enjoys spending time in the kitchen, “every day if possible.”
She mostly enjoys cooking side dishes and entrées for entertaining or family functions.
The first-time Bayou Gourmet winner had never entered a cooking contest before the 2008 cook-off.
She credits her win to her ability to combine two of her best talents: cooking and using her imagination.
“I love using my imagination to create new, unique dishes,” she said.
McCoy loves making her dishes pleasing to the eye, but her most important goal is that they also please the palette.
“I believe that it’s all about the taste,” she said.
Though the recipe is an omelet, it’s not very traditional in its taste or presentation. The variation on the well-known dish convinced the four judges to award McCoy the highest prize at the 2008 competition.
Omelet de Couscous
1 small, ripe tomato, diced
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 link smoked turkey sausage, thinly diced
1/2 cup portabella mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups chicken stock
11/2 cups couscous
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped green onions
Sautée tomato, red onion, sausage, and mushrooms along with olive oil in a two-quart sauce pan for approximately five minutes.
Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.
When boiling, reduce flame to simmer and add couscous.
Simmer for approximately 10 minutes until stock is fully absorbed.
Stir in eggs with parmesan.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish with chopped green onions.