The Big Difference Between an Eastern and Western Omelet
When my radio show ends at 9 a.m., there's a crossover where I pick up all my materials and belongings and exit while Tim Weisberg enters and sets up for his show.
During that short change over, we chat about a million little things, but today's banter spoke to the need of addressing the difference between the Eastern and Western omelet.
An Eastern is ham and green peppers, right? Absolutely not.
An Eastern is chopped ham and onions. A Western is chopped onions, ham and peppers. That's accurate.
What then is the difference between a Denver and a Western? Basically, a Denver is a Western, with one difference: the Western is cooked on both sides, as in an omelet, while the Denver, with the exact same ingredients as a Western, is when the eggs are scrambled on the hot grill.
The history of the American pioneers heading to California notes that eggs spoiled rapidly over the dusty and hot trails. In order to salvage them and mask the fermenting bad flavor, pioneers mixed eggs with plenty of chopped onions and anything else that could help disguise the less-than-stellar taste, and thus was the genesis of the Western sandwich.
Although there are a few different claims about its origin, the famous food writer James Beard believes that it was invented by Chinese chefs who used to cook for railroad gangs in the 19th and 20th centuries, and the sandwich probably evolved from a dish known as egg foo young. There's a sandwich involving egg foo young called the St. Paul sandwich, which is similar to a Western sandwich.
If you want a personal tip for the best Western sandwich, I love how fresh bakery bread toasts up nice and crispy, compared to store bought pre-sliced bread. And if you like, try a splash of hot sauce! It might deviate from tradition, but it really up's the flavor factor, and takes a simple Western sandwich to another level.