Become A Pro At The Delicate Art of Omelet-Making
Reading Time: 5 minutes
What’s so difficult about making an omelet you might ask? Actually, you’re right; an omelet is very simple to make but how many great omelets have you actually been served?
Sometimes the simplest dishes are the hardest to get right. Too many omelets feature overcooked rubbery eggs with fillings that overpower the taste of the eggs. An omelet should be delicate, tender and creamy with a taste of fresh eggs and fresh butter. It should be plump and golden in color with a filling that complements the eggs.
Omelets are enjoyed around the world and each culture seems to have their own take on this universally loved dish. From the French pale, golden, never-browned omelet that’s creamy on the inside, to our American fluffy, browned and tender but firm omelets to open-faced hearty Italian and Spanish omelets and savory Asian and Japanese rolled omelets, this simple egg dish is a well-loved favorite. Each of these feature eggs that are beaten, flavored and quickly cooked. Each requires a few key techniques to do properly.
Individual omelets are quick to make; if you make one properly it should take you no more than 60 seconds. Larger, open-faced omelets will take a little more time but are still considered quick meals making them perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
The Key to Perfect Omelets:
- Use 2 to 3 eggs per individual omelet, the fresher the better.
- Whisk the eggs thoroughly; do not leave any trace of unbeaten egg white or yolk.
- Do not add water, milk or other liquid. Many people add liquid to their omelets assuming it adds to the fluffiness. Instead, the liquid thins the eggs and separates out as the eggs begin to cook. This results in watery, overcooked pale eggs.
- Use the proper-sized nonstick pan. A 7- to 8-inch pan (measured across the top) works well for an individual omelet. Too large a pan will overcook the eggs quickly, causing dry omelets. The pan should have a slick surface without any sticking.
- Heat the butter over medium-high heat until it’s melted and the foaming stops; immediately pour the eggs into the pan. (You know the temperature is right if the eggs immediately sizzle.)
- For French-style omelets, use a two-handed technique: constantly shake the pan as you stir the eggs. This keeps the eggs continually moving creating a light and delicate custard.
- For American-style omelets, keep the pan on the heat as you gently pull the cooked egg toward the center, allowing
the uncooked egg to flow onto the pan.
- Add the filling towards the end of cooking, right before you fold and slide the omelet off the pan.
- Take the omelet off the heat when the eggs are cooked to your desired doneness but still moist. The eggs will continue to cook as you fold and slide the omelet onto the plate.
- For Italian open-faced omelets, have the broiler on and ready to go before you start cooking, as an omelet should be made and served immediately.
Fresh Herb and Goat Cheese Omelet
This French-style omelet is a classic. It should be in everyone’s repertoire. The two-handed technique may seem awkward at first, but after doing it once or twice it will be very easy and become second nature.
1/8 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs
(such as dill, tarragon and chives)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon goat cheese
Whisk eggs with salt and pepper until well mixed. Whisk in 1 tablespoon of the herbs.
Melt butter in small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until butter is melted and foaming just begins to stop. Immediately pour eggs into skillet. Begin stirring eggs with a heat-proof spatula while shaking the pan back and forth. When the eggs begin to form moist curds and no longer flow like liquid (this will happen very quickly), spread them across the pan and immediately top with the remaining herbs and goat cheese.
Fold the top edge of the omelet towards the center and loosen the bottom of the omelet with the spatula. Slide the bottom edge of the omelet onto a plate and tilt the pan so the omelet rolls onto the plate. (Use a fork to position and shape the omelet if necessary.)
Bacon-Pepper-Fried Potato Omelet
This hearty, American-style omelet is perfect for both breakfast or supper. This omelet should be lightly browned but moist inside. Work quickly and have the filling ready to go to ensure the eggs don’t overcook.
1 strip bacon, chopped
1 small onion, sliced
1/4 cup sliced or diced cooked potatoes
2 to 4 tablespoons sliced mini bell peppers, assorted colors
1/8 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon butter
Fry bacon in small nonstick skillet over medium heat 3 to 5 minutes or until almost crisp; add onion, cook until tender. Add
potatoes and bell pepper; cook 2 to 4
minutes or until warm. Set aside.
Whisk eggs with salt and pepper until well mixed. Melt butter in small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until butter is melted and foaming just begins to stop. Immediately pour eggs into skillet and allow eggs to stand until bottom just begins to cook. Using heatproof spatula, pull cooked eggs toward the center, allowing uncooked eggs to flow underneath, tilting pan if necessary.
When eggs are cooked to desired doneness, but still moist, add filling to half of omelet. Fold omelet over filling and slide onto serving plate.
This open-faced Italian omelet is served in wedges and perfect for larger groups. The eggs begin cooking on top of the stove and finish with a quick flourish under the broiler.
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup sliced zucchini
1 medium shallot, sliced
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons shaved or shredded Parmesan cheese
Whisk eggs with salt and pepper until well mixed. Whisk in basil.
Heat olive oil in medium (10 to 11 inch) nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add zucchini and shallot and cook 1 to 2 minutes or until slightly tender, stirring and turning zucchini. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring 1 minute or until slightly softened. Pour in eggs. Cook 2 minutes, stirring very gently, until eggs begin to form moist curds.
Place the frittata under the broiler and broil for 1 1/2 to 3 minutes or until the top is dry and set but the center is still moist. Run a spatula under the frittata to release and slide onto large plate. Scatter parmesan over the top; cut into wedges.