Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Basics: Omelettes

As a part-time job when I was in school, I spent time working at a cooking store.

I remember one of my coworkers telling people that eggs were the only reason anyone ever needed a nonstick pan.

Some people wanted nonstick for everything. And some of the pans were very expensive and ended up coming back to the store after they had been ruined by people who didn't know what they were doing.
Perhaps a sharp knife was used to take some bits of burnt food off the pan (instead of a little elbow grease, soap, and hot water). The knife took whatever it was off the pan's surface, but it also gouged out a chunk of the nonstick finish.

One time someone brought a nonstick roasting pan back. It was after either Thanksgiving or Christmas and the pan had only been used once.
The one and only little problem with this particular nonstick pan was that there was no nonstick finish at all. It was completely gone.
The entire inside of the pan had the dull shine of brushed silver.
When expensive things are returned to a store, people usually come up with some interesting explanations. I think they're afraid that the truth won't get them what they want.
I can't remember the exact excuse, but I think in reality someone was trying to be helpful and didn't know when to stop.
Sadly, customers aren't always technically right...

It's true about the eggs though. They are sticky little things, aren't they?
But, if the pan's hot enough and there's a slick of butter, the nonstick surface is unnecessary.
Either that, or you can have a great well-loved and used pan that over time develops a finish for these sorts of things.
Eggs aren't a huge problem when it comes to cleanup anyway.

Sorry, Mr. DuPont.

Omelettes are simple and filling fare. Plus they're quick.
Of course this is the plain version, but you can fill an omelette with whatever you would like. Cheese (maybe with apple or pear), bacon, herbs, caramelized onions, mushrooms or other sauteed vegetables. Just place the filling in prior to folding the omelette.
You don't want a completely dry, overcooked and tough omelette. The operative word when cooking an omelette is creamy, not raw.
The center should be set and not move when the pan is shaken.

This recipe will yield one thin crêpe-like omelette. If you prefer a more fluffy omelette, or you're more than a two-egg type of person, use a smaller pan or add another egg. Cooking time will be a little longer, but it's still easily manageable as omelettes only take a couple/few minutes to cook. 
If you end up adding a third egg, remember to add a little more water and seasonings. 
serves 1

2 lg. eggs
1/2 T water
large pinch salt (1/8 t)
several grinds fresh nutmeg
several grinds freshly ground black pepper
1/2 T sized lump of butter

10 inch skillet

In a small bowl whisk together the eggs and water until combined. Add the salt, nutmeg and pepper and set the bowl aside. 
Heat the skillet over medium high heat, add the butter, and tilt the pan to coat. Once the butter just starts to brown a bit, add the eggs and shake the pan to distribute evenly. The omelette should begin to set up very quickly. Move the edges of the omelette with a spatula so that uncooked egg slides from the center to the outside of the pan. 
Have a plate ready...
Once the omelette is set in the center (you're not looking for completely dry- it should be wet but not runny), fold about 1/3 of the omelette over to the center. Shake the pan to loosen the omelette. Slide the unfolded side of the omelette out of the pan (using the spatula to help guide it if necessary) and onto a plate then slightly flip the rest of the omelette over the top so it folds once again (like a letter). 
Serve warm.


  1. Haven't posted for a while. Love your "basic" lessons because sometimes I don't know everything about the recipes I have been making for years.
    I love everything you highlight, thanks for your great efforts!

  2. Thank you.
    I can't say I know everything about any one thing in particular, but sometimes it's nice (refreshing?) to have someone else's point of view or tips on something.
    And as far as the "basics" go, they're supposed to be just that- basic. Something to know, and something that can be adjusted to taste and preferences...