Are you in a hurry, because your meeting lasted longer than expected? Does your refrigerator have leftovers, but none of them are enough to make another meal? Have unexpected guests appeared on your doorstep?
The solution to any of these problems is an Omelet, a delicious and versatile French gift to the modern cook. Sweet, savory, sauced, and/or filled: they can be an appetizer, meal, or elegant dessert. No, I don't mean one of those overcooked Pancake-like things served in Diners. A real Omelet is a light and tender treat, of which any chef may be proud. Whether you like them plain or puffy, once you learn the secrets of preparation, they will be a regular delight on your table.
Some general rules about making Omelets:
First, and probably the most important, you need a pan which will be simple for you to use. Yes, it is true that I can use a thin-bottomed pan without a nonstick finish, but I have been doing this for longer than some of my readers have been alive. For most people, the perfect pan is medium weight aluminum with a nonstick coating, and a heat resistant handle. It is a good idea to have them in a couple of sizes 10 inch for 2 Egg Omelets, and 12 inch for ones using 4 Eggs. Do please remember to use a spatula designed for a nonstick pan, because a metal one will ruin the finish.(no matter what the ads tell you)
Second, never use Milk as the Liquid in your Omelets; it will make them tough and watery. Use water, wine, or fruit juice. The proper ratio is 1 tablespoon of Liquid for each Egg.
Third, if possible, have your Eggs at room temperature, because the Omelet will be lighter. This does NOT mean to leave them out of the refrigerator for hours, as that would not be safe; just let them warm slightly after you take them from the refrigerator. For safety's sake, never use an Egg which is cracked, because bacteria within them multiply quickly.
Fourth, have the filling or sauce, if you are going to use one, ready before you start to prepare the Omelet. Eggs cook very rapidly, and you don't want them to become toughened whilst you are fumbling with a Cheese grater or Jelly jar. For the same reason, if you will be finishing the Omelet in the broiler, do have it preheated.
Fifth, if you are going to make a puffy Omelet, do be certain that the bowl and beater for the Egg Whites is immaculate. Even a slight trace of fat will lessen the final volume of the beaten Egg Whites. On to our basic recipes.
2 tablespoons Liquid (Water, Wine, or Fruit Juice)
1 tablespoon Butter, Margarine, or Oil
Herbs, Spices, Filling, or Sauce (Optional)
Method for Plain Omelet
Break the Eggs into a medium sized mixing bowl. Add the Liquid and whisk thoroughly until light. If the Omelet is to have Herbs or Spices, add them now.
In a 10 inch pan melt 1 tablespoon Butter over medium heat. You can make Omelets using Margarine or Oil, but I recommend that you use Butter for the first few, until you begin to acquire a feel for the proper temperature of the pan. As the Butter melts, it will begin to foam. When the foam starts to subside, pour in the Egg mixture all at once.
Allow the Eggs to begin cooking for a minute without moving the pan. As the edges begin to cook, use the spatula to gently push them a bit toward the center, and allow some of the uncooked mixture to fill the empty space. Do this in a few spots, so that the amount of liquid Egg in the center is small. At this point, add the filling, if you are going to use one. You can sprinkle with Sugar and sliced fresh Fruit, add several spoonfuls of Preserves, scatter grated Cheese, or use any mixture of cooked Vegetables you like.
Let the Omelet cook another minute. Place the pan at the edge of the serving plate and start to slide the Omelet out gently. When you reach the halfway mark, slide the pan in the opposite direction to fold it in half. This is a much more reliable way of getting a neatly folded Omelet than trying to fold it with a spatula.
Method for Puffy Omelet
Separate the Eggs, placing the Whites in a medium-sized mixing bowl, and the Yolks in a cup with the Liquid. Beat the Whites until they are stiff, but not dry. Stir the Yolks together with the Liquid and Herbs or Spices, then pour the mixture onto the beaten Whites and fold gently.
In a 10 inch pan, melt the Butter, over medium heat, until the foam begins to subside. Add the Egg mixture, and lower the heat slightly. Allow to cook for 2 minutes, then add the Filling, if there will be one. Slide the pan under the broiler to finish cooking. It should take about 2 more minutes. Turn out as directed above.
Special Note: Neither of the above recipes includes Salt. The reason for this is that Salt whilst cooking tends to toughen the Eggs. I recommend that you add it later, if at all.
2002 Eddy Robey
Excerpts from It's Not Just Chicken Soup.
hosted by the Gantseh Megillah
to the recipe list.