Sunday, March 23, 2014

I Didn't Know That - Omelets

I love a good omelet but have always had trouble making them.  Finally I've found not only simple to follow directions but also a few tips, thanks to Redbook Magazine.  Here is their recipe, instructions, and tips for making an omelet

2 large eggs
sea salt  ground black pepper
1/2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. grated Gruyere cheese (I use finely grated cheddar)
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, tarragon and chives (I like the herbs but also like mine with bacon or sausage.  (For this I use bacon bits which are small or cooked sausage that I've crumbled finely with a fork after cooking)


1.  In a medium bowl, gently beat the eggs, 1/4 tsp. sea salt and a pinch of black pepper and set aside.  Now, prepare the rest of your ingredients.  Omelet-making is a quick activity, so get everything chopped, grated, and measured BEFORE you begin to cook.

2.  Heat a small (8") nonstick skillet over medium heat.  After the pan has been heating for 2-3 minutes, add the butter.  Wait for it to bubble before adding your eggs, but be careful.  If your pan is too hot, it will dry out the eggs.  (I don't use nonstick skillets but do use a stainless steel sprayed with non-stick spray before heating.  This does prevent the egg from sticking.  Don't spray it after heating or it will smoke when it hits the hot skillet)

3.  Pour the egg mixture into the center of the pan and tilt the pan so the eggs spread around the entire surface.  As they set, gently stir them with a spatula, pulling the set eggs up and allowing the liquid to spread into the pan.  There should be no gaps or holes.  (This is another reason I use stainless steel.  A lot of non-stick pans tend to buckle in the middle after long-term use.  The stainless steel keeps its flat bottom and allows the egg to run evenly.)

4.  Keep scrambling.  Doing this allows the eggs to cook evenly, and it won't affect how the omelet looks on the outside.  You want to cook the omelet until the bottom is set and the top is just set but still looks moist, 1-2 minutes.  (This is where I've always had a problem.  In the past I thought you just allowed the egg to cook without any kind of 'scrambling' and the results have always been the same for me - brown and dried out on the bottom.  With this method you simply pull the egg from the outside in allowing the uncooked egg to run to the area you've pulled form so you aren't actually what I've always called scrambling.  I've also found it helps to tilt the pan a bit when doing this to allow the uncooked portion to flow onto the pan.)

5.  Your omelet is almost cooked so now it's time to sprinkle it with your cheese, herbs and whatever other goodies you've chosen.  (I've always thought the fillings needed to be added earlier so they sort of 'glue' themselves to the eggs.  And I always added the cheese early on so I would make sure it melted.  This was another mistake I made when making my omelets.)

6.  Using a rubber spatula, loosen the edges of the omelet.  Slid the spatula under half of the omelet and tilt your pan, letting gravity help you fold it in half.  Gently slide onto a plate.  (I found a trick to allow myself to have more cheese in my omelet.  Just before I fold the omelet in half I sprinkle it with just a little bit more cheese.  The egg is hot enough that the cheese melts and I have my omelet just the way I like it.)

Now for Redbook's tips on making the perfect omelet.

1.  Size does matter - an 8" nonstick skillet is the perfect size for a two-egg omelet, which works out to about 6 Tbsp. of liquid.

2.  Don't over-beat your egg mixture - this will toughen the protein in the whites.

3.  Less is more when it comes to fillings - adding too much cheese or too many fillings will prevent your omelet form folding shut.

4.  The eggs inside your omelet will continue to cook and set - even after you've removed it from the heat, so it's best to cook the eggs slightly underdone.  by the time you've filled, folded and transferred it to a plate it will be fully cooked but still be moist and tender.

5.  Practice makes perfect - no one's first omelet is a masterpiece, but with a little practice your omelets will look just like they do in a restaurant but don't worry - an ugly omelet is still a tasty one.

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