Dinner Tonight: Proper French Omelet

This post isn't meant to be a take-down of good old American diner omelets: fluffy, stuffed full of fixings, oozing cheese. I happen to love omelets like that. But I also love an omelet that's done in the classical French way, a more artful affair that's thin, spare, and just barely cooked past runny. Laced with a bit of cheese, perhaps some chopped herbs, or nothing at all—what's important is that the omelet is not a vehicle for what's inside. It's about the eggs themselves.

And it's a sublime transformation from raw eggs to omelet, done in less than two minutes (unlike scrambled eggs, which are best cooked for an age over impossibly low heat), so the perfect quick pantry dinner. I found the recipe I was looking for in an old post on eGullet, a website which never fails to satisfy (and usually stoke) my curiosities. Besides offering good suggestions for salt and pepper, it also suggests a teaspoon of cold water per egg, which steams during cooking, adding some extra fluffiness to the eggs.

In the end, a good omelet is about good technique, which is really a matter of practice. But this post got me started.

About the author: Blake Royer founded The Paupered Chef with Nick Kindelsperger, where he writes about food and occasional travels. He is currently living for the year in Tartu, Estonia.

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Dinner Tonight: Proper French Omelet

About This Recipe

Yield:1
This recipe appears in: Quote of the Morning: 'Why Add Water to Eggs?'

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 grinds of fresh pepper (preferably white, but only for aesthetic reasons)
  • 2 teaspoons cold water
  • 1/4 cup grated cheese (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (optional)

Procedures

  1. 1

    In a mixing bowl or measuring jar, combine the egg, seasoning, and water. Whisk vigorously to combine so that the mixture is relatively homogeneous.

  2. 2

    Heat a small skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium-high heat until drops of water dance on the surface. Add the butter. When the foam subsides, add the egg mixture all at once.

  3. 3

  4. 4

    Using a spatula, fold one side of the omelet 1/3 of the way towards the opposite side. Tip the omelet out of the pan, rolling it onto a plate so both sides fold under. Serve immediately.

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