Making the Perfect Omelet
You will need good omelet pans. The days of having to season pans are gone, even though I keep my three pans hidden in my computer closet! In my Florida home, we have T-Fal pans and they make a wonderful omelet. You will also need clarified butter, so melt a pound and put it in the refrigerator overnight, and the hard yellow fat is what you want. Scrape off any white milk solids or salt. I like to add 1/3 by volume of cottonseed oil, for heat resistance, as I cook at very high heat. This is because an omelet, according to Escoffier, is really scrambled eggs enclosed in a skin of cooked egg. It should not be browned at all, and the interior should be very moist.
Put about a half a tablespoon of clarified butter into the pan, and let it get hot on a high fire. with clarified butter, it is right when the color changes from yellow to clear. Add the well beaten eggs all at once, and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon. This is the time to add any ingredients to be mixed through out the omelet, such as sautéd mushrooms. Now tilt the pan to the front, and roll the omelet to the front of the pan to take a football shape, and tap the pan to rotate the omelet so that it "skins up." Once that happens, invert the pan over a plate, to deposit it in the center. If the omelet is not perfectly formed, cheat! Place a clean cotton towel over it and form it by pressing on the towel. This works wonders. Paint the top of the omelet with some melted butter to give it a shine.
There are three basic types of omelet, stirred, filled and topped. You should have all your fillings, toppings and sauces ready in advance. I will use some sautéd mushrooms as an example. For a stirred omelet, add the mushrooms while you are stirring the eggs, so that they will be evenly distributed throughout it. For a filled omelet, let the omelet be somewhat flat, and sprinkle the mushrooms over the uncooked surface, and fold it in half, so that the mushrooms are centered inside. For a topped mushroom omelet, score the top of the finished omelet with a shallow X, and put the mushrooms inside the cut. For this kind of an omelet, some brown gravy over the mushrooms finishes it perfectly. For the children, use half the quantity of egg, and make a thin pancake, without stirring. Flip it once to cook both sides. Turn it out onto a clean towel, and spread the surface with warm strawberry jam (never grape, it looks green and uchhy) and roll it up like a jelly roll, and sprinkle the surface with powdered sugar.
My personal favorite omelet is a stirred mushroom omelet, topped with bacon and covered with cheddar cheese, melted under the broiler. Yours may be different, as there are literally thousands of different combinations possible, and you will find them in any good cookbook. And they can be dry or sauced. Julia Child, in her "Way to Cook" has a good section on omelets with some interesting tips. The finished omelet she shows looks just a teensy bit browned to me, but I love her anyway! Julia has an interesting egg burrito, consisting of a thin egg crepe filled with scrambled eggs, that you can make in advance and then heat up in 10 minutes, which may be just the thing if you want to enjoy your guests instead of knocking out hot omelets. I wish I had thought of that!
You may have noticed that I didn't get too fancy with this meal. That is so that you, the cook, can enjoy this party too. Practice making your omelets in advance so that they will be perfect. Everybody will love this brunch, it is a can't fail formula. My recipe for Holiday Eggnog follows. I have been serving this for thirty years at the end of term, and when I meet my former students, many say that they are serving it too. So Happy Holidays, and enjoy.
© 1997, Steve K. Holzinger. All rights reserved.
This page originally published as part of the electronic Gourmet Guide between 1994 and 1998.
Copyright © 2007, Forkmedia LLC. All rights reserved.
Modified July 2007