People ask me “what is your favorite thing to cook?” and I typically answer with “it depends” but the truth is that there is one thing that I love to make. A simple omelette combines the purity of eggs with a little fat, but relies on a lot of technique that is never really mastered. Omelettes are a lifelong pursuit and the reward is found in the fluffy texture that precedes balanced flavors of well made eggs.
Jacques Pepin explains country omelette and classic French omelette techniques in this video starting at about 14:00. it is amazing to watch a master chef make something so challenging look so easy.
There are three lessons I have learned about omelettes:
- Equipment: Don’t be a hero, a non-stick pan essential and I prefer an inexpensive 8″ T-Fal pan because the non-stick surface won’t break down and the sides are ideally shaped for manipulating an omelette. The classic omelette technique relies on a fork, I use a silicone omelette turner that Oxo offers, it works amazingly well. I prefer silicone whisks and I discovered that they are ideal for working in the pan, made even better by pulling one of the tines out so that the whisk flattens out.
- Rule of Two: Two eggs and a little milk is enough for a perfect omelette. Any more and the mix will be difficult to manage in the pan. Two also applies to stuffing. I like Parmiagano Reggiano (don’t add salt to the eggs, the cheese will bring enough salt to season the omelette), which pairs with everything from roasted tomatoes to the smoked ham I had this morning. For a face melting experience, go with shredded pork belly.
- Heat: This is the lesson that was last to learn but key to the entire omelette experience. High heat, move the pan on-off the heat rather than manipulating the cooking surface.
Mix 2 eggs with 2-3 tbs. of milk and whisk thoroughly but not so much that you introduce air to the mix. Add a tab of butter to the eggs, it will melt as the eggs are setting. Heat cooking surface to medium high and preheat pan to the point you can feel the heat coming off the surface. Add the egg mixture to the pan and whisk aggressively with the silicone whisk, move the pan on/off the heat. When the eggs curds start to develop and the mix no longer is whisk-able, move it in the pan to level it out. Add the stuffing and manipulate the omelette according to the technique in Pepin’s video.