Monday, October 12, 2009
I don't think there is any recipe that seems so simple and yet is so intimidating as the classic French Omelet. For years, what I thought what I was making, was an omelet. Until one day, I went to the Gourmet Institute (now sadly, defunct) in NYC and sat in a class on eggs. It was there I learned that the true French Omelet is in a class all on its own. I doesn't have the brown edges, or the dryness that I had become accustomed to in my omelets. It was creamy, delicate, moist and perfectly even colored.
Truth be told, I am not an egg lover. I have eaten them mostly because I thought they were some super food that would make me a healthier person. I don't know if that's true or just good marketing by egg farmers or what. You gotta say, for something so small, and pretty simple they pack a pretty good nutritional punch. One little egg only has 4g fat and 7g protein. Its pretty much carb free and a whole bunch of other vitamins that I'm sure do something good.
So back to the omelet. I finally "cracked" (I'm so funny!) the key to a good, creamy French omelet when I followed the following principles:
1) VERY Fresh eggs. I LOVE to use my farm fresh eggs from Rosas Farms but if I cannot get my hands on those babies, I use cage free, organic eggs. (The cage free part is purely for my guilty conscious)
2)Use only 3 eggs at a time. I dont care if you are feeding 34 people. Sorry. Use only 3 eggs at a time. If you try to use more, then you get so much thickness that it takes too long to cook and you get the dreaded "brown crust".
3) Don't over mix. Typically, when I would make scrambled eggs or an omelet I would scramble those suckers like it was an Olympic event. Take it easy, lightly break the yolks and get them nice and mixed but don't be all crazy about it.
4)Use real butter. Use good cheese (if you are using) and have them both at the ready when you start. If you have your omelet in the pan and then you have to go start looking for your cheese in the fridge under last week's leftovers, your omelet will burn and you will be sad. So practice the french art of "mise en place" (everything in its place) before you begin.
Ok- away we go
3 Fresh eggs (I use large)
1 tbl butter
2 tbl cheese or fresh herbs whatever strikes your fancy
Kosher salt and fresh pepper
Place a 10" nonstick skillet on the stove. Heat to med-high.
Crack eggs into a bowl, and gently mix.
When pan is thoroughly heated thru, add the butter. It should melt right away with a bit of a sizzle.
Right before you drop the eggs into the hot pan, sprinkle them with a bit of salt and pepper. If you add the salt too early, it makes the eggs watery.
Pour the eggs into the hot pan. Lower the heat to medium. Grab a rubber spatula, you know, this kind and gently swirl the eggs around. Use the handle of the pan to rotate the eggs around in the pan evenly. You are trying to make a nice, thin layer of eggs. keep lifting the edges with the spatula and give the pan several jerks swiftly over the heat.
You are trying to keep any one section of the eggs from staying in the heat for too long. Keep swirling the eggs around, coating all sides of the pan. Once the bottom layer has set (around 90 seconds) add the cheese or herbs if using down the middle of the omelet.
Swirl a bit more and gently fold one side over the other. If you are feeling daring, flip the omelet onto its other side for 15-20 seconds more and turn off the heat.
Slide the omelet gently, onto a plate, garnish with fresh chives or parsley.