Thursday, May 27, 2010

Omelets: The true test of culinary dexterity

Lemme just say right off the bat that omelets are hard. Getting the eggs fully cooked, without burning or cracking, and then transferring the delicacy successfully onto a plate in the perfect rolled up shape takes some serious skill. BUT it’s not impossible- and with the help of a few choice hints and tips you too can master the art of the omelet.

This is a timed trial. Once you start cooking – you’re movin’. The whole process is about 2 min. There is no time to re-read the recipe, or measure ingredients. Read EVERYTHING first, know what you’re doing before you start. Have your ingredients ready to go, fillings and all- this is where little glass bowls come in handy.

Butter: double function- prevents sticking, and makes the eggs rich and delicious. But butter burns easily- and cooking with burned butter will make your omelet icky. My girl Martha Stewart recommends using clarified butter. This process removes the milk solids so it won’t burn as quickly or cause stickage. Technically you are supposed to melt 1 cup butter over low heat till foamy (about 15 min) and then pour the melted butter over a cheesecloth and into a bowl or storage cup to get rid of the solid material- but I didn’t have 15 min and just melted it in the microwave before separating with a cheesecloth and that worked just fine.

Whip it good- whisk the eggs together well to incorporate lots of air- makes the omelet nice and fluffy- but don’t let them sit too long before pouring into the pan. They’ll deflate- and no one likes deflated eggs- even sounds sad.

I like to move it move it- Once you pour the eggs into the pan- keep em movin! Jerk the pan, run a spatula across the top, tilt it so the uncooked eggs run under, but be careful not to scramble them!

Quality not quantity: when it comes to ingredients to put in the omelet- you can’t put much in there (stick to about a ¼ cup filling), and the quality makes all the difference in the world. Sautéed onions or mushrooms, roasted tomatoes, gourmet cheeses - are all good choices. Keep it simple- you could even just add some fresh chopped herbs (tarragon, basil, chervil, chives, flat-leaf parsley)

Basic Omelet

3 Eggs

Coarse Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper

1 Tablespoon clarified butter

1 Tablespoon of herbs or ¼ cup of filling

1. Heat 8 in skillet over medium-high. After pan warms up add butter.

2. Whisk eggs with salt and pepper

3. When the butter is hot (but not smoking!) add the eggs and reduce heat to medium

4. Here’s where the tips come in- keep it moving as you try to get the eggs cooked evenly- use a spatula to make sure its not sticking and to pull the omelet off the edges of the pan

5. Once eggs are set (about 30 seconds) add filling and loosen the omelet

6. Fold the eggs over about 1/3 of the way- Gently!

7. Holding pan over your plate slide and roll omelet onto the plate so that it folds the rest of the way and lands seam-side down

¡Voila! Perfection

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