When I was in culinary school, in order to pass Basic Cuisine, the entry level course in savory food, every student needed to perfect the art of making an omelette. I say “art” because according to my French instructor, there is a very precise way of cooking this egg concoction so that it turns out picture perfect.
As some of you may have already figured out, this is harder than it seems. A cooking procedure that can be boiled down to about four minutes, needs carefully controlled heat and constant attention if it is to form that perfect oblong shape and not scorch the eggs in the process. After watching the demonstration in class, it looked like a piece of cake, but after countless attempts and a big fat zero on my grade book, I realized there must be some trick I was missing.
It was not until my time spent working the breakfast line at a busy restaurant did I really master the technique, and as I had suspected, there were several keys to success.
For starters, it is essential to have the right type of pan and spatula. Specifically, a non-stick 6 inch sauté skillet that is used solely for making omelettes (so as to perserve the non-stick finish and keep you eggs perfect every time) and a high heat rubber spatula for stirring and flipping your omelette that does not scratch the surface of your pan. You are 50% of the way there if your kitchen is stocked with these two things.
As for perfecting the actual cooking method, it should come as no surprise that it all comes down to timing, as with most culinary endeavors. Once you have your pan properly heated over a medium setting for about two minutes, and your egg mixture is poured in, in a matter of three or four turns of your spatula you should have enough of the liquid set at the bottom to carefully turn the omelette over and continue cooking for another minute on the opposite side. At this point you can add whichever fillings you desire before folding over and sliding the omelette on to a plate to serve.
After a few tries you will build up the confidence and feel for the process to distinguish when the eggs are just set enough to flip over, and when you have waited too long and are left with something brown and overcooked as opposed to light and fluffy. Making a perfect omelette is a skill few home cooks seem to be able to accomplish, and I attribute it mainly to a lack of good equipment and confidence. But with these few simple tips you should be able to turn your breakfast repertoire around in no time.
2 Tbsp milk
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil or butter
Heat a 6” non-stick skillet over medium heat for about two minutes. Whisk the eggs and milk together in small bowl until slightly frothy. Add 1 Tbsp of oil or butter to your pan and then pour in the egg mixture. If the eggs immediately begin to bubble and boil, then your pan is too hot and needs to be lowered. Otherwise allow the eggs to slightly set around the sides, then using a rubber spatula, lift up different sides of the set mixture to allow more of the liquid to run underneath onto the bottom of the pan. This helps more of the eggs to set, and creates a base from which you can flip the omelette over. You should have about 70% of the eggs set in a uniform circle, with the additional 30% liquid in pockets along the top. When you lightly shake or circle the pan on the stove the omelette should easily release from the bottom. Season the eggs with salt and pepper. Using your spatula, and tilting the pan gently, turn or flip the egg mixture over onto the other side. Immediately turn the heat off, but allow the pan to remain on the burner for another 1-2 minutes. This gentle heating will ensure that the remaining liquid egg sets without overcooking. Add toppings such as cheese, sautéed veges, meat, or fresh herbs to the center of the omelette, then using your spatula fold one half of the circle on top of the other. Allow the ingredients inside to heat through for another minute before sliding the omelette onto a plate to serve.