A word about omelettes

From 2010-09-27 – 2010-10-17

Too runny.
Stuck to the pan.

I think I’m just a slow learner, but it took a little while to get the omelette down and make it reproducible. For all there is to read and view about the subject, there are a few keys that make this easy. Or impossible.

1. Find the pan and temperature combination that works the best. The reality is that you make an omelette with your stainless All-Clad or with your non-stick Calphalon (like I’ve demonstrated here). The temperature needs to be a little higher on my non-stick than on the clad stainless. I set my biggest burner to just short of halfway, and you just have to experiment here a little bit. If you want it a little brown (like I do) then raise the temp a bit.
2. Lightly whisk your eggs until they are emulsified. Otherwise, you just have scrambled eggs. To get the uniformity in color, you have to beat the eggs until the mixture appears homogeneous. You can do this with a fork, knife, whisk, chopsticks, whatever. If you want them to be fluffy, the whisk is a good way to go, because it will add air to the mixture.
3. Add fat to the pan after it’s heated. The classic thing to use is butter. It tastes great, and you can tell the temperature just by watching it react. If it starts smoking, the temperature is definitely too high. You know the pan is at the proper temperature when you can flick a couple of drops of water, hear it sizzle, and watch it disappear. You want the butter to foam and melt in a few seconds while you swirl the pan and cover all the surfaces.
4. If you want a lighter consistency, add a little bit of water (tbsp or so) to the eggs right before you put them in the pan. This will create steam, but I don’t really think you need it.
5. If you’re overcooking the bottom but undercooking the top, put a lid on the pan.

From 2010-09-27 – 2010-10-17

6. Less is more when it comes to filling the omelette. If you really want a bunch of stuff in it, make a frittata.

Other than that, a little trial and error is all it takes to make great omelettes!

2 thoughts on “A word about omelettes

  1. Great post. For me, a combo of Alton Brown and Jacques Pepin boosted my omelet game. Anthony Bordain gave a tip of the hat to Pepin’s classic omelet demonstration.

    Alton’s key for me was to warm the eggs first, which seems obvious now, but it’s all to easy to forget how cold those suckers are when they come out of the fridge and into the pan. He also gets deep into whether you should introduce air when beating (he says no) or use coarse vs. fine salt (he says fine), but I think that’s a bit esoteric and makes no difference.

    • I used to think that heating up the eggs was a big deal, but I don’t do it anymore. As far as salt goes, I’m just more used to cooking with kosher salt, so that’s what I stick with. The video that you linked to is really great, though. I’ve never heard the description of the curd size like that. But for the most part, anything that Pepin demonstrates is gold.

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