Fast food: basic omelette
Whether you choose to spell it omelette or omelet, it’s still a god-send when cooking for one, when you need fast food (even for several), or when you just want to make a meal without going to the grocery store.
Omelettes come in several styles–thin and rolled or folded, or thick and puffy; usually with filling or other added ingredients. It’s the filling/topping possibilities that make this a meal in itself–these can range from a simple cheese filling to mixtures of vegetables, and even jam or jelly for a sweet treat.
My favorite style is the thin, folded (not puffy) with a filling of some sort–even “leftover” caprese salad in the summer time, or cheese, mushrooms, onions, and spinach–there are lots of “classic” fillings for omelettes that you see on restaurant menus–Denver, Spanish, Mexican, Greek, et cetera but there are virtually endless possibilities.
First, choose the appropriately sized pan: I use an 6- to 8-inch skillet (All-Clad) when cooking a 2- or 3-egg omelette just for me (and the cat). Too small and the omelette will be too thick to fold and too large, the omelette is too thin. Just like other cooking for one, the size of the pan is important.
An omelette is most easily made in a skillet or frying pan because the slanted sides allow you to roll or fold the omelette easily. You may see ads for “omelette pans” but the plain skillet or frying pan is the only thing that you need so long as it is of good quality and heat is conducted evenly. Nonstick is not necessary–any good skillet, if preheated and oil added appropriately works fine.
If your filling needs cooking, e.g. mushrooms, onions, peppers, or the like, prepare that by sautéing the ingredients and setting them aside. You should allow about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of filling for each two eggs. Your imagination and your taste are the only limitations on what can be used as a filling for your omelette. Cheese of your choice is always good–add a salad and you’ve a meal right there. Fresh herbs with tender greens such as spinach can be quickly sautéed with a little butter and/or olive oil and used as a filling. In the summer, tomatoes, summer squash are possibilities. Leftover boiled or roasted potatoes or roasted root veggies–certainly. Even “tough” greens such as kale or chard can be used if precooked. Leftover fish or smoked salmon works well. Even creamed spinach from the freezer, or just some of the salsa from a jar. Recycle some of the sausage-potato casserole as omelette filling….
For a flat, folded (or rolled) omelette, I start with two large eggs, add a splash of milk or cream, a pinch of salt, and beat the eggs until yolks and whites are well blended. I like to beat them with chopsticks or a fork since I don’t want the omelette to puff.
Using a whisk will incorporate air and those bubbles will expand and give you a somewhat puffy omelette, which I don’t like as well as the thinner, folded or rolled style. I also prefer not to have my omelettes browned–I want that nice cooked, but still moist style.
For an evenly cooked omelette without spotty browning, you need to preheat your pan thoroughly (5 or 6 minutes) before adding the eggs so that they will cook evenly.
Over medium-high heat, add some butter (about 1-1/2 teaspoons). When the foam subsides, pour in the beaten eggs, and pull the edges as they set toward the center of the pan, allowing unset egg to run to the edge–maybe 30 rule out 45 seconds.
Spread your filling over the surface of the omelette, cover (foil or a plate if you don’t have a lid that fits your frying pan) and remove from the heat for about 60 to 90 seconds to allow the residual heat to finish setting the eggs on the top of the omelette; it should appear moist, but not runny. If it’s not set enough, return to the heat briefly with the cover still in place.
When cooked to your taste, use the chopsticks or fork to roll or fold the omelette. I usually simply fold it into thirds, or even in half, rather than rolling it up. Turn out on a plate, and it’s ready to eat.
Omelettes are ubiquitous…for an interesting survey of variations (including some seen on restaurant menus) see the Wikipedia article on omelettes. Your taste is your guide to making this a quick, delectable meal.
A son goût!