The omelette was the last item on my Julia egg project. The previous ones – on scrambling, poaching, and shirring and baking – were easy compared to making omelettes. I had to do it three times before I got it right.
But it certainly was the most enjoyable method of cooking eggs. Not least because you really have to get tough with the eggs!
You have to move fast when making an omelette – 30 seconds is all it takes from start to finish. This video from Julia Child's cooking programme, The French Chef, shows just how fast.
Julia Child advises that you not only read and memorise the recipe first, but she also suggests practising with a pan and half a cupful of dried beans to learn the proper technique of moving the eggs while they cook – you need to "flip them (the beans) over themselves in a group". The picture below shows what happens when you're not prepared:
|Good taste, but lacking in looks|
For 1 omelette, 1-2 servings
Time: Less than 30 seconds of cooking
2 or 3 eggs
Big pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
A mixing bowl
- Beat the eggs and seasonings in the mixing bowl for 20-30 seconds until the whites and yolks are just blended.
An omelette pan 19cm in diameter at the bottom
- Place the butter in the pan and place over very high heat. As the butter melts, tilt the pan in all directions to film the sides. When you see that the foam has almost subsided in the pan and the butter is on the point of colouring (indicating it is hot enough), pour in the eggs. It is of utmost importance in this method that the butter be of the correct temperature.
- Let the eggs settle in the pan for 2 or 3 seconds to form a film of coagulated egg in the bottom of the pan.
- Grasp the handle of the pan with both hands, thumbs on top, and immediately begin jerking the pan vigorously and roughly towards you at an even 20-degree angle over the heat, one jerk per second. It is the sharp pull of the pan towards you which throws the eggs against the far lip of the pan, then back over its bottom surface. You must have the courage to be rough or the eggs will not loosen themselves from the bottom of the pan. After several jerks, the eggs will begin to thicken. (A filling would go in at this point.)
- Then increase the angle of the pan slightly, which will force the egg mass to roll over on itself with each jerk at the far lip of the pan.
- As soon as the omelette has shaped up, hold it in the angle of the pan to brown the bottom a pale golden colour, but only for a second or two, for the eggs must not overcook. The centre of the omelette should remain soft and creamy. If the omelette is not formed neatly, push it with the back of your fork.
- Turn the omelette on to the plate, rub the top with a bit of butter, and serve as soon as possible.
HERBS: Beat into the eggs at the beginning 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh herbs. Sprinkle more of the same over the finished omelette.
CHEESE: After the eggs have set for 2 or 3 seconds in the pan, sprinkle 1 or 2 tablespoons of grated Swiss or Parmesan cheese and finish the omelette. If you wish, sprinkle more cheese over the completed omelette, dot with butter, and place quickly under a very hot grill to melt and brown the cheese.
SPINACH: Beat 2 or 3 tablespoons of cooked purée of spinach into the eggs at the beginning, then proceed with the omelette as usual.