A Perfect Omelet
Being back in the swing of the school year and the swirl of parents that comes along with it, I’m reminded of the rich community of moms around me: So smart, and so full of clever ideas. Just this morning I found myself swapping lunch packing tips with Kelly, a mother of two challenged with a picky eater, and healthy snack ideas with Suzanne, whose kids have put the kabosh on dried fruits and nuts (raw almonds and unsulfured apricots can only take you so far). I was impressed with how both approach the task of nourishing kids.
Maybe it sounds mundane, chattering about the nitty gritty of feeding kids, but exchanging stories and recipes is a time-honored tradition of parenting. It’s often where I get my best ideas. In this spirit of sharing, I’m hoping today’s post will become a recipe swap of sorts. I’ll start by offering up my most tried and true quick dinner: a simple omelet. Then, I’d love to hear what you do for dinner on those nights when you blow into the house late in the day and have to get supper on the table in a flash, so please leave comments below!
A Simple French-Style Omelet
Now, onto the perfect omelet. I wasn’t particularly keen on this preparation for eggs until about 10 years ago when I had my first taste of a classic one over lunch at a restaurant in France (but of course). The omelet was tender, gently cooked, with just enough Gruyere to make you want more. It was nothing like the overstuffed and overcooked ones I’d been eating all my life. I ate one almost daily for the remainder of the trip and returned determined to make a proper omelet at home. It’s now often the first thing I teach in my cooking classes for kids, and is my “go-to” dish when the cupboards are bare and the dinner hour approaches.
Just a few ingredients
A classic Fresh omelet with a simple salad or vegetable to go with it is a perfectly nourishing and satisfying meal. All that’s required are a couple of eggs, a knob of butter, salt and pepper. Cheese is a nice addition, but not essential. A glass of white wine for the cook never hurts.
Raw eggs are sticky business, which is why omelets are ideally made with a non-stick pan. Cast iron will do the trick in a pinch. For a two to three-egg omelet, an eight inch skillet it about right and one with sloped slides is even better.
Step-By-Step to a Perfect Omelet
The images below walk you through the basic technique in the recipe below. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t nail it the first time around. Eggs are relatively inexpensive and even your rejects will still be tasty.
Whisk two eggs in a small bowl with a pinch of salt and a few cracks of black pepper.
Heat a small non-stick skillet over medium. Swirl butter in the pan and when hot, add eggs.
Once the eggs have set along the bottom, use a rubber spatula to nudge an edge of the egg toward the center. Then, tilt the pan, and allow raw egg to drift into the space.
Continue nudging the egg in various places around the rim until the egg is nearly cooked along the surface. Eggs are delicate and will continue to cook even after the omelet is out of the pan.
Scatter the cheese over the egg.
Use a rubber spatula lift one side of the omelet and fold it in half.
Tilt the pan so the egg slides right out and onto a plate.
- 2 eggs
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ½ tablespoon butter
- 2 to 3 tablespoons grated Cheddar or Gruyere cheese
Crack the eggs into a small bowl, add salt and a few turns with a pepper grinder. Use a fork to vigorously whisk the eggs until they are one solid yellow color.
Set a saute pan (ideally a nonstick one) that’`1s 8 to 10 inches across over medium heat. Add the butter and let it melt, tilting the pan this way and that so it coats the entire bottom of the pan and up the sides a bit.
When the pan is hot, pour in the eggs and let them settle for 10 seconds until the bottom cooks a bit. Using a rubber spatula, stir the eggs in the pan a few times. Then, let the eggs settle, tilting the pan to help the raw parts spread to the edges. Use a rubber spatula to lift the edge of the omelet in one spot and tilt the pan so the liquid parts drift into the bare spot and set. Do this in 4 or 5 places around the perimeter of the omelet until the top is nearly cooked. Sprinkle the cheese over the eggs and remove from heat. If the eggs don’t look quite done and the cheese needs to melt a little longer, put a lid over the pan for about 30 seconds.
Use a rubber spatula to lift one edge of the omelet and fold it over, so it forms a half moon. Lift the pan off the stove, tilt it, and slide the omelette onto a plate.
Feel free to add a few tablespoons of one of the following fillings along with the cheese: chopped ham, chopped spinach, crumbled bacon, or sliced sauteed mushrooms.