Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Perfect Omelette

It only seems fitting that now, mere weeks before my 35th birthday, I have finally mastered the art of making an omelette. It came to me suddenly -- I no longer had to push in the cooked egg on the periphery, creating a swirling maze of overdone and done egg. Rather, I could use patience, let everything cook evenly, and, with a little bit of confidence, flip the whole omelette straight to perfection.

I share these tips with you, with some trepidation that maybe you, and everyone else, already knows these things. Nevertheless, here goes. Start with three eggs. De-shell (you knew that one, I know). Beat them in a bowl, with a fork, until they achieve a uniform consistency. In the meantime, melt a slab of butter in a non-stick pan, being careful to make sure the butter covers all of the pan and as much of the sides as possible.

Like so. When the butter is melted and is covering the entire pan, dump the three egg mixture into the pan. Turn the heat from high to medium. Let the eggs start to set a bit and then -- this was my revelation, so brace yourself -- start swirling. Initially, this will look a lot like the first picture, above. The idea is to get everything evenly cooked. Swirling the uncooked portion on the sides, around the cooked, will help this along. Don't be panicked by air pockets; they work themselves out. When you get to something that looks a little like this (in the course of less than a minute),

start swirling enough to loosen the entire omelette from the pan. Here, you're judging whether or not it's solid enough to flip, to finish off that last little uncooked portion. Try to have as much cooked as possible before your flip. The trick to flipping is to, while holding the pan handle, push forward very quickly, so that the omelette starts to lift, then immediately jerk your hand back, so the omelette flips back on to the plate. Practice with sauteing vegetables if it's easier. Confidence is key. As are two cups of coffee.

You may want to ignore what appears to be, but no one has yet to definitively confirm is, the spattering of raw egg around the pan post-flip. I have no idea where that could have originated, and am sure has nothing to do with prematurely flipping the omelette before it was cooked enough. Nothing to do with that. The important thing is, what remains of my flipped three eggs look very pretty in the pan (and, for the record, did land in the pan).

The next part is all up to you and is all, mercifully, downhill from here. I wimped out and used my pre-grated bag o' cheese from the store, and ended up with a straightforward cheese omelette. I enjoy putting some freshly cut chives on top, with a little salt. Variations on the theme can include yesterday's roasted vegetables, or mixing in fried onions into the initial egg omelette and adding lox as the filling, or whatever sounds good to you.

Okay, it looks a little overdone to me, too. I've got a couple of weeks until my birthday, I'll work on it.

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