About two weeks ago, I announced a new project: Omnomlet Month! It’s born mostly out of my total boredom with what I’d been doing in my kitchen lately, and also out of the fact that I love breakfast food. Well, after some pressing family issues-related delays, I am one week into the process, and it has been glorious so far. Today, I’m going to walk you through a tutorial on how to cook a perfect omelet, and then I’ll give you some tasting notes on the first seven omelets.
How to Make an Omelet
I think one of the most important things I have learned about making omelets is to prep everything before you begin. They’re easy if everything is right at reach, but quickly become a stressful project if you’re frantically beating eggs while the butter browns, or chopping veggies or grating cheese while your eggs turn rubbery. Nobody wants that. So, first things first, prep everything: chop what needs to be chopped, slice what needs to be sliced, grate what needs to be grate. Put your eggs in a smallish bowl and beat them with a fork. Pull all of your condiments and relevant spices out of the shelves and line everything up on the counter next to the stove.
The second thing is to get a pan that is the correct size and shape. I prefer a fry pan that has gentle, rounded, sloping sides, because I think it makes sliding the omelet out of the pan easier, and also it’s easier to get a spatula around the edges and under the side of your omelet without hacking it to bits. Other people prefer a pan with sides that come to an angled joint with the flat bottom of the pan; that’s fine, too; it can give your omelet a more defined shape if that’s really important to you. (I tend to still be able to get a pretty good circle without the angled side, but I know it’s a struggle for others.) A little practice and experience will teach you which fry pan works best with which amount of eggs, too. A smaller-ish (10-12″ bottom) pan will be good for a 2-egg omelet, a larger-ish (14″ or so) for 3 eggs. Feel free to experiment until you find one that gives you an omelet with the thickness you desire.
- Turning a burner to medium heat (not too high, not too low), melt enough butter in the pan to coat the entire thing (generously, but not with extra puddling. Too much will brown too easily and ruin the edges of your omelet; too little will let your omelet stick.) For a larger pan, this is about a tablespoon, give or take.
- Pour previously beaten eggs into pan.
- Eggs will stop being fully transparent. When they are about halfway (bottom to top) cooked through, but still visibly liquid on top, begin adding toppings to one half of the circle in your pan. I like to start with spices, layer cheese or anything that needs to melt on top of that, then produce (to soften), then cooked meats/proteins last. The spices will infuse the egg better the longer they’re left on, the cheese needs longer to melt, the veggies should be close to the heat source but you will probably either previously cook them or prefer them to retain at least some of their original texture, and the meat/protein fillings need very little in the way of actual cooking once they’re in your omelet. Any liquid toppings can go on last.
- Once ingredients are layered into pan, take a spatula and slide it around the outside edge of the empty half of the omelet, gradually working your way in toward the center. Be careful not to tear or tuck the egg under. When you can freely and easily slide your spatula completely under the empty half of the omelet, do so, allowing your spatula to hold the largest bulk of the empty half. Lift the empty half of egg side away from the pan and gently fold it over the ingredients, bringing its edge as close to its matching/opposite edge as possible. Gently press down over the ingredient half, forcing some of the still-soft/liquid egg to press into the fillings side. This helps to seal the omelet.
- For omelets that have fine/few fillings and are not too bulky, if your spatula is large enough, you can attempt to flip your omelet. I don’t know how to describe this, so I’ll just say good luck and have fun practicing. This is probably a good plan for pregnant women, who cannot (as far as I understand it) eat undercooked egg. The rest of us should be fine, though, so you don’t HAVE to flip your omelet.
- Give it a minute or two (maximum) after closing, then turn off heat, hold pan at an angle over your plate, and use the spatula to gently loosen the omelet from the pan and slide it down the pan’s sloping sides onto your plate in one piece. It took me (originally) about 3 or 4 omelets in a week to get this down without ruining the omelet’s shape, but it’s not really too hard.
- Eat your damn omelet.
Okay! Now that that’s done (and please, if anything is unclear or if you need more detail, let me know in the comments!), let’s get on to the first omelets.
The Basic: egg, salt, pepper, shredded cheddar cheese. This is a satisfying omelet, but it’s not really all that special. It’s what I make when I need something quick and familiar, but after even a quarter of the month has gone by, I’m not eager to eat this one again. Too many other interesting ways to eat eggs folded over fillings, you know?
The Caprese: egg, cherry tomato, mozzarella, fresh basil, olive oil & balsamic vinegar, cracked pepper. So far this is one of my favorites, and I owe at least part of that to my intense love for these flavors combined in almost any fashion. I used cherry tomatoes because I think they’re more wieldy for a dish of this sort and tend to pack a deeper flavor punch than larger tomatoes do. For mozzarella, I used a thick loaf and sliced off two generous pieces. I shook the oil and vinegar together before adding them over the top of the other fillings.
The Amandamarieg: apple and Swiss. Girl, this omelet is so good. It’s subtle, though, too. You could eat it with something heavier on the side—meat, if you’re into that, or a honey-drizzled piece of cornbread, for instance. The flavor is really forgiving but sweet, and the Swiss and apple (I used granny smith) go so exquisitely together.
The Taco: taco meat, white onion, jalapeño, fresh salsa, cheddar. Look, I love tacos. So much. Since I’m a vegetarian, I’ve gotten pretty good at making suitable soy substitute taco meat. So it was kind of a treat to be able to try one of my favorite foods in a new form. Omelets really can’t be spicy enough for me (I used to eat them with generous coatings of cayenne pepper), so I was ready for this one. It was that good. I think it was my dude’s favorite so far, in fact. Since he is a huge fan of huevos rancheros, this is not surprising.
The Pizza: fresh mozzarella, marinara sauce. I was going to try some soy pepperoni on this too, but I couldn’t find any at the store when I dashed out for it. You know, that’s okay. I eat a lot of plain cheese pizza anyway, and sometimes the best dishes are the simplest. Feel free to be generous with both cheese and sauce on this one. It’s wonderful.
The Slay Belle: cream cheese. Just cream cheese. What can I say? Do you love cream cheese? Do you like to pile it onto things? Have you ever had it melty? Eat this. It’s a smoother cheese filling experience than a plain cheddar. It’s good. It can, as they say, get it.
The Freckle: soy sauce, one hard cheese, one soft cheese, basil, oregano, garlic powder, black and white pepper, cinnamon. I have to say: I over did the cinnamon a bit on this one, and even then it was tasty. There is something about the addition of soy sauce that just bumps all those other spices up a notch to Perfectly Blended. I would do a lighter hand on the cinnamon next time, but I would definitely give this a next time. That’s a good sign.
Those are the first seven! We’ll be back soon with the next bunch of delicious egg concoctions. And in the mean time, may your omelets be nommable.