Episode 87 – “Zen and the Art of Omelet Maintenance”

Posted: September 7, 2017 in Season 7
Tags: , , , , , ,

Omelet

My dad used to make amazing omelets. He went through a bit of a phase, studying Julia Child’s omelet method, and cooking omelets for all of us on the weekends. His omelets were always filled with one ingredient:  sharp Cheddar. To this day, my mom swears she only likes eggs in two forms (weird, I know):  hard-boiled and Dad’s omelets.

As I sat down to watch the Good Eats omelet episode, I realized that I had never before made an omelet. While I have cooked eggs pretty much every other way, somehow I had never before attempted the omelet. It was time to give it a go.

Alton’s omelet recipe begins with heating three eggs in hot water for five minutes; omelets are more tender when they are cooked quickly, and beginning with warm eggs helps this process.

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Three eggs, warming in hot water for 5 minutes.

Crack your warmed eggs into a bowl or large mug, beating them with a fork (Alton says a whisk will add unwanted air). Add 2-3 pinches of salt (not Kosher) and beat some more.

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Three warmed eggs, cracked into a mug. Ready to beaten, along with some salt.

Place a 9-inch nonstick pan over medium-high heat. If you have an infrared thermometer, you will want to heat your pan to 325 degrees. If you do not have an infrared thermometer, heat your pan until butter foams briskly in the pan.

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Non-stick skillet, heated to 325 degrees.

Once your pan is hot, lube the pan with butter, distributing it evenly with a pastry brush.

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Heated pan, lubed with butter.

Pour the eggs into the center of the pan and stir them vigorously with a rubber spatula for five seconds.

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Eggs poured into pan and stirred.

When a mass of curds begins to form, lift and swirl the pan, allowing uncooked egg to flow beneath the omelet edges (Alton calls this the “swirl and sweep” step). Using your spatula, go around the edges of the omelet, loosening them from the pan and forming a nice, round shape. This is when Alton tells you to walk away for a solid 10 seconds, letting the omelet just cook on the burner, but if your eggs are sputtering, turn the heat to medium-low.

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Omelet after “swirl and sweep.”

When your omelet is cooked to your desire (it should still be somewhat wet/soft on the top), jiggle the pan to ensure that the omelet is not sticking. Now it is time to fold the omelet. Lifting up the far edge of the pan, snap the pan back toward you, so the omelet slides toward you. Then, use your spatula to fold 1/3 of the omelet over the center from the side nearest you.

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1/3 of omelet folded over center.

Finally, change your grip on the pan handle to underhand and slide the omelet onto a buttered plate, letting it flip over itself as it rolls onto the plate. I will be honest that the whole flipping process did not go as easily for me as it did for Alton, but I made it work with a lot of help from my spatula. Add some more butter to your omelet, sprinkle it with some chives, and enjoy!

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Omelet, flipped onto buttered plate. Chives sprinkled on top for a garnish.

This was a good, but very simple omelet. It was light, fluffy, and tender on the inside. Alton’s method made it very easy for me to cook a decent omelet, so this was a great way to learn. I do, however, like to have some extra pizzazz in my omelets, so next time I will add some fillings.IMG_4259

Omelet for a Crowd

When I saw the title for this recipe, I was envisioning a giant omelet. Instead, this is Alton’s method of prepping enough eggs to make several omelets in rapid succession. Oddly, in this recipe, Alton did not warm the eggs as he did for the previous recipe. For this recipe, you will want to allot 5 eggs plus 1 ounce of water for every two people. Place the eggs and water in a blender, adding a heavy pinch of Kosher salt and some fresh herbs, such as basil, dill, parsley, tarragon, or chives (I used basil and parsley). Blend everything together until smooth.

Meanwhile, heat a 9-inch non-stick pan to 325 degrees (or until butter foams) over medium-high heat. Once hot, lube the pan thoroughly with butter. Using a 4.5 ounce ladle, place one ladle of eggs in the center of the pan and stir briskly for five seconds with a spatula.

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One 4.5-ounce ladle per omelet into a hot, buttered pan.

Next, lift and swirl the pan, letting any loose egg run under the omelet to cook. Let the omelet cook until it is still soft in the center, but set on the bottom, and add any desired fillings (I used Greek olives, spinach, grape tomatoes, and cheese) over the 2/3 of the omelet furthest from you.

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Fillings added to 2/3 of omelet.

Lifting the pan to slide the omelet toward you, use a spatula to flip the 1/3 of the omelet nearest you over the center of the omelet. Change your grip on the pan handle from overhand to underhand, and flip the omelet onto a plate, letting it fold over itself.

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Omelet, flipped onto a plate.

My omelet was definitely not picture perfect, but it tasted good!IMG_4298 The method of cooking the omelets in this recipe is the same as for the single omelet above, though this omelet was “dressed up” a little more. I liked the additional flavor of the herbs in the eggs, along with the variety of fillings. This would be a fun/easy way to make customized omelets for a group. If you follow Alton’s method, it is very easy to produce tender, fluffy omelets.

Frittata

Alton’s frittata is last in this episode, and is also the easiest of the three, as there is no fancy flipping involved. For this one, heat your broiler to high and place a 12-inch non-stick skillet on a burner to heat. Once warm, lube the pan with butter and add 1/2 C roasted asparagus and 1/2 C chopped ham. You can use any ingredients you want here, but asparagus and ham were what Alton used. I added some pickled peppers also.

Regardless of what you choose to use, you want to have a single layer of filling. While your fillings heat, mix 1 ounce of Parmesan with 6 eggs and 1 t pepper.

Pour the egg mixture over the fillings, letting it flow between them.

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Beaten egg mixture poured over fillings.

Once the egg starts to firm on top, add some chopped parsley.

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Parsley added once frittata began to set.

Place the frittata under the broiler for 2-4 minutes, or until golden and set; my frittata took only two minutes.

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Frittata after cooking under the broiler for 2 minutes.

Slide the frittata onto a cutting board, cut it into wedges with a pizza cutter, and serve with some sour cream.

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Frittata, sliced with a pizza cutter and served with sour cream.

I had made a frittata previously, and this one was very good. The frittata was golden brown on the top, while light and tender in the middle. This would make a super easy weeknight dinner or a great breakfast, and you could customize it to your heart’s desire.

Comments
  1. truthspew says:

    Ah I’m good with eggs in any form. Scrambled, Omelet, Fried, easy over, hard boiled, soft boiled, poached etc.

  2. truthspew says:

    I’m an omelete pro. I can get an omelet with no browning at all. Low heat all the way. That said, I’m doing some tomorrow stuffed with sauteed leeks, thyme and Gruyere cheese. This is because I have left overs from making Quiche Lorraine recently.

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