Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Perfect Omelet

Oh, how life gets in the way and effectively prevents one from sitting at her computer and turning out an entry. I'm back, whomever you are, taking time to read this blog!

In recent years there have been a lot of discussions surrounding the omelet...writers behind television shows, magazines, and online media have taken very humble ingredients and elevated it into an overly complicated, however delicious, piece of art. 

I'm not here to wax poetic about the magic behind an egg, some spices, and a lob of butter, but I will tell you how I've achieved omelet greatness without the threat of carpal tunnel. I love omelets and eat them constantly, knowing that they are A) relatively healthy and B) take very little time to cook. After a long day at the office, the comfort of a hot, savory meal drives me to pull out my omelet pan time and time again, and I'm never disappointed. Here are my tried-and-true instructions for an unadulterated cheese omelet.

I start with two eggs and two bowls. I immediately diverge from the gourmet track by fully admitting that I am using run-of-the-mill, non-organic, non-cage-free or just-harvested-from-my-own-coop-this-morning eggs. Let's be honest here...I certainly understand the flavor benefits of a gorgeous fresh egg, but how often do we have immediate access to them? I also put my little non-stick skillet on the burner and turn the heat on low-medium.

I separate the two eggs: the yolks into a little dessert dish or cereal bowl or whatever is handy, and the whites into my Mauviel copper bowl. (Writer's Interjection: Alright, I understand that copper bowls are a somewhat rarity in a typical kitchen, or at best have a place of unused honor on a wall or shelf. But to reference a past blog, I must say that one should never own anything that is too good to use, and that includes the beautiful copper pieces adorning a pot rack or hanging on a wall!)  Honestly, any metal bowl will do. I whisk the egg whites until fluffy and near soft-peak stage, (the benefit of copper is in this step--the copper ions adhere to the egg and the white stiffens much faster than using a metal bowl.) which normally takes 3-4 minutes. I give the yolks a quick stir, and pour them into the whites. 

 Gently fold the yolks with a rubber spatula until fully incorporated, and add any spices you'd like. I personally stick with a pinch of salt, a few grinds of black pepper, and about half a teaspoon of dried thyme.The pan will be nice and hot by now, so drop a healthy tablespoon of butter into the pan and let it sizzle to a fragrant, slightly nutty, and golden brown state. Pour the eggs into the pan, and pull the rubber spatula through the egg several times.

I let the egg cook for about a minute, and then flip it with the rubber spatula. There is an ongoing discussion regarding this step; some say that an omelet has no need to be flipped, while others flip the egg to ensure it is fully cooked. If you're afraid of flipping the omelet and the possibility of breaking it over the edge of your pan, don't do it. Just watch for the omelet to appear slightly dry, with tiny bubbles rippling the surface. 

The omelet will only take about 2 minutes to cook completely, and when finished  turn the burner off and sprinkle cheese over half of the omelet. Almost any cheese will work, based on your personal preferences. I love an extra sharp cheddar, or even soft mozzarella and a sprinkle of shredded parmesan. Use the rubber spatula to fold the other half over the cheese, and allow it to set and melt for a minute. Slide the omelet onto a plate, and voila! just about the best omelet you could ever have on this side of the Atlantic. 


The end result is warm, cheesy, and thick yet light. A completely satisfying meal for any time of the day!