Omelets can be deliciously decadent or simply satisfying, and they are also cheap and nutritious — one of my favorite combinations in food. No empty calories in these babies!
While there are few things as tasty or satisfying as a really good omelet, there are also few things as dissatisfying as a too-brown, tough, and rubbery omelet. I have yet to find a really good How-To for omelets, so this is my attempt to provide one. I'm going to describe my own method, which I arrived at only after years of trial-and-error and results that varied wildly. Now, I am aware that my methods differ from "traditional" methods and you may have very different views on this subject. If you're convinced that the "right" way to make an omelet differs from mine, then you don't need my little tutorial... but I have had far too many people tell me over the years how they "love eating omelets in restaurants, but just can't make one at home that is any good" not to make this effort.
The most important thing you will need is a good quality, ten-inch nonstick pan. Everyone should have one of these, and they should always be replaced at the very first sign of wear or flaking.
You will need some oil and eggs, most likely some cheese, and whatever else you'd like to throw in your omelet. This is a wonderful way to use up whatever leftovers you have on hand, or to create a meal from almost nothing.
The most important thing I can tell you about making a good omelet is this: Haste does make waste! It is crucial to not get the pan too hot. Don't be in a hurry. Even taking your time, you can cook an omelet in less than 15 minutes. Never turn the heat to above the medium setting, even when doing the initial heating of the pan. Depending on your stove, you may not want to turn the burner setting above medium-low at any point in this process.
First, allow the pan to heat up for about 3 or 4 minutes over medium heat with nothing in it.
While the pan is heating, beat three eggs very well and chop your pre-cooked fillings, grate the cheese, etc... I like to use a blender to whip the eggs. Do not add any additional liquid to the eggs whatsoever.
Doing so simply increases the likelihood that you will tear your omelet.
Pour 1-2 tablespoons of a good olive oil into the preheated pan, followed immediately by the well-beaten eggs. Sprinkle the eggs with salt and pepper to taste.
This next instruction may be the hardest one for most people: Don't do another thing for several minutes! Just let the eggs start to set up without messing with them in any way. When the eggs have begun to set up well, which you will be able to see because the sides will start to shrink away from the pan, lower the heat a little more, to medium-low.
Once you can take the spatula and tease up the sides of the omelet and you can see that it is holding together fairly well on the bottom (which should not be browned at all at this point) then you may hold the spatula at a 90 degree angle to the pan (handle pointing at the ceiling) and gently lift and push the sides of the omelet towards the middle, picking the pan up and tilting it as you do so, allowing the more liquid eggs on the top to run underneath the already-set part. Don't do this too vigorously, because as long as the heat under the pan is not too high, you will be able to cook the eggs through without browning or burning them. This lift and tilt method just speeds the whole process up a little.
When the eggs are almost cooked through and there is very little liquid that can be seen on the top, stack the desired fillings all on one half of the pan. Slide your spatula under the empty side, and gently flip that over the filling, closing the omelet.
Allow the omelet to sit in the pan over the low heat and continue to cook for another two to three minutes, to complete cooking through and allow any cheese to melt. Do not use a lid to cover the omelet pan at any point. Doing so will steam the eggs and make them tough.
Use your imagination when it comes to satisfying combinations of fillings. One of my favorites when I feel like being self-indulgent is lump crabmeat, fresh chopped parsley or cilantro, thinly sliced very ripe avocado, crisp bacon, and cream cheese.
Now imagine smothering it with quick and easy blender hollandaise sauce... How about leftover taco meat, black olives, and shredded pepper jack, topped with sour cream and salsa or guacamole? When I have leftover steak in the house, I slice it and sauté it in a little oil and Worcestershire sauce with some onions and pepper strips and make myself a "Philly cheese steak" omelet. Omelets can also be delicious when their contents are as simple as some finely diced onion and a slice of whatever cheese you have around, including American. You could even add a little sweetener to your eggs, then fill an omelet with a mixture of cream cheese, cottage cheese, or ricotta, along with some chopped fresh fruit. Top this with some yogurt and/or a drizzle of sugar free syrup; perhaps even some chopped nuts, for a breakfast that is definitely out of the ordinary.
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