The Perfect Omelette: Demystified

They say the true test of any chef is how well they can make eggs. Eggs! Something that seems so common and easy… but the simplest dishes need to be executed perfectly in order to really stand out. Eggs are great because in a lot of ways they are a blank canvas with almost limitless possibilities. I have always been fairly competent in my egg preparations (my dad makes the best eggs), but there was one dish that was a little too daunting: the omelette. About a year ago I learned some tricks that changed my world… and now I want to share them with you!

Omelettes can be as simple or as complex as you can imagine. They can be loaded with meats, veggies, or cheeses. They can have nothing in them but fresh herbs. They can stick to the pan and tear and make you want to cry…. or should we say they USED to do that! Over the past year, two things have happened that have helped to up my omelette game: I went to a wedding at a summer camp and I took classes in an online cooking school.

The wedding at a summer camp meant that we all slept in cabins. It also meant that there were breakfasts served every morning. The omelette station was great because I learned the first secret to the perfect omelette: the wrinkle method. My online cooking school had a course all about eggs and I learned the next 3 secrets: preheated pan, low heat, and a touch of butter. My last secrets are ones I learned on my own or were passed down from my dad: cover the pan (mine) and add milk (dad’s). You may be confused about some or all of these secrets, so let’s get to cooking!

Here’s what you’ll need for 1 omelette: (if you want to make 2, just do them separately… and trust me when your family smells and tastes this, they will want their own):

  • 1 egg + 3 Tbsp liquid egg white (or 1 additional egg white)
  • 3 Tbsp skim milk
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp herbs de provence (or blend of rosemary, thyme, oregano)
  • 1 tsp cold butter
  • 1/3 cup shredded cheese (I used a mexican blend)
  • 1 handful fresh baby spinach, torn

Eggs also depend on having the right cooking tools, so you should also have an 8 inch non stick skillet, a pot cover that fits over it, and a flexible spatula. You could use a smaller skillet, but your omelette will end up being smaller and fluffier. This combination gets you a nice thin omelette.

Start by pre-heating the dry, empty pan over a low flame for about 3 minutes while you mix up the omelette base. When the pan is on low heat, you don’t have to worry about the chemicals that make it non stick coming off. To mix the omelette base, add egg, egg white, milk, garlic salt, and herbs de provence in a bowl and mix with a fork until even in color and frothy. michdish 268You can test that the pan is pre-heated by adding your cold butter to the pan. It should slowly melt within the next minute, while you spread it around the pan evenly using a spatula, rotating the pan, or your finger (don’t burn yourself!). michdish 269Once the butter is completely melted, add the omelette base to the pan, increase the heat to medium low and cover for about 2 minutes until 1 or 2 areas of the omelette puff up to form bubbles. michdish 271It’s really important not to touch the omelette at this point so that it can heat and release from the pan. Once the bubbles are formed, remove the cover and now it’s time for the wrinkle method. This is a bit hard to describe so I asked my husband to take photos that can hopefully demonstrate the method. michdish 273Basically what you want to do is push one edge of the omelette in towards the center with the spatula and tilt the pan in the same direction so that the uncooked egg can fill in the space in the pan that you’ve created. Do this in 3-4 spots along the edges until there is no more liquid running along the top of the omelette.michdish 274 This method serves 2 purposes: it created wrinkles in the omelette that can stretch when it comes time to fold the omelette so it doesn’t tear. It also helps make sure that the center of your omelette is cooked and that the outside isn’t burnt.

Now it’s time to add the fillings. Sprinkle cheese along one half (for a half moon omelette) or down the center (for a straight omelette) and add spinach on top. michdish 275Fold omelette carefully with your spatula, basking in the glory that is the wrinkle method and then turn out on to your plate.michdish 279 Voila! You have now created the perfect omelette. This omelette is light and fluffy. It’s not over-stuffed. The simple combination of cheese and spinach, the richness of the butter, the complex flavors of the herbs de provence running throughout will make you feel like you’re at a fancy bed and breakfast in Europe enjoying the simple pleasures. Treat yourself (and your family who will be drawn in by the amazing smell) to this omelette today!michdish 280