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Friday, March 4, 2011

The Art of the Perfect Omelet

Since I've been following a slow carb diet, an omelet of one kind or another has quickly become a breakfast staple.  The eggs serve up the high protein you want, and no matter what goes into the omelet (slow carb ingredients only, of course!), it always leaves me feeling full and satisfied well into the morning and up to lunch.  However, for a lot of people, cooking an omelet is a very intimidating prospect.  They think that it is difficult to do, takes too much time, or there is some special technique needed that they just don't know about.  In this post, I want to put any fears to rest and clear up any confusion about cooking this delicious meal.

Let's start at the very beginning: just what IS an omelet?  It is a dish which is typically served for breakfast, composed of beaten eggs or egg whites that are quickly cooked and then folded around various fillings.  There is no rule about what may go into the filling, and popular choices include all kinds of cheeses, vegetables, or meats.

Now, most people know what an omelet is, but it's when it comes to cooking it that they get lost and nervous.  There really isn't any reason for this uncertainty.  They're easy to make, and even if one doesn't turn out beautifully, it will still taste wonderful.  So then, here are the steps to make a perfect omelet.

  1. First off, you need the proper tools, or in our case, a proper frying pan.  Make sure that it's a non-stick pan, or a well-seasoned cast iron skillet, or you will have nothing but nightmares at the end.  The size of your pan will essentially determine the size of the omelet; a good pan size is 8 or 10 inches in diameter.  Of course, you can use bigger or smaller, but in those cases pay attention to how many eggs you are using.  You don't want to make a 3 egg omelet in a 6 inch pan, because it will be thick and in all likelihood will burn before it cooks throughout.  Conversely, a bigger pan will spread your eggs too thin and may make it difficult to remove when it's done.  As well as a good pan, you will also need a heat-proof spatula so that you can mix the eggs while in the pan and then remove the omelet when it's done.
  2. Now that you have your pan, you need to get it hot.  I always heat it up to a medium-high heat (this may just be because of my stove, but I find putting the heat to high always seems to wreck my non-stick pans).  You can also spray the pan with cooking spray, brush a bit of olive oil, or melt a bit of butter, but this is essentially a personal preference.  You may not need anything if your pan is really good!
  3. Before you get to the eggs, you want to prepare your filling.  Grate your cheese, or cut up your vegetables, or even cook up some cubes of meat or veggies.  The point is that you want your filling to be ready as soon as the eggs start cooking... and the eggs will cook quickly!
  4. While the pan is heating, prepare your eggs.  In a separate bowl, crack open two or three eggs and beat them well.  Alternatively, you could use just eggs whites, or a combination of whole egg and egg whites (this is what I usually do!).  Other sites may suggest that you cook individual omelets, as opposed to making a bigger omelet with more eggs.  This supposedly makes it easier to cook, though personally, I always cook my omelet big enough to split in two.  At this point, you may also add some spices of your choice to the egg mixture.  I enjoy salt and pepper, and also a sprinkle of cumin and oregano.  Basil and thyme also work well. Mixing it at this point will ensure the flavor permeates through the entire dish, though you could just as easily sprinkle spices on to the eggs as they cook.
  5. Here is a KEY TRICK that will make your omelets amazing!  To your beaten eggs, add a splash of water and gently mix it in.  The purpose of this water is that when the water molecules get hot enough, they will boil off and make small air pockets of steam, which in turn will help to cook the eggs from the inside of the omelet and give it that light and fluffy appearance.  Remember this trick, and your omelets will always look spectacular!
  6. When your eggs are mixed and the pan is hot, dump the eggs in.  Using your heat-proof spatula, immediately start pushing the eggs around.  As you move cooked parts around, uncooked egg will seep into the spaces and then they will cook.  This saves a bit of time, and also prevents any parts from burning while you wait for the uncooked parts to cook.
  7. Once your eggs are mostly cooked (that is, they look like runny scrambled eggs), you can add your fillings and/or spices to the top.  You can do this in one of two ways depending on how you plan on folding: either spread the toppings across half of the omelet (for a fold in half), or gather it more in the middle (if you plan on a fancy tri-fold).  I guess a half-fold could also be done if you spread your toppings evenly on the whole thing, too.
  8. Once the toppings are on, you can make your fold(s).  Pry the edges of the omelet off of the pan with your heat-proof spatula.  Then, using your spatula still, you can lift one side and fold over top of the other.  Similarly for a tri-fold, fold one 'wing' over your fillings, and then fold the other 'wing' on to the first one.  Then, you should be able to just slide your folded omelet out of the pan and on to a plate!  If you're feeling adventurous, you can just loosen the edges and start to slide the omelet out without flipping, and when it has slid halfway out, flip the second half over the top... though I'd be lying if I said I had never made a mess trying this method.  :)
  9. The last step, and the most important, is to go and eat your creation!
Hopefully these steps will allow you to make the perfect omelet!  There are several different fillings that you could choose to put in your omelet, but I will leave that decision to you.  For some ideas, I have posted several omelet recipes that are perfect for a slow-carb diet... try my turkey avocado omelet, or black bean and vegetable omelet!  Good luck and happy cooking!

1 comment:

  1. I'm not a good cook but I can do omelet. With this recipe, I can at least make a good one. So when I cook omelet, it wouldn't look like any ordinary one. It would at least look delicious and amazing. Thanks for this recipe!

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