Sunday, June 6, 2010

A Perfect French Omelet - With Recipe!

I don't know about you, but I've always been lousy at making omelets. No matter how hard I tried, I always ended up with eggs scrambled with whatever filling I put in the pan. It's not pretty.

But no more! One night when I was watching America's Test Kitchen on PBS, they showed how to make a perfect french omelet. The recipe is straight from Julia Child, so it comes as no surprise that it's more about technique than anything else. Also, it contains more butter than you might expect. Please enjoy this recipe in moderation.

If you log onto America's Test Kitchen's website and try to access the recipes, they ask for all kinds of personal information, such as your email address, shoe size, and the name of your first dog. But fear not, gentle reader - your intrepid blogger was in front of the TV with the DVR remote in one hand and a pen in the other. Follow these instructions and you will be impressing one and all with your culinary expertise. Don't be put off by the number of steps. Once you get the pan hot, everything moves really fast. Make sure you prep all your ingredients and have them ready before you put the eggs in the pan.


3 eggs
1/2 tsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp butter
2-3 tbsp shredded cheese
1 tbsp chopped chives or scallions


1. Get out an 8-inch non-stick frying pan, add the 1/2 tsp. vegetable oil, and place over medium-low heat (or low; you want to slowly bring it to temperature over about 10 minutes). Find a lid that will cover the pan completely (it doesn't have to fit perfectly).

2. Cut half the butter in small pieces, place in a ramekin, and freeze for a minimum of 10 minutes. If you're like me and you keep extra butter in the freezer, cut 1/2 tablespoon off that, cut into small pieces and continue.

3. Chop chives or scallions and shred cheese. Place next to stove.

4. Beat eggs a minimum of 80 strokes. (Seriously. Julia means business.) Add salt and pepper to taste, and drop in the frozen butter.

4. When pan is ready, turn heat up to just below medium. Wipe most of the oil out of the pan with a paper towel, then place the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of cold (but not frozen) butter in the pan.

5. When the butter stops foaming, pour in the eggs. Using chopsticks or the handle of a wooden spoon, scramble eggs until almost set, about 45 seconds. Pat eggs flat with a spatula.

6. Take the pan off the heat, but leave the burner on. Sprinkle the cheese and chives or scallions quickly over the eggs, slap a lid on the pan and let it sit 1 minute 30 seconds if you like your eggs runny or 2 minutes if you prefer them more cooked. Set a timer. Wash your cutting board, bowl, and utensils while you wait.

7. Return the pan, with the cover, to the heat for 45 seconds (again, set a timer).

8. Roll cooked omelet onto a plate with a folded paper towel on it to help you to get that classic jelly roll. Once you do it a few times you won't need the paper towel because you will be rolling the omelet like a pro. If I can do it, anyone can.

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