Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Omelet question

I don't like eggs. I never have, and I probably never will. Until recently, even the smell of scrambled eggs or omelets cooking was enough to make me lose my appetite (and almost more). So when I was starting to get into cooking, I never bothered to learn how to make eggs: scrambled, poached, sunny-side-up, omelets, I wouldn't touch them with a ten-foot pole. But this weekend the Suitor was recovering from laser eye surgery, and I wanted to make him breakfast. His favorite breakfast fare: omelets.

So I did plenty of reading, watched the Good Eats episode on omelets, took plenty of notes, and felt more or less ready. Couldn't be that hard, right? And in truth, making an omelet isn't hard. I warmed the eggs in hot water for five minutes to allow them to cook faster, I added a bit of milk to the beaten egg to make it fluffier, I made sure all the fillings were cooked and at room temperature (or heated), and I didn't have any trouble finding the balance between not browning the outside too much and allowing the inside to cook enough. And when all was said and done, the Suitor proclaimed my omelet very tasty and well cooked.

My problem is in presentation. Now, maybe this will just take practice, but the whole folding-in-thirds thing? Yeah, didn't work out so well, mostly because the egg tore. I made two omelets for him, one Sunday and one Monday, and both of them tore. The second one tore less catastrophically, but it still tore. Does anyone out there have experience making omelets and/or have any advice on how I can avoid future tears? I assume that, like "ride more," "make more omelets" is a large part of the answer, but if there's anything I'm doing wrong, I'd love to fix it.


Brave Sir Robin said...
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Brave Sir Robin said...

That’s really funny that you don’t like eggs. Did you read the Julie-Julia project? She, (Julie) had never eaten an egg in her life before she started the project.

Ok, I assume you’re using a non-stick pan? Essential for eggs.

If you don’t have a copy of Julia Child’s The Way To Cook (and you really should), go to Barnes and Noble and read the part on omelets. She doesn’t fold it over, it is more of a bang, slide, flip and roll technique.

I realize that doesn’t tell you anything, but there are great pictures along with it. It doesn’t come out in a semi-circle like a Denny’s omelet, but in an elegant rolled shape, like a crepe, or as Julia would say, “In the French manner.” Love that Woman!!

Glad to see you posting again.

Anne said...

I'm not using nonstick. The only nonstick piece of cookware I have is my cast iron grill pan. I don't have anything that involves Teflon, not because I have something against Teflon, but because I have something against the idea that sauteing my chicken in a bit of olive oil is so superior to cooking without fat on a nonstick surface.

Anyway, would a regular (unridged) cast iron pan do the trick? Or do I need to go the Teflon route? I'm hesitant to buy a piece of cookware that I would only use to make the occasional omelet. I'd rather go with something like a cast iron pan, which I would use for all sorts of other things as well (e.g. cornbread, tarte Tatin, etc), and which I've had my eye on anyway. Besides, I was hoping that my next All Clad purchase would be one of these. :)

I don't have The Way To Cook. But! before you pronounce me a bad foodie, I present in my defense Exhibit A, Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Volume I) in which she discusses omelets rather extensively. Indeed, there she does use a method involving banging, although that's for the scrambled omelet and not the rolled omelet.

Anne said...

To clarify, "I'm not using nonstick" was meant as "I have not been using nonstick," not "I shall not use nonstick!"


Brave Sir Robin said...

The non-stick is really the way to go for eggs. I promise, you will find other uses for it. I never use mine for anything that will be browned, but it is handy for a few things.

For an omelet, it wouldn't have to be very big, and as you won't be using it all that often, I wouldn't spend the money for an All Clad unless you simply must have everything match.

Something like this would do nicely.

You really, really do want non-stick for eggs. I cook a lot of eggs. We don't do many omelets, but we do lots of breakfast tacos.

Julia gives a little discussion of omelet pans in The Way To Cook

Anne said...

So, I guess that's a no on cast iron?

The Suitor has a couple of older nonstick pans packed away in the garage, actually (he does exactly none of the cooking, so my cookware took over the kitchen cabinet space). They're not in great shape, but maybe I'll take a look at them and use one for the next omelet I make.

Brave Sir Robin said...

I have a very well seasoned (almost 20 years old) cast iron and I might fry an egg in it, but there are a couple of issues with eggs and cast iron for me.

#1 Clean up - If it sticks, it is a bitch to clean the pan without screwing up your years of seasoning.

#2 Egg smell - It has been my experience that the cast iron and egg combine to make a funk that you will want to clean out and then see #1 above.

Also - my cast iron has high straight sides which are not good for flipping sliding etc.....

Try one of his non-sticks and see how you like it. If the surface is rough and/or torn throw it away.