Classic French Omelette
An omelette is the ultimate fast food but many bizarre creations are served in its name. In reality a simple French omelette takes 30 seconds to make or 45 seconds if you’re adding a filling. At the Cookery School, students never believe me when I tell them this and when I demonstrate they are there with their watches ready to catch me out! In no time they are turning out tender golden 30-second omelettes themselves. The whole secret is to have the pan hot enough and to use clarified butter if at all possible. Ordinary butter will burn if your pan is as hot as it ought to be. It’s also important to use the right size pan, otherwise the omelette will be too thick or thin and consequently overcooked or undercooked, so use the pan size specified below for a two-egg omelette. Your first omelette may not be a joy to behold but persevere – practise makes perfect!.
VCD (depends on filling used)
filling of your choice (optional)
2 organic eggs
2 teaspoons milk or water
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons Clarified Butter (see recipe) or olive oil
omelette pan, preferably non-stick, 23cm (9 inch) in diameter
Warm a plate in the oven.
Meanwhile, heat the omelette pan over a high heat. If using, have your chosen filling ready beside you, along with a spoon.
Whisk the eggs with the milk or water in a bowl, until thoroughly mixed but not too fluffy. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Put the warm plate beside the cooker/hob because you won’t have time to go looking for it while the omelette is cooking.
Add the clarified butter or oil to the pan. As soon as it sizzles, pour in the egg mixture. It will start to cook immediately so quickly pull the edges of the omelette towards the centre with a metal or plastic spatula, tilting the pan backwards and forwards then up and down for another few seconds so that the uncooked egg runs to the sides. Continue right around until most of the egg is set and will not run any more. The centre should still be soft and moist – don’t worry, it will be perfectly set by the time it gets to the table. If you are using a filling, spoon the hot mixture in a line across the centre of the omelette, perpendicular to the pan handle.
To fold the omelette: flip the omelette edge nearest the handle of the pan over the filling, towards the centre. Then change your grip of the handle so you are holding it from underneath, this will make it more comfortable for you to hold the pan almost upright so the omelette can roll towards the bottom of the pan. Half-roll and half-slide the omelette onto the plate so that it lands folded into three. Serve immediately.
Omelette Fines Herbes
Add 1 teaspoon each of freshly chopped, parsley, chives, chervil and tarragon to the eggs just before cooking – divine!
Good things to serve with an omelette:
• Wild Mushroom à la Creme (see recipe)
• Cooked lamb’s kidneys and chopped parsley
• Smoked mackerel or smoked salmon and chives
• Peperonata or Tomato Fondue (see recipe)
• A little crispy chorizo and flat parsley
French Omelette with Smoked Salmon and Chives
good smoked eel or smoked mackerel is also delicious here
Omelette as above
1-1 1/2oz (25-35g) smoked salmon, finely diced
1 teaspoon chopped chives
Make the omelette in the usual way, spoon the diced smoked salmon and chives across the centre before rolling up.
Melt 8oz (225g/2 sticks) butter gently in a saucepan or in a Pyrex measure in a low oven 150°C / 300°F / Gas Mark 2. Allow it to stand for a few minutes, then spoon the crusty white layer of salt particles off the top of the melted butter. Underneath this crust there is clear liquid butter which is called clarified butter. The milky liquid at the bottom can be discarded or used in a white sauce.
Clarified butter is excellent for cooking because it can withstand a higher temperature when the salt and milk particles are removed. It will keep covered in a refrigerator for several weeks.