“To be easily right, rather than easily wrong, acquaint yourself with the character of the omelet and learn the simple attentions it requires. Delicious omelets will always be only moments away.”
-Anna Thomas, The Vegetarian Epicure
I was going to call this post How to Make the Perfect Omelet but then I thought what makes an omelet perfect is a matter of personal preference. And frankly, I don’t feel like debating with everyone, I just went to get on with my day.
But I do have to say this – having a few rules and regs about omelet making are necessary in order to be able to replicate the results time after time. And these little rules make it fairly easy to take an omelet from just OK to something special for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Once you know how, omelets are SO easy to make.
Plus eggs are a cheap date.
And eggs are back in style.
Oh thank GOD.
When my nephew was visiting us last summer in New Hampshire, he was interested in learning how I made a PDG Omelet, so that he, on the way to his sophomore year in college, could cook for himself and live to tell about it. I showed him the ropes and then for the holidays, I bought him the pans necessary to make an omelet and the accompanying sautéed greens to round out the meal.
Turning out an omelet is one of the fastest meals I know of. Other than takeout.
So, here are the rules which I follow for myself and enthusiastically suggest for you!
11 Things to Know About Creating a Darn Good Omelet:
1. Have all ingredients prepped and ready to go before you start. That also means read everything I wrote below. This should go without saying, but I know that even though I know this, I sometimes don’t follow my own advice as I’m on a tear to get the meal cranking along and it turns into a train wreck fairly fast. If you are making multiple omelets, I will even go as far as cracking the eggs, and lightly beating them in separate small bowls ahead of time, just to keep the assembly line moving.
2. Best to grate/shred the cheese yourself because the packaged shredded stuff has a most unappealing anti-stick edible powder in it, and when melted, at least I can taste/feel the mild powdery grittiness. Packaged shredded cheese has its place and its place is nachos. My favorite cheeses for omelets are mild to sharp cheddars, gruyere and Parmigiano Reggiano. I prefer to have the grated/shredded cheese at room temp so that when added to the omelet it doesn’t have that far to go in order to melt. Of course, you can do this the day before and then just take it out 30 minutes before omelet making.
3. Use excellent quality eggs. My preference is for local eggs from chickens that are pasture roaming creatures. Here are three good choices that I use regularly depending on my location: Maine: Sparrow Farm, Pittston (available at The Farm Stand and Lois’ Natural Marketplace), New Hampshire: Intervale Farm (available at The Local Grocer) and nationally: Vital Choice (available at Whole Foods Market).
4. Assuming you are not using your oven for anything else, gently warm heatproof plates at 175 degrees (or lowest oven temp) prior to serving. Even 10 minutes will take the chill off (obviously I live in New England). Or, if you have a warming drawer (lucky you), this is your big chance to use it. This allows the cheese to continue to melt when the omelet is transferred to the plate.
5. Heat pan on low heat first, then add butter. You can also brown the butter if you prefer like I did in the omelet below. Some peeps like that.
6. Use a small spatula like this one, which really makes a difference when moving the eggs around in order to set before folding. I just find a large spatula too clumsy in such a small pan. However, I do switch to a large spatula to fold the omelet over and get it out of the pan.
7. Omelets turn out best when they are made for one person. If you have everything ready, you can execute this omelet making thing very quickly and like a pro. Sometimes if I have multiple people to feed, I will have two pans going and I’m a short order cooking ninja. But most importantly…
8. Use a non-stick 8-inch heavy bottomed skillet with sloping sides so you can easily extract the omelet. The two skillets I have in my current rotation are from Le Creuset and Anolon . I prefer the Le Creuset skillet slightly more (and yes, it is much more expensive), but if you live in Maine/New Hampshire you are in luck because you can get it at the outlet in Kittery, ME at a discount (note: get on the outlet’s mailing list and they will occasionally send you a discount post card. This is how I managed to amass a huge collection of Le Creuset pots over the years). However, the Anolon skillet is a bargain for what you get.
9. Be really protective of this non-stick skillet. NO metal utensils. Overall, I don’t use non-stick pans except for two – a chef’s pan like this one
and the omelet skillets. Wash them by hand and you will have them for years.
10. Good filling choices – sautéed mushrooms and onions, sausage of meat or vegan persuasions, finely diced peppers, grated or shredded cheese at room temperature. Or anything you want! Like my husband did back in the day when we just started dating. He invited me over for dinner and made me an omelet with sausage and strawberry jam. It was weird but it worked (obviously, because I am now married to him 35 years later).
11. I’m not a fan of adding sautéed greens to an omelet, as it makes the omelet watery and runny. So unappealing. I much prefer to steam/sauté/roast something green and serve it on the side.
Brown Butter Cheese Omelet with Steamed & Sautéed Shredded Kale
So that’s it. If you are in college, learn how to do this now and you will save yourself a lot of dough by dining in. If you’re past college age, learn it and you will save yourself a lot of dough by dining in, too! Really, omelets for anyone at any age and any meal.
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 large or extra-large eggs, beaten and if desired, mixed with 1 tablespoon of water
- ¼ cup (or a bit more, if desired) shredded cheese, at room temperature
- Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Heat an 8-inch non-stick skillet over low heat, until warm. Increase heat to medium, add butter, and swirl it to cover bottom of pan. When the butter is bubbling, add egg mixture.
- Using a small spatula, immediately begin to pull the thickened eggs toward the center of the pan, eventually lifting the edges, and allowing the liquidy egg mixture to fill in the open space while keeping the shape of the omelet round. Continue to do this, creating an even layer, until the eggs are almost set but still moist on top.
- Sprinkle shredded cheese in an even layer over eggs. Using a large spatula, fold ⅓ of omelet over itself, and with the skillet handle in front of you (in the 6 o’clock position) shift omelet if necessary so that the folded edges are in a 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock position, then lift pan and tilt it to just touch the heated plate and shimmy open omelet edge off slightly—then, carefully lift skillet almost upside down but not quite to fold omelet over itself. Let omelet rest for a minute or two to completely melt cheese before serving. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste.