Eggs are a big deal at my house. We have always had a flock of spoiled chickens in the backyard, so there is a never-ending supply of fresh eggs.
Most mornings my family has eggs for breakfast. Omelettes are a favorite. I have been making them forever. Sometimes, when I made over-stuffed folded omelettes, I would have a horrible time getting them to fold in half or thirds. They would fall apart, burn, get dry or the fillings would fall all over hell’s creation.
Then one day the mediocre folded-omelette clouds parted and the light of simplicity showered down upon me: the omelette epiphany! There on YouTube was the answer and the end to all my dry, lackluster egg creations. Naturally, Julia was the angel of culinary mercy who spared me a lifetime of dry, overcooked eggs. She revealed her technique for l’omelette roulée to my humble eyes in this video:
The key is simplicity! Keep it simple and forgo the heavy fillings that take so much time to add that the eggs overcook. If you want the multi-combos of fillings and sauces, just serve them on top or to the side of the omelette. Add a minimum of herbs, spices, or cheese to the eggs, so the whole cooking time will be no more than a minute.
Madame E. Saint-Ange describes the perfectly cooked omelette as:
“a creamy omelet: an omelet that has the consistency of scrambled eggs inside and an exterior that is just solid enough so that it can be rolled on itself.” (La Bonne Cuisine)
Julia says, an omelette “should be soft and tender inside, enclosed by a cloak of lightly coagulated egg.” (We, Americans, tend to be overly concerned about undercooked eggs and so fearful of the 1 in 20,000 eggs that may contain salmonella that we deny ourselves so many delicious foods and condemn ourselves to eating dried, overly cooked eggs.)
So keep the ingredients to a minimum. Each omelette should be prepared individually and contain two to three eggs. To the eggs, you may add salt, pepper, a few herbs or spices, thinly sliced or grated cheese and a teaspoon of water, if you like. The water forms steam as it hits the hot pan and contributes to the tenderness and lightness of the eggs. I usually do not add the water. My current favorite egg addition is Aleppo pepper from Griffon Ridge’s stand at the local winter market. These beautiful red flakes add just a hint of faint heat.
The final ingredient is butter. Add about a tablespoon of butter into a hot pan and swirl it around to coat the entire pan. As Julia says in the video, “If you don’t have a hot enough pan, you ain’t got it.” Wait for the foaming of the butter to subside and just before the butter begins to brown, quickly add the beaten eggs. Swirl again to distribute the eggs, and then pause for a few seconds before you begin the jerking.
It’s all in the motion: continuously jerking the pan towards you until the eggs begin folding over themselves on the far side of the pan. Julia says:
“The perfect way to master the movement is to practice outdoors with half a cupful of dried beans. As soon as you are able to make them flip over themselves in a group, you have the right feeling; but the actual omelette-making gesture is sharper and rougher…You must have the courage to be rough.”
The last few jerks should include a lifting of the handle to tilt the eggs further onto themselves at the far side of the pan.
I am big fan of the half moon omelette and have made a video clip demonstrating the flipping motion necessary to get that shape. No matter how the eggs come together, be confident that they will be delicious!
Here is my video of the Omelette Epiphany. Please let me know what you think of the format and any other suggestions.