A number of readers have asked me to offer basic cooking techniques — skills they could learn or improve on while staying close to home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I liked the idea, so today I’m showing you how to make a good omelette, a popular egg dish that some struggle to make. They’ll overcook it so it’s tough, undercook it or fail to beat the eggs well, so the omelette ends up with unappealing streaks of egg white.
Along with tips for making an omelette, I’ve included step-by-step photos (see top of page). Think of this quote from famed food writer Elizabeth David: “As everybody knows, there is only one infallible recipe for the perfect omelette: your own.”
A nine-inch (23-centimetre) or similar-sized non-stick skillet (fry pan) with sloped sides is a good vessel to use. There will be no worry about the omelette sticking, and the sloped sides make it easy to remove from the pan.
Beating the eggs
For each omelette, crack two or three large eggs into a bowl. With a fork, vigorously beat eggs back and forth, and up and down. There should be no strands of egg white or yolk visible.
Types of omelettes
Two popular styles of omelettes are the classic French-style one and what some call a “country-style” omelette. For the former, you quickly cook the eggs in a hot skillet, continually stirring them and shaking the pan in a continuous movement. You then carefully form the softly cooked eggs into sort of a torpedo shape right in the pan, before turning it onto a plate. Country-style omelettes are easier to make and the type most often made in Canada. That’s what I’ve provided step-by-step photos for.
Flavouring and filling an omelette
You can simply flavour the eggs with salt and pepper. I usually use white pepper because it does not discolour the eggs. Before cooking the eggs, you can enhance their flavour by mixing in such things as chopped herbs. When filling your omelette, don’t overdo it or use chunky ingredients or it will be difficult to fold.
Omelette filling ideas
Below are six ways you can fill an omelette. I have not provided ingredient amounts — simply add them to taste.
Vancouver Island-style: Chopped smoked salmon, wilted kale and crumbled Salt Spring Island goat cheese.
Canadian-style: Thinly sliced, chopped Canadian or peameal bacon, grated aged Canadian cheddar, fried onions and chopped parsley.
California-style: Thinly sliced, ripe avocado, tomato salsa and grated Monterey Jack cheese.
Cordon bleu-style: Grated Swiss cheese and thin slices of ham.
Italian-style: Cooked pieces of Italian sausage, grated asiago or provolone cheese, roasted peppers and small spoons of pesto.
What’s in your fridge: Fill the omelette with items you have in your fridge that you think will work well.
Eric Akis is the author of eight cookbooks. His columns appear in the Life section Wednesday and Sunday.