How to make an omelet, not a mess

In theory, making an omelet is not a difficult task. Throw some eggs in a pan, flip, presto. Then again, in theory, the concept of gravity seems pretty simple, too.

Despite their presence on breakfast, lunch and dinner tables everywhere – not to mention being made rapid fire like at the end of every overpriced Sunday brunch line – the perfect omelet can be an elusive entree for the novice cook.

Though the ingredients are simple and ubiquitous – eggs, milk and fillings such as cheese – the dish itself too often turns into scrambled eggs when the attempt at flipping or even getting the thing not to stick to the pan go haywire. Yes, the perfect omelet, folded over on itself and cooked to creamy perfection, can present a challenging endeavor.

Many omelet newbies make their first mistake before they even begin. The problem? Using eggs straight from the fridge. When cold eggs meet a hot pan, that’s a recipe for disaster because the eggs will be prone to stick, not slide.

The second major faux pas is using a pan that isn’t lubricated or hot enough. Omelets should only take about 2-3 minutes to make, and to do it in that time, you need to make sure your pan has preheated on the stove.

As for pans, this is where nonstick is a major help, especially for those new to making omelets. Size also matters: For a two- to three-egg omelet you’ll want a 10-inch nonstick pan with sloped sides for easier flipping.

Do omelets still sound eggs-cruciating? If you’ll pardon my bad pun, I’ll show you how to make the perfect cheese omelet that will be a quick, nutritious meal any time of the day or night. Let’s get crackin’!

Easy Cheesy Omelet

(Serves 1)

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2-3 Grade AA eggs
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 ounce milk (whole works best)
  • 2 slices American cheese or your favorite
  • Garnish: Sprinkle of dried oregano
  • Music for while you cook: I’m currently crazy for the soundtrack to Crazy Heart. You HAVE to hear it.

Step 1 : Grab the eggs from the fridge at least 10 minutes before you plan to make the omelet so they won’t be as cold. Or, drop them in warm water for a few minutes. By the way, when it comes to egg quality, Grade AA is considered the best, with Grade A being lower.

Step 2: Crack the eggs into a bowl, add the milk, pinch of salt and pepper, and mix it all together with a whisk or folk. And how much is a “pinch,” you ask? It’s literally the amount you’d get between your thumb and forefinger.

Step 3: Heat your pan for about a minute on medium-high heat, add the butter, and swirl it around the pan to coat. When the butter starts to bubble, pour in the egg mixture, keeping the heat at medium-high.

Step 4: After about a minute, the bottom of the eggs will start to set. With a spatula, carefully lift an edge of the omelet and tilt the pan so some of the runny top goes in its place. Do this until the top is almost no longer runny.

Step 5: Here it is, time for the flip. Take a deep breath, tilt the pan so omelet slides over part of the edge, and, using a spatula to catch it, flip the egg over on itself. Don’t worry if it doesn’t fold directly in half; you can always fold the other side the same way, creating a trifold, which looks pretty anyway. Place the cheese on top (this will be easier for now until you feel confident enough to stuff in the middle), cook the egg for a few more seconds, and then serve, garnished with the dried oregano on top or some salsa for a kick.

And that, my friends, is how you make an omelet without flipping out. Eventually, when you’re feeling confident, you can try to flip the omelet directly in the pan. To do that, rapidly move the pan forward and then up and back, which will essentially allow the egg to use the pan as a ramp (kind of like a half-pipe in skating) to jump and then fold back over on itself.

Did you try this recipe? Write about your experience, ask questions or share advice in the comments area below.

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  1. I Want To Cook » How to make an omelet, not a mess | cooktoday said,

    April 29, 2010 @ 2:24 am

    [...] Music for while you cook : I’m currently crazy for the … View original here:  I Want To Cook » How to make an omelet, not a mess Share and [...]

  2. Ratna said,

    October 26, 2010 @ 10:46 pm

    terrific pics and a perfect explanation – am crazy about this omelette- am going rite away to a make an omlette

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