29 December 2009

How to make an omelet

From Les Recettes d’une grand’mère et ses conseils (1978; Livre de Poche 1988) — A Grandmother's Recipes and Counsel —by Renée de Grossouvre:

The Omelet

“We all believe we know how to make an omelet, of course, but many people have never eaten a truly good one.”

“Making a good omelet requires that several conditions be met: you must use a pan that is wide enough to allow the eggs to spread out, and you must have perfectly fresh eggs — preferably brown ones. Finally, you need butter of the finest quality, of which you put in enough so that when you pour in the eggs, they swim in it. These indispensable details are the basis of a good omelet.”


“I make an omelet with 8 eggs for six people and I make sure that the pan I use is absolutely clean. For this number of eggs, I pour 2 oz. (65 g) of milk or water into a bowl and I mix in a big pinch (9 g) of salt and a small pinch of white pepper. Then I break the eggs into the bowl and I beat the mixture with a large fork for one and one-half minutes.”
Beaten eggs with grated cheese in them
“Into the pan, for 8 eggs, I put 3 oz. (100 g) of excellent butter and, on medium heat, I cook it until it browns just slightly. In addition, I add to the beaten eggs a few little bits of butter, which will melt as the omelet cooks and make it more tender. I pour the eggs into the hot butter, where they spread out and sizzle a little. With the fork, I carefully bring the edges of the omelet towards the center, which I also lift to make sure it isn’t sticking to the pan, moving it towards the edges. This way, I manage to spread the whole omelet out to an even thickness.”
Mushrooms "stewed" in butter and white wine
“As soon as the liquid egg at the surface starts to thicken, I shake the handle of the pan to make sure that the omelet slides around and isn’t stuck, while the egg on top is not completely set. At that point I slide it out of the pan onto a lukewarm serving platter. I fold it over as it slide out and serve it immediately. An omelet can never be kept waiting, not even for a second or two. It’s the guests who have to wait. Also, one must not cook it over full heat or it might stick to the pan, which would render it inedible.”
Mushrooms on one edge of a cheese omelet, ready
to slide out of the pan and be folded onto a platter
“This is the formula for a plain omelet to which one can add various ingredients, which will bring great variety to this simple, but very delicate and always delicious dish. You can serve it with a variety of sauces and include with the eggs leftover meats, such as stewed veal, which will be completely transformed.”
Yesterday I made my omelet with just 4 eggs, adjusting the amount of water (not milk), salt, and butter proportionately, and with Emmental cheese and button mushrooms. Mix the cheese in with the beaten eggs and use the mushrooms, cooked separately in butter and a little white wine, as a filling — fold the omelet over them in the pan or as you slide it out.

I'm not sure that the omelet was supposed to be so brown, but that's the way it came out. And it tasted great, with French-fried potatoes and a green salad.


  1. I wonder why omelet sometimes spelled with an extra "te" at the end?

    I usually add water to my eggs instead of milk also. Your omelet looks great and I like potatoes with eggs too. I often had the Parmentier omelet in Paris in the 60s.

    Hmm, I just googled "Parmentier" and know why the omelet was named for him.
    Check it out for a post sometime.

  2. Evelyn, you piqued my curiosity, so I googled Parmentier. Very interesting.

  3. If it says Parmentier or Parmentière, it means potatoes, no? I'll have to google it too.

    Omelette is French. Omelet, according to my spell checker, is American English. Who knew?

  4. Looks great! I have to say that I have a weakness for the classic short-order-cook style omelet (if done well).

    The fillings (e.g., mushrooms, onions, bacon, peppers) cook on one section of the grill. When they are ready, the eggs are spread over another section. Fillings and a few slices of American "cheese" go on top, then the eggs are quickly folder over (like a burrito).

    The eggs are just-cooked, and the whole thing is moist, gooey, and delicious.

    Mock me if you will... :-)

  5. John, that sounds perfect to me. Do you know that I was a short-order cook in a little grill in N.C. when I was in college. I made a lot of egg sandwiches.

    I remember that you had a great looking omelette over at that restaurant in the Sologne -- A la tête de lard, was that it? -- when we went there a couple of years ago. I was sorry I hadn't ordered the same.

  6. I will most definitely try this because my omelets do not even remotely look like omelets.


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