Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Omelet Evolution

Inspired by watching Jacques Pepin make omelets, my breakfast today was a two-egg omelet filled with a slice of Tillamook medium cheddar cheese, as shown above (the picture features a surprise guest appearance by my thumb).

At the beginning of the lesson, Jacques tells us that a restaurant often tests prospective chefs by asking them to cook an omelet. By Jacques' standards I did not get the job; but the good news for the aspiring omelet maker is that even a flawed, imperfect omelet can be delicious.

This was not my first omelet, but viewing the Pepin video was enough to improve my technique immediately. To remove the omelet from the pan, he first peels it away from the edges, folds it half way over, and then folds the other half on top like an envelope. I had been attempting to fold the omelet exactly in half before removing it, and that's definitely more difficult. I had also been using an all-American egg-flipping spatula for the job, as though I were making fried eggs. Jacques on the other hand uses a fork, which is more maneuverable. Since he's cooking with what appears to be a non-stick fry-pan, the fork made my husband wince repeatedly as we watched Jacques rapidly stir and manipulate the eggs, bringing the tines into frequent contact with the pan. My substitute, a heat-resistant narrow rubber spatula, will probably keep peace in the family and is a huge improvement on my old utensil.

The biggest visible flaw in today's effort is that it's supposed to be a French classic but is browned like a country omelette. I used too much butter and I left the omelet in the pan too long after I folded it, causing the browning. You can also see that the eggs aren't uniform (see those white bits, especially toward the front of the plate?), so maybe I'll use a whisk to beat them next time. It's also difficult to know when to stop stirring the eggs and when to fold them without a great deal more experience.

Of course I'll need to make more omelets before I can even approximate Jacques' perfect technique. I think I can persevere, however, as long as I get to eat the practice results.


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