Omelets are a delicious meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They can be prepared and served plain or filled, but either way, they are likely to be at their very best when the egg mixture is cooked light and fluffy. Following are several techniques that will help your omelets turn out just right.
Never season an omelet before it’s cooked. Salt in particular can affect the moisture levels and cause the eggs to become grainy in the pan, so seasoning should only be added just before the omelet is folded over for plating.
Beating the eggs
A fork is very often used to beat eggs when making an omelet. While a fork will do the job and serve to combine the eggs, a balloon whisk will allow far more air to be beaten in to the eggs and result in a fluffier omelet. These whisks are useful for many purposes and can be purchased fairly inexpensively in either conventional stores or online.
Consider separating the egg whites from the yolks for beating. By beating the whites until they increase by about 25 percent in volume, it is much easier to incorporate the necessary air that will make an omelet fluffy. Do be careful, however, not to over-whisk the egg whites as though making meringues. The yolks should be lightly beaten in a separate bowl before being folded into the whites. This prevents the precious air being forced out of the mixture before it hits the pan.
As an alternative to separating the egg whites and yolks, try adding a tablespoon of water per three eggs to the bowl before the eggs are beaten. The steam caused by the water during cooking will help the eggs to puff up and become more fluffy.
Special pans are available for making omelets. They are usually smaller than a standard frying pan and can be either cast iron or nonstick. A pan of this size helps prevent the egg mix spreading out too thinly over the surface and ensures the omelet cooks evenly with no bald patches in the pan.
A little butter or oil should be added to the pan before it is placed on the heat, but not too much or the omelet will be greasy. It is important to know that the pan must be brought up to a moderately high heat before the beaten eggs are added in order that the mixture begins cooking immediately and doesn?t absorb the fat or oil.
Tending the cooking omelet
When the eggs are first added to the pan they will of course be in liquid form. Use a plastic spatula to work slowly around the circumference of the pan, drawing the mixture from the edges in to the middle of the pan. This makes for more even cooking but has to be done very gently to avoid forcing the air out of the mixture. As soon as the eggs begin to solidify, it is vital to stop doing this or the eggs will scramble. The heat should be reduced and the eggs left to cook until only the slightest residue of liquid is visible on top of the set eggs.
Finishing the omelet
When the omelet is almost but not quite set, season with salt and pepper. Any filling which is to be incorporated should be laid on one half of the omelet and the empty half carefully folded over the top with a spatula. The egg will complete cooking in a matter of seconds in the residual heat, so the omelet should be plated and served immediately with accompaniments of choice.