05/15/14

All about Omelets

om·e·let – noun: omelet; plural noun: omelets; noun: omelet; plural noun: omelets

A dish of beaten eggs cooked in a frying pan until firm, often with a filling added while cooking, and usually served folded over.

Origin

French omelet, earlier, from lemele ‘knife blade’, from Latin lamella. The association with ‘knife blade’ is probably because of the thin flat shape of an omelet.

29History

The fluffy omelet is a refined version of an ancient food. According to Alan Davidson, the French word omelet came into use during the mid-16th century, but the versions alumelle and alumete are employed by the Ménagier de Paris in 1393.

According to the founding legend of the annual giant Easter omelet of Bessières, Haute-Garonne, when Napoleon Bonaparte and his army were traveling through southern France, they decided to rest for the night near the town of Bessières. Napoleon feasted on an omelet prepared by a local innkeeper that was such a culinary delight that he ordered the townspeople to gather all the eggs in the village and to prepare a huge omelet for his army the next day.

Simple French omelet

A beautiful omelet prepared by one of our MY KITCHEN students!

Styles

The French omelet is smoothly and briskly cooked in an extremely hot pan specially made for the purpose. The technique relies on clarified butter (to ensure a high smoke point) in relatively great ratio to the eggs (prevents sticking and cooks the eggs more quickly). Good with just salt and pepper, this omelet is often flavored with tomato and finely chopped herbs (often fine herbs or tarragon, chervil, parsley and chives) or chopped onions. French omelets are also removed from the pan in a manner different from an American omelet. They can be rolled out in a trifold design or just simply slide out of the pan directly into a plate and when made correctly have little to no color to them.

American style omelets are different from a French style in that it is placed in the pan and left until the eggs have cooked through. It will have a nice golden brown crust. The filling is placed into the middle of the omelet towards the end of the end of the cooking process. It is then folded in half and served.

The American omelet/Folded Omelet is definitely a simpler method than the French. It is cooked in a sauté pan with out stirring. The filling is is placed on the eggs just before it is finished. Fold it in half and slid it onto a plate.

A frittata is a kind of open-faced Italian omelet that can contain cheese, vegetables, or even leftover pasta. Frittata are cooked slowly. Except for the cooking oil, all ingredients are fully mixed with the eggs before cooking starts.

And, of course there’s Chef Perry’s favorite: Hangtown fry, containing bacon and breaded oysters, is an unusual omelet that originated in Placerville, California during the gold rush.

Records

On March 19, 1994, the largest omelet (1,383 ft²) in the world at the time was made with 160,000 eggs in Yokohama, Japan, but it was subsequently overtaken by an omelet made by the Lung Association in Brockville, Ontario, Canada on May 11, 2002 — it weighed 2.95 tonnes (6,503.6 lbs.). (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Ham and Cheese Omelet

Chef Chris’s Basic Filled Omelet

Omelets are one of my favorite meals. It was one of my first adventures in cooking. My father would cook them on Saturday mornings while us kids were watching cartoons. When I was older he taught me to cook a classic filled omelet. Now I am passing this tradition to my children. While now days I add things like sauteed onions, peppers and mushrooms. The basics are still the same.

Active Time: 5min.                                                        Total Time: 15min.


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp. milk or cream
  • 1 tsp. butter
  • 1-2oz. your favorite cheese
  • 1-2oz. Ham
  • Salt & black pepper

Mise en Place

Grate the cheese. Dice the ham. Crack eggs into a small mixing bowl.

Preparation

Melt butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Whisk the eggs together with the milk/cream (the milk will help the eggs be a little fluffy) and a pinch each of salt and pepper.

Add the ham and the cheese (reserve a pinch or two of cheese for plating) once when the bottom is firm but still runny on the top.

When the eggs are cooked through use a spatula to gently fold omelet in half and slide onto a warm plate. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

Serve with a side of fruit and toast or toasted bagel.