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Old 01-28-2012, 04:33 PM   #1
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Working the French Omelette

Hello everyone,
Thank you for reading my post. For a while I have been trying to make the best omelette possible on an electric stove with a cheap ceramic pan. They come out well.

Here are my two problems:
(1) Temperature issue -
Ideally, I'm supposed to melt butter on a skillet but not to the point that it turns brown. Problem is, if I put it too low, the eggs stay liquified on the pan and there isn't enough curding and what I get is an excessively wet omelette (I understand French Omelettes are already wet, but I have had it not excessively wet, to the point where liquid leaks from the omelette and runs on the plate). I can't seem to find that middle point when the butter stays white and there is a nice sizzle when the eggs are placed on the pan.
My Bad Solution:I have tried lowering the temperature for the butter, placing the egg in the pan, raising temperature, and waiting for it to start sizzling. It works but omelettes come out a lot better when it's hot to begin with. The wait time isn't good.
(2) I notice I can get a more consistent sizzle when the pan has been given time to really heat up. I have always left the pan on without any kind of oil or butter because I don't want it to burn. My worry is whether that's damaging the pan, to let it sit there and really absorb the heat completely.

I'm a hardcore novice.

Thank you for your patience and the pointing out what should be obvious to me.


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Old 01-28-2012, 06:15 PM   #2
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Don't worry about sizzle from the eggs or trying to figure out what some description of butter's behavior should be. The butter (of which there need not be a great deal) should be hot enough that a drop of water sizzles in it. You don't say how you prepare the eggs. They should be beaten until yellow throughout and hold some froth for a time. You want a lot of air in them.

I allow 30 seconds per omelet. I think if you need much longer than that, something's wrong, usually temperature, and it's nearly impossible to get a good omelet. The butter comes to heat. Two eggs worth of beaten egg goes in. When the eggs are becoming cooked all across the bottom, I lift the edges and let uncooked egg run under, working all around the eggs until they are just short of soft cooked on top. Then folding over the filler and turning onto the plate.

(I have never quite mastered the Julia Child wrist work for the push-pull technique, but then I never did the exercise with the beans for practice.)

Do you mean the pan is a granitewear type ceramic on thin metal? Not that you can't do a good omelet on that, but it's going to be harder, because it doesn't have much mass and will cool off considerably when the egg is poured in. The pan needs to stay up to temperature to cook as quickly as it needs to for this sort of omelet. I don't use non-stick cookware otherwise, but I have a small non-stick frying pan that was dirt cheap new from WalMart or someplace just for omelets.
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Old 01-28-2012, 09:37 PM   #3
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I'm wondering about the timing issue. Just get your butter sizzling and about the time that you're worrying about it turning brown throw the eggs on. The eggs will quickly chill the butter and stop any over-browning as long as the heat setting is appropriate.

I heat my skillet to just a moderate temperature before adding the butter.

I hate to say that maybe you have the wrong pan because I've successfully made omelets in a wide variety of pans.

Your eggs should not be extremely chilled. If you run your refrigerator at a very cold temperature then maybe you should rest your eggs at room temperature for a while. Or even warm them in tepid water before starting.

Describe the pan you're using. BTW you never want to leave any pan over heat for other than a few short moments without some food cooking in it. "Short" depends on what kind of pan. Cast iron is the most forgiving...
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Old 01-28-2012, 09:46 PM   #4
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I let my element get red hot before I put the pan on. Then it heats up quicker and this gives me more control and I am ready with the butter and eggs. I start to stir and make sure it is even throughout the pan, concentrating on the pools of liquid egg, incorporating them with cooked egg as quickly as I can. Then I turn the heat to med to let it finish for a few seconds, this will prevent the eggs from burning. And remember, the eggs keep cooking after you take them out of the pan so this allows you for a quick procedure. a warm plat helps finish them also. Its all about knowing your stove and your pan....keep the eggs moving at all times until you turn the heat off or down...
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Old 01-28-2012, 11:44 PM   #5
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Thank you everyone. I am impressed with everyone's expertise. I really learned a lot. First of all, someone had noticed I made no description about the method I tried to use. Sorry. I try, and a big emphasis on try, to use the techniques that Jacque Pepin uses in that youtube clip. You can find it by typing in omelette. He's the third or fourth out of the results.
All the things I'm anxious to try is to take the eggs out and bring them to room temperature; the drop of sizzle rule of thumb; wait for the element to turn red hot; and lastly, to turn the heat down to make it not so wet inside, to let it cook more (the only worry I have about this is that the bottom of the omelette will not be that beautiful almost white lightness to it). For me, I usually take it off the flame and let the egg congeal further before I place it on the plate. A lot of the times, I end up with a brownish egg. And is also the reason why I really don't want the butter to turn brown because I like the color to look pristine.

Some people asked about the type of pan. I used two. The non-stick one I bought at Costco went out after about 10 uses. The ceramic one works fine. That's the one I still use. It's some asian brand and I got it at a swap meet and I only know it as a ceramic. The only problem possibly with it is that the curve isn't so gradual so the distribution of heat may not be as even. But I'm also working with an electric stove but I buy those portable shabu shabu stoves with flame just to make omelets. I'm obsessed with doing it well. I cook all the time and I always ask if I can make people omelettes. It can be during a steak or a sashimi dinner, among punk rockers or politicians, drinking beer with a football game playing, I will ask you if I can make you an omelette. And I will say it like this. At the most spontaneous time, I will say, "Hmm...well, I'm getting hungry. How about a round of omelettes for everyone?" The more omelettes I can make the more practice I feel I'm blessed with. This is why I buy the economy pack of eggs at Costco, even if I were single. All so I can make omelettes. And the sad thing is, I haven't eaten an entire omelette by myself. I don't really like them. But I love making them...
This is love without the skill. But skill will come by golly -- with persistence and beautiful advice from beautiful cooks.
Thank you all, and a good night to all.
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Old 01-29-2012, 10:39 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by dyoneda1 View Post
A lot of the times, I end up with a brownish egg. And is also the reason why I really don't want the butter to turn brown because I like the color to look pristine.
I think omelettes are one of those things that everyone makes a little differently. I usually heat a non-stick pan on the stove over medium low heat for 5 minutes before adding the butter. Then I take it off the heat, put in a tablespoon of butter, and rotate the pan constantly so the butter melts without turning brown. Then I add the eggs and put it back on the heat, leaving the temp on medium low. I've tried using higher heat, but always feel like it's less under my control. Like everyone else, I occasionally lift the edges and tilt the pan to let any uncooked egg go to the underside. Once it's mostly cooked, but still wet, I add the fillings, fold it into thirds, and plate it.

Although I know it's not the classic French look, I actually like just a little brown on my omelettes (but I also like brown crispy edges on fried eggs, too). Using low heat, I sometimes leave it on a little longer to get the level of doneness I prefer.

Coincidentally, I made an omelette for breakfast this morning. This one is a three egg stuffed with spinach, mushrooms, and a little jack cheese. Maybe not as pristine as it could be, but tasted great.

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Old 01-29-2012, 01:34 PM   #7
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If the filling you use for the omelet is hot, that also helps cook the egg. Roasted red peppers and asparagus, topped with Hollandaise Sauce...

Your filling sound great, Steve!
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Old 01-30-2012, 02:34 AM   #8
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I hate brown eggs so I never liked making omelets but recently I started again. I make them just about the same as GLC described.

Cheese and chive omelet with a side of sliced vine tomatoes.

Mushroom, onion and cheese omelet

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Old 01-30-2012, 11:36 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Steve Kroll View Post
... Maybe not as pristine as it could be, but tasted great.
Looks awesome!
You are what you eat.
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