Need an Activity? Try Perfecting the Fluffy French Omelette
..aka one of world’s most delicious, custardy egg creations
I was embarrassingly late to the French omelette party—my first try of the classic was only last year, fittingly, while we were filming in Provence, served up by one of our hosts to the region, chef Eric at Le Saint Hubert. It was perfect: Rolled into a fat cigar, studded with herbs, glossy with butter and with the most enviably custardy interior. From the first bite I understood why it was iconic. Ever since, I’ve been obsessed, relegating over-cooked omelettes to the past.
It’s not just me—the French omelette is widely revered as a simple, but finessed omelette that really shows off a cook’s chops. It comes down to the technique, which involves a medley of curdling the eggs till they’re near-scrambled (the secret to that creamy inner) and tilting the pan to roll it into a log, all without sticking, and all—crucially—without any browning, which tends to give eggs a slightly metallic taste. There's none of that here—only eggs the creamiest you'll ever have 'em.
Since right now is the perfect time to a) learn a new skill and b) treat yourself to something delicious, I’m going to share some pointers. I also highly recommend you watch our video to get a sense of the process.
Herby French omelette
How to practice making the perfect French omelette
Stay single: First of all, this is an omelette that’s easier to cook when kept to single serves. We’re looking for an omelette that has some volume to it—so use a small pan around 20 cm/8 in.. Sticking is this recipe’s worst enemy, so use a non-stick or well-seasoned carbon steel frying pan.
Low-ish and slow-ish: Though the French omelettes are said to be cooked in a flash at restaurants, for homecooks, and to really practice your technique, it makes sense to cook on a medium low heat to give you greater control over the results.
Tools of the trade: We used a rubber spatula to coax our egg into curds, but to really stir things up you can also use wooden chopsticks. Scramble until you have a very glistening (that means it should still be a little runny), but curdled mixture, then given the omelette just enough time to seal on the bottom (remember, no browning), before you roll it over to one side of the pan.
Butter is better: If you’re having trouble picking up and rolling your omelette, even when tilting the pan, add a knob of butter under the part of the omelette you’ve succeeded in lifting up. The butter will seep under the rest of the omelette and help you guide it over. If you want to make your final product extra glossy, rub it with a knob of butter too!
Plain, cheesy, stuffed, or laden with herbs? Though a French omelette is a thing of beauty on its own, because I’m not good at making decisions, I made sure ours was the best of all worlds, laced with Gruyère and herbs. You can also make a slit down the middle to create a canoe-like indentation and stuff the omelette to your palate’s content. Eat the omelette for breakfast or to turn it into a larger meal from brunch onwards to dinner , we served it with a fresh green salad dressed with a light vinaigrette as a simple side.
Let us know how your practice goes in the comments!
Published on April 12, 2020