Perfect French Omelets

Published January 1, 2009. From Cook's Illustrated.

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Why this recipe works:

Our perfect French omelet recipe had to give us unblemished golden-yellow eggs with an ultra-creamy texture. Preheating a nonstick skillet over low heat for 10 minutes eliminated the pan’s hot spots, so our eggs wouldn’t be splotchy. Adding cold diced butter to the beaten eggs gave the omelet… read more

Our perfect French omelet recipe had to give us unblemished golden-yellow eggs with an ultra-creamy texture. Preheating a nonstick skillet over low heat for 10 minutes eliminated the pan’s hot spots, so our eggs wouldn’t be splotchy. Adding cold diced butter to the beaten eggs gave the omelet a creamy texture when cooked. We turned off the heat in our omelet recipe when the eggs were still runny, then smoothed the top with a spatula and covered the pan, letting residual heat do the rest of the cooking without toughening the eggs.

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Perfect French Omelets

Could we defy 100 years of culinary tradition and create a foolproof French omelet?

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Makes 2

Because making omelets is such a quick process, make sure to have all your ingredients and equipment at the ready. If you don’t have skewers or chopsticks to stir the eggs in step 3, use the handle of a wooden spoon. Warm the plates in a 200-degree oven.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. 1. Cut 1 tablespoon butter in half again. Cube remaining tablespoon butter into small dice, transfer to small bowl, and place in freezer while preparing eggs and skillet, at least 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place oil in 8-inch nonstick skillet and heat over low heat 10 minutes.

    2. Crack 2 eggs into medium bowl and separate third egg; reserve white for another use and add yolk to bowl. Add 1/8 teaspoon salt and pinch of pepper. Break yolks with fork, then beat eggs at moderate pace, about 80 strokes, until yolks and whites are well combined. Stir in half of frozen butter cubes.

    3. When skillet is fully heated, use paper towels to wipe out oil, leaving thin film on bottom and sides of skillet. Add ½ tablespoon reserved butter piece to skillet and heat until foaming subsides, 45 to 90 seconds. Swirl butter to coat skillet, add egg mixture, and increase heat to medium-high. Following photos below, use 2 chopsticks or wooden skewers to scramble eggs using quick circular motion to move around skillet, scraping cooked egg from side of skillet as you go, until eggs are almost cooked but still slightly runny, 45 to 90 seconds. Turn off heat (remove skillet from heat if using electric burner) and smooth eggs into even layer using rubber spatula. Sprinkle omelet with 1 tablespoon cheese and 2 teaspoons chives. Cover skillet with tight-fitting lid and let sit 1 minute for runnier omelet and 2 minutes for firmer omelet.

    4. Heat skillet over low heat 20 seconds, uncover, and, using rubber spatula, loosen edges of omelet from skillet. Place folded square of paper towel onto warmed plate and slide omelet out of skillet onto paper towel so that omelet lies flat on plate and hangs about 1 inch off paper towel. Roll omelet into neat cylinder and set aside. Return skillet to low heat and heat 2 minutes before repeating instructions for second omelet starting with step 2. Serve.

Step-by-Step

Foolproof French Omelet

1. Preheat skillet on low heat at least 10 minutes to heat it thoroughly and evenly.

2. Stir frozen cubed butter into beaten eggs to ensure creaminess.

3. Add eggs to skillet and stir with chopsticks to produce small curds for silkier texture.

4. Turn off heat while eggs are still runny; smooth with spatula into even layer.

5. Sprinkle with cheese and chives. Cover so residual heat gently finishes cooking omelet.

6. Slide omelet onto paper towel-lined plate. Use paper towel to lift omelet and roll it up.

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