Jimmy Dean is what, in these parts, you would call a good ole boy. He spends his time split between real estate and tending his acreage in rural Oklahoma. He is a former high school music teacher and unabashed country boy. Like most country boys, he is a lot sharper than he lets on. He has a ready wit and a winning smile, but beneath it he is as cunning as a fox – so don’t underestimate him in a deal. At the same time, if you spit on your hand and exchange a handshake, you have got a deal that will stick. I am told that it is a country thing!
What Jimmy Dean does not know is that I spent my formative years in Yorkshire. That’s right, home of the puddin’. Yorshire folk and Okies are remarkably similar. No fuss, no muss people, they speak their minds and don’t hold with style. They want to see the content. Put up or shut up. At the same time, beneath their gruff exterior, they are generous to a fault and have a wicked sense of humor. There was no way to get the whole saying in on the above pictured mug, but it goes like this:
A Yorkshire man’s advice to his son.
“See all, hear all, say now’t … Eat all, sup all, pay now’t … And if ever tha does owt for now’t, allus do it for thisen.”
A little translation for those who are not familiar with the dialect – See everything and hear everything but say nothing, Eat everything and drink everything but pay nothing. And if ever you do anything for nothing, always do it for yourself. – Random Ramblings
Jimmy Dean grows more vegetables than he knows what to do with. He brings them into work and sets them out for the vultures to fall upon. Anyone who has ever grown tomatoes will know that they are stingy to mature at first and then come on with such an abundance that it can sometimes feel like King Canute commanding the tide not to roll in. Futile.
Thank you, Jimmy Dean, one of the bright spots in this unbearable Oklahoma heat is your produce.
So, I eyed the carrier-bag of farm-fresh goodies that I made off with last week and decided that I had the fixins – because that’s what we call ’em ’round here – for a spectacular omelette. Now omelettes are a fine thing if you like eggs. My own son describes them as entirely “too eggy”! It is a very poorly kept secret that I have a romance going with farm-fresh eggs and an omelette is one of the best ways to use them. However, it took me many years, and many failed attempts, to perfect the method. Once I learned, there was no turning back. So this is my attempt to save you years of tears. You don’t have to thank me, but you will probably want to!
Make your filling before you make your omelette – unless you are using cheese and even then you should grate it and have it ready before you start in on the actual omelette. In this case, I took some of Jimmy Deans fresh produce and sauted it. Everything came from his produce patch. Onions, Jalapeno, Okra and Tomato. All I had to add was a little EVOO,salt and pepper. Make your filling from whatever you have to hand – just make sure that you have it cooked off and are ready to go when omelette time arrives!
Now on to the Omelette!
Here at Feral Cooks, we like to take care with our photographs. “You eat with your eyes” the maxim goes and we believe it. So, I could have made the above photograph a lot prettier than it is. However, I want to be open and honest about my omelette pan. Here it is in its ugly glory. No Photoshop retouching here, folks. Those nasty scratches in the non-stick surface are real. This is really the pan I use and I am sticking with it until the omelettes start sticking to it!
The truth of the matter is that your omelette pan is your most important tool in this process. I remember my mother threatening me with death if I used her omelette pan when I was first learning to cook. It was the size of the perfect saute pan and I used it for that purpose one day. I am still around to tell about it, so you know that she did not follow through on her threat, but that was not a happy day in our household!
I have had this pan for about ten years now. It started life in my commercial kitchen and you can see that it has seen some action. Whatever the origins of your pan, look after it and it will look after you. Find the right size. This one is an 8″ pan and is perfect for a two-egg omelette. You may want to buy a larger one for a larger omelette. I became adept at cooking more than one omelette at a time, but the truth is – one pan, one omelette. If you are planning on serving omelettes for breakfast, you need to stagger your serving times. They are quick and guests will eat together, but the first guest may be finished before the last guest has started. Did I tell you that I like to eat my food hot? If you plan on keeping multiple omelettes warm in the oven, you may dry out your product. Some people prefer “dry” eggs. I like mine to be still moist.
I will write about Brands of cookware in the “Tools of The Trade” section, here. However, please note that the most important thing is that the omelette should not stick to your pan. If I had taken proper care of my Calphalon, I wouldn’t have needed this pan. Having said that, this was a relatively inexpensive pan, bought ten or twelve years ago for about $15 at my local Sam’s Club. This is a 8″ & 10″ Tramotina two-pack, available at Walmart for just under $40. Perfect for two and three-egg omelettes.
I have stainless steel bowls in a variety of sizes. They are cheap and versatile. I also have similar sizes in glass bowls, but they get heavy and I am a little clumsy, so. . . Crack your eggs into a larger bowl than you think is necessary. You will be “whipping” these eggs with a fork in a tilted bowl. The last thing that you need is to worry about spilling egg. Salt and pepper can be added at various points in the process. I like to add mine into the egg mixture up front. I am happy to entertain an argument for adding them at a different stage. I cannot see that it makes a difference, but I am not going to rule out a little education on the matter. If you are someone who thinks about food on a molecular level, please give me your feedback and I will report on it here.
Add a tablespoon or two of water to your eggs. Did you notice that I used the word “mixture” above? This is why. You now have two eggs, salt & pepper and a little water in your bowl. Why add the water, you ask?
“Eggs are already 3/4 water anyway! By mixing in a small quantity of extra water before you cook the eggs, you are slowing down the cooking process by making more water available that has to be evaporated. This keeps the cooking temperature to less than 100°C (212°F) for longer, therefore increasing the the time for the egg proteins to foam and expand before setting.
The amount of water you need to add depends on; personal preference, the type of egg, and how old it is. Older eggs generally require a little more water. Adding skim milk will enhance this process slightly too. Adding extra fat will generally not enhance this process
BONUS TIP To make even more spectacular omelettes place a loose fitting lid over the pan to increase the steam exposure all around, and let the egg fully develop” – Seasoned Advice
Now tilt the bowl and use your fork in a circular motion – across, up,across and down. You are whipping the eggs – although not too much – until you have a uniform yellow mixture and there are no strands of egg-white left. You are beating in some air, but not too much. If you want your omelette firm and airy, beat air into it and cover the pan while cooking (see above).
There is nothing finer in life than butter. There are, however, a couple of items to consider. 1. It has a very low burning point and you do not want to add extra flavors to your omelette. 2. Too much butter is not good for you. It may be that you knowingly choose to use butter, but – if you can help it – try to stretch your use of butter so that you enjoy the benefits without reaping the side-effects. For these reasons, I use a blend of butter and EVOO. This is my preference and your mileage may vary.
Heat the pan on a medium heat before adding the EVOO & butter. Once added, allow the two to melt, blend and come to temperature. You do not want a roaring heat like stir-fry, but you do want your egg to start cooking as soon as it hits the pan. A good tip here is to take a bamboo chop-stick and poke it into the pan. It should let off bubbles slowly. Too fast and your heat is too hot. No bubble and it is too cold. Nifty, huh?
Pour your egg-mixture into the pan.
Many people panic at this stage and start moving the egg around as if their life depended on it. That is the quick way to turn your omelette into scrambled eggs. This is also the stage where you will learn if your pan has the non-stick qualities to do the job that you need it to do! Please note the way that the egg is already cooking on the edges. Pay attention to the change in color and texture. You do not need to move the eggs until you see this change occur.
I have a couple of bamboo utensils that are old and much loved. I buy new ones, but they never quite do what I want them to do! This one is an old spatula-type spoon that I use for omelettes. You probably have your own favorite tools and the pleasure of using them is part of the satisfaction of cooking. Whatever tool you choose to use, tip the pan and “pull” the cooked egg into the center of the pan and allow the uncooked egg to “flow” into the pan where the cooked egg used to be. Be gentle, yet firm. If you do this around the whole circumference, slowly but methodically, you will have your perfect omelette. If you are too fast or the pan sticks, you will be making scrambled eggs! You should see the ridges of cooked egg through the uncooked egg.
As this firms up, you want to add your cheese, if that is your desired filling. I like my cheese to be gooey and runny, so I tend to put it in while the egg is still fairly wet. That way it has time to melt. You will learn when to add your cheese depending on how wet you like your final eggs to be and on how gooey you want the cheese. If, as in this instance, you have cooked off your filling, you want to wait until the egg is set the way you like it and then add your filling to one side of your omelette.
Because I am right-handed, I add my filling to the left side of the pan. In order to plate your omelette, you will need to bump and jiggle your pan until it is half-way onto the plate. Once the filling side has slipped into the plate, you will then want to “flip” the remaining plain omelette over the top of your “bottom” half to complete the final classic omelette appearance. Add more ingredients or a simple garnish to make it even prettier.
It really is that easy. There is a mystique about omelettes that make them intimidating. Certainly, I over-thought the whole issue and was traumatized by something that really is simple – once you understand the method. There is great pleasure in making something simple, but right. I wish you the same simple pleasure that I experience each time that I make an omelette. Drop me a line and let me know how it goes!