The Secret To Making The Perfect Omelet? Think Beyond the Ingredients
Omelets have a place in our weekend brunch menu for many reasons: they're easy to customize, they're filling, they're tasty, and they stretch few ingredients a long way. If you haven't quite mastered this simple recipe, it's time to pull out your apron and the egg carton.
When preparing an omelet, there are a few things to think about. Fresh eggs make a world of difference when it comes to this breakfast staple. If you're an avid farmers' market shopper, you'll be able to see the color difference in straight-from-the-farm fresh eggs compared to store-bought ones. Fresh, local eggs usually have vibrant, yellow-orange yolks – and your omelet will be much tastier (and colorful!) because of it.
Beyond the ingredients, you'll also want to consider how you'd like your finished omelet. Are you planning to fold your omelet in half, taco-style? Maybe you like your omelet as an artfully tucked burrito? Are you going to roll your omelet? In a two- or three-egg omelet, how you're planning to serve it makes a big difference in the preparation. And, strangely enough, this has a lot to do with the pan you choose.
The size of your pan will dictate how thick or thin the egg "shell" of your omelet will be (and, how dry or over-cooked your eggs will become). If you like a thin, large omelet, you may want to consider investing in a griddle; you can stretch the egg like a crepe to your desired size and then flip, fold, and tuck your omelet into whatever shape you'd like.
For the rest of us, it's about picking the right pan. Alton Brown uses a a 10-inch nonstick skillet for his omelet recipe, which is thinner, as the egg layer is stretched across a larger area. One of our favorite Southern chefs, Emeril, suggests using a "small nonstick skillet" and folding your finished product into thirds. Ludo Lefebvre's recipe, which ran on Bon Appétit, recommends an 8-inch skillet.
If you like your omelet a little thicker, try using a smaller nonstick skillet. You may want to try throwing spinach and cheese into the egg mixture, prior to adding any filling, so that your thicker eggs will be all the more flavorful. For a thinner omelet that focuses more on the delicious fillings you've stuffed inside, try out Alton's suggestion of a 10-inch, nonstick skillet.
With both options, be sure to pay attention to how your eggs are cooking. Low-and-slow, one of our favorite methods for perfecting Southern barbecue, also applies to eggs. If you cook a thicker omelet over high heat, you'll have a dried-out exterior and an uncooked interior; we can all agree that this isn't ideal for brunch with your girlfriends. If you choose a thinner omelet, the egg will cook much more quickly, and your window of time for adding your toppings and getting it off the heat will be shorter.