Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Happy omelette

My food network hero is Tyler Florence. I love Bobby Flay and Alton Brown, but Tyler is the one who made me want to cook from scratch. He is my favorite chef to watch cook by himself.

A few weeks ago, I caught his show in which he made an omelet. Here are some of the keys to making an omelet successfully without using a non-stick pan.

First is choice of pan. If you're only doing one to two eggs, use a small pan. Three or more, increase size appropriately. If your pan is too big, the omelet stands little chance of holding together upon the transfer. Too small and you'll end up burning the bottom of the eggs or they'll simply take forever to cook. (You can use this method and finish them in an oven, but that's a lot of steps for a quick breakfast.)

A lot of oil is unnecessary. Put in a heavy teaspoon and get it warm, then wipe it all over the pan with a smooth kithing towel or wadded up paper towel. Heat over medium-high until a pinch of water flicked in has a heavy sizzle but does not crackle. If you want oil or butter flavor, a little after the first step will go a long way.

After cracking your eggs into your bowl, add a pinch of salt. Remember, salting before cooking will result in less salt use and it will allow the salt to do its job: salt is used to bring out the flavors of the food, not to make food taste salty.

When the pan is heated to the right temperature, add the eggs and, after about ten seconds, use a silicone spatula to move them around a bit, not quite scrambling them. If you oiled correctly, you'll notice that the eggs pull away from the stainless pan just like they would in a non-stick pan. This will even out the cooking just like stirring a sauce and help keep the eggs from browning (too much. Getting them perfectly golden takes some practice.) Then, use the flat side of the spatula to even out the top of the eggs with a stroke similar to icing a cake. Then, remove from heat. After a few minutes, the eggs will cook through using its own steam.

I have not mastered the art of adding other ingredients so that they are not only folded inside the omelet, but also mingled with the eggs. Regardless, use another pan to heat additional ingredients. My guess is that, after cooking the additional ingredients, start the eggs and then, after adding the eggs to the pan, add the ingredients and fold them in while moving the eggs around. Will let you know how that goes next time.

This morning, I was hungry and wanted an omelet. Looking in the fridge, I found some Rotel that was begging to be consumed. I drained it and put it in a pan preheated over medium with a splash of olive oil (about 1 tsp.)

In the meantime, the larger pan for the eggs was preheating. After starting the omelet using the procedure mentioned above, I put a slice of provolone cheese on one side of the omelet, the side that would first slide on to my plate. I continued to allow the eggs to set and the tomatoes to simmer. Finally, when I felt that most of the excess moisture had been cooked out of the Rotel, I put it on top of the provolone in the omelet. A couple of turns of the pepper mill and it was ready for transfer.

Sliding the spatula under the eggs helped release the omelet and readied it for transfer. With one hand holding the pan and the spatula in the other, I turned the pan 45 degrees and used the spatula to slowly slide the eggs on to the plate. When the omelet was more than 50% off of the pan, I pushed the pan while sliding the omelet to fold it over the top. Grab a fork and eat!

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