We call it omelet, the French call it omelette! No matter the spelling, it remains one of the finest dishes in all the world, and one of the quickest to make.
But its simplicity belies its sophistication, for the first bite of a perfectly made omelet makes the diner take pause, reflect for a moment on the beauty of life, the kindness of mankind, the absolute miracle of the egg.
I remember eating omelets as a child, usually at a restaurant for the omelet was considered a fancy dish, a celebration. On the menu, the omelet was never offered alone, but with a multitude of fillings which usually involved mushrooms, perhaps bell peppers, all too often broccoli, and always an infinite amount of cheese. They were good, those omelets, but when I got to cooking school in France and tasted my first French omelet, I realized it was in an entirely different sphere.
The Omelette Sphere
And that sphere? Was one of simplicity, purity, elegance. For the French omelet is primarily egg, whipped just a bit, seasoned delicately, cooked quickly so that it is still just that little bit runny inside so that when you bite into it, it’s as though it is filled with finest possible sauce.
A Ten Minute Affair
I always gave my cooking students the gift of the omelet, for it is food of the gods, and the quickest dinner on the planet. All told, from cracking the eggs to slicing the mint to grating the cheese, to serving it with pride it takes 10 minutes. The salad alongside takes a few minutes more. With the acclaim it engenders, you might have spent hours in the kitchen.
So, the next time you’ve got great farm eggs on hand, make an omelet. Use your favorite herb, go easy on the cheese and charm and satisfy everyone at your table!
And you will want to serve wonderful bread alongside your omelette, for cleaning up the plate. Don’t let anyone – and I mean ANYONE – tell you this isn’t polite. Eating the last drop of an omelet has nothing to do with politeness but with intelligence, for every drop of flavor will make you feel just that much better than you felt before!
MINT OMELETTE - OMELETTE A LA MENTHE
- 6 large eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/3 cup loosely packed peppermint leaves, rinsed and patted dry
- Pinch hot paprika or cayenne
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Whisk together the eggs and salt in a large bowl just until they are broken up. Mince the mint and whisk it immediately into the eggs. Season lightly with hot paprika.
- Heat the oil in a 9-1/2 inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until it is hot but not smoking. Add the eggs, which will puff up, and cook, using a spatula to pull the eggs back from the edges of the skillet as they solidify, allowing the uncooked egg from the center to run out to the edges. When the omelette is evenly set on the bottom but there is still a fair amount of uncooked egg on top, cover the pan and let it cook until the surface of the omelette is nearly cooked through, about 4 minutes. Flip the omelette out onto a large plate, then slide it back into the pan and continue cooking until it is just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Slide back out onto a large plate and either eat hot, or at room temperature.