Saturday, November 7, 2009

Omelettes à la Julia

My time in France and Israel has convinced me that an omelette is a great meal for any time of day, even though most Americans limit it to breakfast. I've discovered that it is a convenient and quick way to get some protein and veggies into my diet, and tastes like a treat when I cook it up fresh. You may not think that an omelette is a quick meal, but if you see the way Julia Childs does it, you'll want to have one every day.

After viewing Julie and Julia I started youtubing some of her TV show clips, and this one really captured me. Okay, to be honest, immediately after viewing the movie I bought a baguette and Brie, but later on, I searched for videos of her and found this one of her making a flat French omelette. It made me realize one crucial point: I have always overcooked my eggs. If Julia can cook an omelette in 20 seconds, what am I doing just letting mine sit in the pan for minutes and minutes? Granted, I'm not quite sure how she makes hers happen if there are fillings involved, but I'm working on it.

Here's the process if you want a straight-up, simply-egg omelette; be sure to watch the video to get nice footage of the pan sliding/shaking part:

1. Heat up a 7 or 7.5 inch diameter nonstick pan REALLY hot. I put my pan over as high a heat as my stove can do. Julia adds a tablespoon of butter, I spray the pan with canola oil - but you need something to grease the pan to make this work.

2. Crack 2-3 eggs into a bowl and scramble them. If I want to cut calories, I use one whole egg plus two egg whites. You can add salt and pepper here, and a tablespoon of water if you like.

3. By the time the eggs are ready, the pan will be hot, so you pour the eggs into the pan and let them just sit for a few seconds.

4. Then you start swirling the pan around flat to get the eggs to wiggle and set. I try to shift the cooked egg on the bottom so that the liquid egg on top has a chance at sliding over to the hot pan surface. Gradually start jerking the pan towards you and let the egg start turning over on top of itself. I do this until all of the egg seems solid (but not rubbery), keeping the back-and-forth movement in order to prevent browning (unless you like the browning, but it makes it less tender). I still do this longer than Julia does because I'm not a fan of runny eggs, but it ends up tender.

5. Roll up the omelette, either by hand or by rolling the omelette out of the pan onto a plate, salt and pepper, and shave cheese over it if you like.

Sometimes I scramble the eggs in a Tupperware at night, so that in the morning I can throw the greased pan on the stove to heat up, grab the eggs out of the fridge, and just dump them in the pan. Fresh breakfast in less than a minute!

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