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Omelettes

How to make perfect omelettes plus lots of omelette recipes including omelette wraps, mini omelettes and stuffed omelets

 

 Kitch Bain - Fotolia.com

 

 

What is an Omelette?

 

An omelette (sometimes spelled omelet) is a dish made with eggs which are beaten, seasoned,  then quickly cooked in butter or oil in a frying pan.  It is a very quick and nutritious dish as well as being relatively economical.  Omelettes are also very versatile and with a little imagination can be served in a number of ways including  being filled with items such as cheese, vegetables and meats,  flavoured with additional seasonings such as chopped herbs, made thinner and used as a wrap or made thicker and more substantial so as to be cut into wedges.   Many countries have their own versions of omelettes: Spain has the Tortilla; Italy has the Frittata.

 

 

Equipment needed to make an omelette

 

 

The main equipment required is a shallow pan. Although special omelette pans can be used, most frying pans are suitable and the non-stick varieties help to ensure the omelette doesn't stick and can be easily folded.

 

Many omelette recipes can be made from start to finish in one pan,  however it  may be necessary to also use another pan to cook additional ingredients. You will also need:

 

a large mixing bowl

a fork or whisk to beat the eggs

a wooden or plastic spoon, spatula or fork to stir the omelette in the pan

a  palette knife or fish slice to loosen and fold the omelette in the pan.


When using non-stick pans, try not to use metal utensils as these may scratch the non-stick lining of the pans.

 

Ingredients for Omelettes

 

The main ingredients for omelettes are eggs.  In general, allow 2 eggs per person.

 

You will also need something to fry the omelette. Traditionally, butter is used and this is indeed a good choice. However, you could also use a mixture of olive oil and butter or other oils such as sunflower, corn or vegetable oil.

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It is not necessary (or traditional) to add milk or cream.

 

All manner of additional ingredients can be added to omelettes at different stages of the cooking. Below is a list of examples below. However, see the section below about the preparation of ingredients as it is very important. Omelettes are also an excellent way of using up leftovers.

 

Vegetables

Asparagus

Broad Beans

Courgettes

Green Beans

Onions

Mushrooms

Peas

Peppers (Sweet)

Shallots

Spinach/Chard

Sweetcorn

Fish/Meats/Cheese

Bacon

Beef

Black Pudding

Chicken

Chorizo

Ham

Smoked Salmon

Tinned Tuna

Tinned Salmon

Prawns

Grated cheeses

Seasonings

Cayenne Pepper

Chillies

Chilli Powder

Fresh Basil

Fresh Chives

Fresh Chervil

Fresh Coriander

Fresh Parsley

Fresh Oregano

Fresh Thyme

Garlic

Pepper

Salt

 

Making Omelettes

Step by Step instructions on how to make omelettes

 

Preparing ingredients for omelettes

 

The Eggs
It doesn't really matter if the eggs are cold or at room temperature. Simply crack them into a mixing bowl and beat well, preferably with a whisk, adding salt and pepper. To obtain a fluffy texture, whole eggs or sometimes egg whites only are whisked vigorously with a little water to create bubbles. To create a very light, almost soufflé type omelette, the egg whites can be whisked separately until they just start to hold their shape and then the yolks folded into them.

Vegetables
Whatever vegetables you add should be cooked first as the actual frying time is relatively short in addition to which the solid ingredients will be partly shielded from the heat by the eggs. For this reason, it is also best to cut or slice the vegetables into relatively small pieces.

 

In general if using onions, these should be sautéed gently in the frying pan until soft but not browned.

 

Aim to cook all vegetables until they are just tender before adding to the omelette. Depending on the vegetables being used, they can be partially boiled, micro-waved or  steamed however sautéing adds to the flavour.

 

Meats
Whatever meats, fish or poultry you add should also be thoroughly cooked first,  apart from items such as ham, smoked salmon or tinned items.  As a rule of thumb - if you can't eat it as it is, then it needs pre-cooking. Once again, these ingredients should be cut into quite small pieces.

 

Herbs and Seasonings

Roughly chop fresh herbs and finely chop chillies and garlic.

 

In most cases, herbs and seasonings such as cayenne pepper can just be stirred into the eggs in the mixing bowl or sprinkled evenly over the egg mixture as soon as it goes into the frying pan.  Chillies and garlic will have a better flavour if lightly sautéed beforehand.

 

Cheese

Cheese should be grated or crumbled.

 

How to cook an omelette

Here's a short video showing the steps for making a plain omelette which are:-

 

How to make an omelette video

 

Click here for full size video

1. Whisk the eggs  with a fork or balloon whisk in a large mixing bowl, adding salt, pepper and any remaining seasonings.

2. Heat enough butter or oil in the frying pan  to just cover the base of the pan over a medium/high heat until hot, then pour in the egg mixture.

3. Gently move the egg mixture around  in the pan with a fork, wooden spoon or spatula until much of the mixture is set, then continue to cook without stirring until just set then carefully fold the omelette over and transfer to a serving plate.

 

It should be noted that these types of French omelettes are only cooked on one side and shouldn't be turned or flipped in the pan. Although traditionally, the underside of the omelette should not be allowed to colour, if you don't like the very pale look,  just cook  over a higher heat.

 

Hints and Tips for making omelettes

  • Use an appropriately sized pan for the amount of egg mixture when making ordinary omelettes to avoid disappointing results. In general a 20cm/8-inch pan will cook an omelette made with up to 3 eggs. This will give the correct depth of egg mixture.
     

  • When making omelettes which will be used as a wrap, use a larger sized frying pan so the finished omelette will be thin enough to roll up around the filling ingredients and make sure you cook the omelette completely
     

  • If using butter by itself to cook the omelette, do not over heat before adding the eggs as it easily burns. Only heat until just sizzling and have your egg mixture ready to add to the pan. 
     

  • Do not over cook the eggs as they can quickly become rubbery. Only cook until just set or still a little runny in places as the mixture will continue to cook for a while once removed from the pan.
     

  • When using fillings, make sure they are cooked through and hot where necessary. As the eggs are just beginning to set, place the filling on one half of the omelette whilst still in the pan then gently  fold the opposite half over the filling. Using a wide utensil such as a fish slice is easier.
     

 

Omelette Recipes

Depending on the recipe, omelettes can be served hot or cold making them great for  breakfasts, lunch or dinner plus picnics and packed lunches: as a wrap or frittata they make an interesting and novel addition to children's school lunch boxes, providing a good source of protein and vitamins, with the added benefit that they can be cooked the evening before and refrigerated.

 

Following the above basic tips, you can use a multitude of ingredients to make delicious and interesting omelettes, but here' a link to some full omelette recipes to get you started.

Go to:   Omelette Recipes

 

 

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