Friday, March 16, 2007

Speaking of omelets

There's a scene in the movie Deep Blue Sea (about intelligent sharks and an isolated research station; essentially a haunted house story) where LL Cool J's character (Sherman 'Preacher' Dudley) believes that he is about to die, and all he has is a video camera, so he figures he should record his last words. What does he have to say in this, his final hour? He looks into the lense and says, "We will start with the perfect omelet, which is made with two eggs not three. Amateurs often add milk for density. This is a mistake."

Truer words were never spoken.

Among the few good things I'm known for is my ability to turn out a tasty omelet. So in the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that the cream in the omelette Lyonaise was a departure for me; I did it only because the recipes all said to. My usual omelet procedure runs thus:
  • Put a hefty skillet on medium heat (a heavy pan makes for more even heat transfer; lower heat & longer time make for a fluffier omelet).
  • Whisk two eggs.
  • Prepare your fold-ins (cheese, olives, whatever).
  • Toss a lump of butter into the pan, and slide it off-center on the burner (if your stove isn't level, you'll want the uphill side of the pan on the center of the heat).
  • Pour in the egg and give the pan a quick wobble to spread the egg evenly.
  • Put your fold-ins on the side of the omelet that will stay down.
  • As soon as the side directly over the heat will no longer run, fold it over the other side.
  • Slide the skillet over so the other side of the pan (with the folded omelet) is over the center of the heat.
  • When it starts to puff up, slide it onto a plate. It's done.

The keys for me are 1) medium heat and 2) not bothering it too much. Just let it sit there and cook. (This despite that wonderful reconciliation omelet scene at the end of Big Night.)

A word about spinach. I like it. I like omelets. It was inevitable that I would try a spinach omelet. The recipes had me wilting the spinach in the skillet and pouring the egg on top of it. I didn't like the way this dried the spinach that stayed in contact with the pan. I tried wilting the spinach, removing it from the pan, and treating it like any other fold-in, but I found the spinach just a bit too moist this way for my tastes. What I do now is
  • whisk 2 eggs and set aside,
  • wilt the spinach in a skillet (throw a lot in, it shrinks way down),
  • remove it from the skillet and whisk it into the eggs,
  • pour eggs and spinach into the pan, and
  • cook that omelet.
  • I often fold in a little cheese (brie or a sharp cheddar both work admirably well).
That's a spinach omelet I can eat.

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