One of the first things a cook is tested on is their ability to cook an egg. Proper egg cookery is the ultimate combination of timing and method. And when done right? Divine. Taking on the monster of all egg dishes, I set out to make the perfect ‘French’ omelette. After consuming many, many omelettes, I think I’ve got it down. It’s a quick method, and the result makes it a skill well worth knowing.
There are two caveats to my ‘French’ omelette. First, I used a non-stick pan, instead of seasoned omelette pan. Second, omelettes are supposed to be cooked in clarified butter because it has a higher smoke point than regular butter. However, for this recipe I used vegetable oil instead — because frankly, who has the time. The entire cooking time for a French omelette should take under 1 minute — so be sure to read through the instructions fully before you begin:
Step 1: Heat a small to medium non-stick pan with sloped edges over medium-high. This may seem counter intuitive, as we have all been taught to cook eggs at a moderate heat, but omelettes are cooked very quickly, so ideally they won’t have time to burn.
Step 2: Crack 2 eggs in a medium bowl and whisk with a fork just until smooth — not frothy. Season with salt and pepper.
Step 3: Add 1 tsp vegetable oil into your hot pan. Give it a moment to heat up and then swirl oil in the pan to coat.
Step 4: Pour eggs into the hot pan and immediately begin stirring the eggs with the back of a fork, while vigorously shaking the pan with the other hand. While stirring, the uncooked portion of the eggs will seep into the open sections of the pan, evenly cooking the eggs. Stop shaking and stirring once the eggs have begun to set but are still very moist in appearance, you don’t want gaps in your omelette (this stage is very quick, maximum 30 seconds). If your eggs begin to brown you have cooked them too long.
Step 5: Tilt the pan away from you, so the omelette slides away from you, partially up the slope of the pan. If you have filling, scoop it in now. Using your fork, help guide the edge of the omelette over the filling, and then flip the opposite edge over as well. Remove pan from heat.
Step 6: Hold the pan above a plate. Continue tilting the pan away from you and flip the omelette onto a plate, seam-side is down. Voila!
1. If you like a stuffed omelette, the filling should be fully prepared (and warm) in advance so it can be added to the omelette at the very end of cooking.
2. If you are cooking for a large group you can whisk all your eggs in a large bowl so that step is done. Two eggs is equal to about 1/2 cup. Have your 1/2 cup of liquid measured out (for example, find a ladle or other utensil that equals this amount) and handy so you only scoop what you need as you go.
3. Don’t keep them hot in the oven. There is a reason why eggs are cooked ‘a la minute’, they are notoriously spongy when held overheat for a long time. Serve omelettes as they are cooked, even if it means people get them at different times. Have other items on the table for them to nibble on while you cook.
Maybe poached eggs are more your thing? Here’s how to cook them:
Originally published January 2013. Updated February 2016.
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