Beaten eggs cooked in a pan and rolled or folded. The ancient Romans supposedly made the first omelet and, because it was sweetened with honey, they called it ovemele (eggs and honey). Some insist this was the origin of the word omelet. Others maintain the word was derived from amelette (Fr.) meaning blade, describing the long flat shape of an omelet.
Whatever its origin, an omelet can hold or be topped with any food from caviar to leftover meatloaf. The list of filling and topping possibilities is endless, limited only by your imagination and the contents of your refrigerator.
Omelets take different forms depending on how you cook them. Quick and easy (about a minute or two) on top of the range gives you the French or plain omelet. (Using the microwave adds the convenience of no-stir cooking.) Separately beat the egg yolks and whites and finish the omelet in an oven and you have a puffy or soufflé omelet.
Although you may have heard that omelets requite special pans and Cordon Bleu skills, it just isn't so. Omelets are easy to make.
Omelets cook so quickly that the filling should be selected and prepared before starting the eggs. ~see Frittata, Omelet Fillings
Basic French (Plain) Omelet (1 serving)
Multiply the recipe by as many servings as you need and use ½ cup of the egg mixture for each omelet. For a sweet dissert omelet, substitute a pinch of sugar for the salt and pepper.
Beat together eggs, water, salt and pepper until blended. In 7- to 10-inch omelet pan or skillet over medium-high heat, heat butter until just hot enough to sizzle a drop of water. pour in egg mixture. (Mixture should set immediately at edges.) With an inverted pancake turner, carefully push cooked portions at edges toward center so uncooked portions can reach hot pan surface, tilting pan and moving cooked portions as necessary. When top is thickened and no visible liquid egg remains, fill, if desired. With pancake turner, fold omelet in half or roll. Invert onto plate with a quick flip of the wrist or slide from pan onto plate.
Basic French (Plain) Microwave Omelet (1 serving)
The secret of a tender, easily rolled microwave French omelet is a tight-fitting cover. No stirring is needed since trapped steam helps to cook the omelet evenly.
In a 9-inch pie plate, cook butter on full power until melted, about 45 seconds. Spread to coat bottom of plate. Beat together remaining ingredients until blended. Pour into plate. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Cook on full power about 2 to 3 minutes, rotating ¼ turn each 30 seconds. Do not stir. When top is thickened and no visible liquid egg remains, fill, if desired. With pancake turner, fold omelet in half or roll and slide from pie plate onto serving plate.
Note: All microwave cooking times are based on a full power output of about 600 to 700 watts. For a lower wattage oven, allow more time.
Basic Puffy (Soufflé) Omelet (2 servings)
To preserve the puff, fold the soufflé omelet over its filling or serve it open-faced with the filling on top as soon as you remove it from the oven. Substitute a pinch of sugar for the salt if you filling is sweet.
In large mixing bowl, beat egg whites with water and cream of tartar at high speed until stiff but not dry, just until whites no longer slip when bowl is tilted. In small mixing bowl, beat egg yolks with salt at high speed until thick and lemon-colored. Gently, but thoroughly, fold yolks into whites.
In 10-inch omelet pan or skillet with ovenproof handle* over medium-high heat, heat butter until just hot enough to sizzle a drop of water. Pour in egg mixture and gently smooth surface. Reduce heat to medium. Cook until puffed and lightly browned on bottom, about 5 minutes. (Lift omelet at edge to judge color.) Bake in preheated 350ºF. oven until knife inserted halfway between center and outer edge comes out clean, about 10 to 12 minutes. Loosen omelet edges with spatula.
To Serve Folded: With sharp knife, cut upper surface down center of omelet but DO NOT cut through to bottom of omelet. Fill, if desired. Tip skillet. With pancake turner, fold omelet in half and invert onto warmed plate or platter with a quick flip of the wrist. To Serve Open-Faced: Invert pan over warmed plate or platter, or slide omelet from pan onto plate. Spoon or sprinkle filling, if desired, over top. Cut in half or into wedges. Serve immediately.
*To make handle ovenproof, wrap completely with aluminum foil.