In October, we received an incredible response from our article on “How to Make Better Eggs.” As many of you highlighted in the comments from that article, we left out one important method of preparation: the omelet. Of course, this was done for good reason, as we felt that omelets deserved a post all their own. So gentlemen, we continue our discussion today on the manly topic of breakfast with an exploration of how to make an omelet.
How to Make an Omelet
I know you’ve seen him. The guy on the breakfast buffet line that’s standing over the stove churning out omelets made to order. That guy! Seriously, who doesn’t love the omelet guy? The next time you find yourself at a breakfast buffet or crashing at an Embassy Suites, make sure to pay special attention to the man behind the fire. The “hotel omelet” (as I will refer to it in this post) is one of the easiest omelets to prepare. Let’s do a play-by-play:
You order up an omelet featuring one of several items sitting on display. The pan hits the heat along with a generous portion of melted butter or oil, followed by an array of finely diced ingredients. To finish, a pour of 2 – 3 frothy eggs, a quick scramble and a flip, cheese, and the essential fold. In less than 3 minutes you’ve got a perfectly satisfying meal. Who says you don’t have time to make a killer omelet in the morning?
Okay, so with all of that ease, why is it that the omelet is considered one of the more difficult breakfast dishes? It’s all about the details. New chefs looking for work are often required to make an omelet as part of their evaluation process. With so many techniques and varying opinions, even the slightest mention of proper omelet preparation definitely draws in critiques. For simplicity, in this article I’m only covering the two techniques that I use most often in the kitchen. The first, as described above, is what I will dub the “hotel omelet.” The second, we’ll just call the “classic.”
The “classic” omelet usually features heartier fillings that are prepared aside from the surrounding egg. Instead of finely diced and meager portions, the classic omelet is bursting with ingredients and fillings. For example, in one pan let’s say that I’ve sautéed some roughly chopped vegetables. To go along with the vegetables, on the side I have a generous portion of shredded cheese to use as my filling. Preparing all of these ingredients in the “hotel omelet” manner would be way too heavy and cumbersome to flip and cook appropriately. Instead, we simply prepare the egg portion on its own, and as the egg sets, we add the other cooked ingredients, fold, and serve. Seriously, it’s that easy.
The key in either method is preparing the actual eggs. Think of our Hot and Fast method for scrambling eggs. As the entire egg portion begins to set on the bottom, we begin to gently lift the cooked eggs off the surface and tilt the pan to allow the runny portion to run towards the heat. In this instance, instead of scrambling, the goal is to keep the entire egg portion intact, holding the shape of the pan.
The best quality of an omelet is its versatility. The eggs are a blank canvas for an endless combination of ingredients and flavors. I’ve highlighted some of my favorite combinations below.
- Western: Onion, Bell Pepper, Mushrooms, Ham, Cheddar Cheese
- Coastal: Onion, Mushrooms, Crab Meat, Mozzarella Cheese
- BBQ: Pulled Pork, BBQ Sauce, Green Onion, Cheddar Cheese
- Veggie: Onion, Spinach, Mushrooms, Tomato, Provolone Cheese
- Greek: Onion, Tomato, Spinach, Artichoke Hearts, Feta Cheese
- Arizona: Pico de Gallo, Diced Chicken, Sliced Avocado, Pepper Jack Cheese
- Mediterranean: Onions, Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives, Feta Cheese
- Creole: Red Bell Pepper, Crawfish Tail Meat, Chives, Gouda Cheese
- Lorraine: Caramelized Onion, Crispy Bacon, Gruyere Cheese
- Spanish: Chorizo, Piquillo Peppers, Green Olives, Manchego Cheese
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s get cooking. Remember, today’s article focuses on two simple omelet preparations dubbed the “hotel omelet” and the “classic omelet.” Feel free to share in the comments your preferred method and tips for other readers.