Many people tend to shy away from making omelets, particularly French-style omelets, for fear of fancy technique. (Who hasn’t broken an omelet mid-fold and turned the dish into a delicious scramble instead?) Fear not, egg-lovers! Richard Grausman, author of French Classics Made Easy de-mystifies the fluffy French tri-folded omelet with step-by-step instructions—and a recipe for a French classic—below.
HOW TO FOLD AN OMELET
A French technique
American omelets are folded in half, whereas a French omelet is folded in thirds to encase its filling in a neat package. A professional chef folds an omelet and flips it out of the pan in one seamless motion, and you will, too, once you understand the following simple steps.
1. Stir the eggs until they are nearly set. Stop stirring and let the bottom of the omelet firm slightly.
2. Place the filling, if using, across the center of the omelet.
3. Push the omelet forward so the opposite side rises up.
4. Fold the risen portion to overlap the first fold.
5. With your hand grasping the handle of the pan from underneath, turn the omelet out folded side down onto a serving platter.
There are numerous approaches to omelet making, but I find that the technique that produces the best texture in the eggs is something I call the “stir-and-shake” method. The object is to keep the eggs moving (if the egg is allowed to sit too long over heat, it becomes hard and tough). When the eggs first hit the hot pan, I rapidly stir them off the bottom of the pan (as you would in making American-style scrambled eggs), at the same time shaking the pan gently. Then when the eggs are nearly set, I stop stirring and let the bottom of the omelet set, shaking the pan once or twice to keep it from sticking.
Everyone seems to have his own “secret” for making a light omelet. Some chefs add water or milk. (I know one who adds Tabasco sauce and swears by it.) I find that water or milk makes the eggs thinner, which might seem to be lighter, but to me, the only “secret” is working rapidly so the eggs do not toughen.
Omelet with Herbs
serves 1 or 2
An omelette aux fines herbes is one of the most popular omelets in France and one of the finest omelets I have ever eaten, but only when fresh herbs are used. It serves one as a main course or two as a first course.
- 3 eggs 1
- teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh chervil or parsley Pinch each of salt and freshly ground pepper
- ½ tablespoon butter
1. In a bowl, beat the eggs with the chopped herbs, salt, and pepper until just blended.
2. Melt the butter in a 7- to 8-inch nonstick omelet pan over medium-high heat.
3. Add the egg mixture to the pan and rapidly and constantly stir it with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula. If you can, gently shake the pan at the same time. When the eggs are nearly set but with a little liquid still remaining (you will see the bottom of your pan as you stir), stop stirring and shake the pan for a couple of seconds, making sure that the bottom of the pan is completely covered by the egg. At this point the eggs should be set, yet still moist. Stop shaking the pan and allow the bottom of the omelet to firm slightly, 4 to 5 seconds. (After making several omelets, you will be able to stir and shake the pan simultaneously.)
4. Fold the omelet into thirds by lifting the handle and tilting the pan at a 30-degree angle. With the back of the spoon or spatula, fold the portion of the omelet nearest the handle toward the center of the pan. Gently push the omelet forward in the pan so the unfolded portion rises up the side of the pan. With the pan now flat on your cooking surface, fold this portion back into the pan, overlapping the first fold. Grasping the handle of the pan from underneath, turn the omelet out onto a serving plate so it ends up folded side down. Serve immediately.
For the past 40 years Richard Grausman, America’s premier culinary teacher, has been training American chefs in a simpler, better way of French cooking. This month, get French Classics Made Easy for just $2.99!