Friday, April 14, 2017

The French Omelette – Soft, Shiny, and Superior

There is no more terrifying experience at culinary school than the French omelette exam. With your classmates rooting you on, and chef instructors watching intently, you head to the stove, with little more than three eggs, and a little butter…okay, a lot of butter…but that’s it.

It’s just you and the ingredients, with no way to fake perfection. A French omelette, or omelet, as we Americans call it, is 10% ingredients, and 90% technique. The good news is, the technique is really simple. The bad news is, it takes a little practice to perfect. But, after making a few hundred of these, you could probably do this half asleep, which is how many brunch cooks actually do it. Just be sure to start the folding as soon as the surface is wet, but not runny.

Feel free to stuff this with your favorite fillings, before folding up, but if you’ve never had one of these before, I highly recommend making one as shown. You’ll be amazed at just how delicious these few ingredients can be, when elevated using this method. Either way, I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for one omelette:
3 large farm-fresh eggs
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cold water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 for the pan, and 1/2 for when it’s done)
cayenne or white pepper to taste, optional

31 comments:

Paolo said...

Hello Chef John,

I was just wondering what does adding cold water do?

Dale Percy said...

Thank you for showing us your technique in making this, and I bet somewhere, Jacques Pépin is smiling!

Robin Betts said...

I once turned up late at a small French hotel. The kitchen and dining room were closed, but maman said she could do me an omelette, if I liked, and sat me at a table in a cosy back room. A few minutes later, she served me something so bloody wonderful I almost cried. I don't know, you could take me to any number of fancy restaurants, I don't believe I'd ever have a meal as memorable as that.

KBO said...

G'day Chef John,
Outstanding! So beautiful...
I vividly recall my Omelette test, many years ago. I must have worn out 20 chickens with the eggs I used in my 'homework study' for this test.
You're right, the more you do it the better you get... over time.
Thank you for bringing this French Essential Food to the Global YouTube audience.
There would be no more war if everyone could do this... and chicken farmers would be billionaires!
22 years ago I ordered a French Omelette in a New York diner... It's still going strong as a mouse pad!
"And, as usual, THANK YOU!"
Cheers, BH

beemo said...

Ha! I thought the method described by Julia Child in her classic book on French cooking was the nec plus ultra until I saw this. (Child's version, wherein you beat the eggs for only a few seconds, was one of the first fancy things I ever taught myself to cook, like about 30 years ago, I've been doing it ever since)

By the way here's a Food Wish: For centuries, one of the standard pub snacks in Europe was bread dipped in wine. The English called a piece of bread so treated a 'sop' -- remember Soppy Sopwell from that great old American-West-themed comic strip 'Tumbleweeds'? Anyway, I believe there must be a way to bring this great old tradition into the modern world.

How about: some kind of tray of baked slices of your French baguette, over which you drizzle a sauce made of red wine and home-made mayonnaise? (After extensive testing, I am convinced that red wine is much better with bread than white, but that's just me.)

I just had this idea in fact. A few minutes ago I made some toast with some decent homemade brown bread, dropped on some homemade red wine (aged 1 year), and spread with a bit of Hellman's. It was really something. Perhaps you could work up something like this that foodies wouldn't sneer at.

Collin Bruey said...

been makin em like this since Alton Brown showed me how.... nice video!

Unknown said...

Thanks Chef John! First time poster... Long time viewer.... And first recipe I attempted! Easy.... But I used a regular all clad pan and it did stick a bit..... So my end product appears to look like a fail. But the taste....Oh my! I served mine wth a side of Lipitor! Thank you for all of the amazing videos.

Lia said...

Made this for my wife this morning, went way faster than I imagined from video. Turned out great. Will definitely make again. Thanks chef John

Tori Taylor said...

I made this for breakfast today and I loved it! It's not as pretty as yours (I couldn't quite get the seam to fall on the bottom of the plate), but I was amazed at how delicious a few simple ingredients could be! Thank you!

Edward said...

Thanks for the idea of whipping the eggs until they are watery. Most chefs including Alton Brown advocate for minimal whipping. AB says it is to avoid incorporating air into the eggs which somehow slows the heating of the eggs. That doesn't seem to be a factor. I just did this, this morning and it worked like a charm. The flavor is more eggy than other omelette techniques, somehow. I need a new non-stick pan since I have been scrubbing my current pan too hard with the green side of a 3M sponge

Todd said...

This is the best French omelette method I've used so far! Just made two...so good. Next time fresh chives are in order.

Joe Fitzpatrick said...

This is a lot more difficult than it looks. I made a complete mess of it. I think my pan is too big. Anyway I ended up with delicious scrambled eggs so it's all good.

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

Looks wonderful!

Amy said...

Great video! Champagne or bubbly would be my pairing of choice. Thank you for the wonderful work you do!

Greybeard said...

Thanks again John for another stunning recipe. I always thought my omelette technique was fairly OK until I tried this but wow - this really does lift eggs, butter and salt to a totally new dimension.

JD said...

I tried this this morning, but had a hiccup. You said to heat the pan over medium high heat. That seems wrong to me considering I fry my morning egg over medium heat every morning. So I erred for medium. The egg cooked as soon as it hit the pan. I went through all 3 stages in about 10 second and the outside ended up caramelized anyway.

Are you sure you meant to say "medium HIGH?"

I make my French curd scrambled eggs over medium low while lifting the pan.

Sibbie said...

BEAUTIFUL! HAPPY EASTER CHEF JOHN.

rodentraiser said...

Thank you, thank you for the omelette recipe (and that looks so delicious!). But do you have any suggestions at all for making them in a pan that is not non-stick? I have stainless steel pans and it doesn't matter how low or high the heat is, or how much butter I use (I've even used oil), the result is always a 24 hour soak and and a wire scrub to get the pan clean after scrambled eggs.

I refuse to believe the French perfected their omelette in Teflon pans instead of copper pans and there just has to be a way to do this.

Alexander Colloredo-Mansfeld said...

I have a food wish! Could you make Kefthethes?

Daryl said...

We followed your instructions exactly, and boy was it delicious. Thanks, Chef.

MattSchwei said...

Thanks for this. I do appreciate these more basic technique videos.

Sorry to post this here (not sure where else to do it?), but I'd love to see your take on butterscotch pudding. Thank you!

Alexander Colloredo-Mansfeld said...

I have a Food Wish for Kefthethes!
PS I love your recipes!

IGnatius T Foobar said...

Chef John, I just recently discovered your YT channel and I'm so happy to have "food tv" again. I used to love watching the cooking shows on "that other" food network, back when they had them, back before they replaced everything with "food reality shows." Your videos are watchable by all skill levels, your recipes are approachable, and your delivery is warm and friendly. Well done!

Zachary Hammer said...

Great for the kitchen and the bedroom

Stella said...

Hello Chef John, I love your blog and enjoy trying your recipes. Youre so funny! hey, my mom makes a chicken divan that is really good and she likes it too. Will you do an episod on chicken divan so I can watch it and make the food for my mom?

thanks
Stella

Joseph Pitkat said...

Personally I would have added the salt while eggs were in the pan just before rolling it up. Love your videos!

Max Katzman said...

Going to make this tomorrow morning, so excited!

Chef John, I love you <3

Julia said...

I love eggs any style and thought I knew how to make an omelette. Just made this one according to Chef John's instructions and it was a revelation. My opinion is that it would be best to have it at its creamy and custardy best, and do the mushrooms, tomatoes, cheese in whatever combination should a side. (Maybe Chef John could help us all with that?)
Anyway, 5 Minutes to delicious cheap perfection: you cannot get any better than that.
Also, do not think that whisking the eggs until they are runny is optional, it is absolutely key.
Hurray for Chef John!

D Nelson said...

To date, the only omelette to leave my pan has been the dry, American (Canadian, in my case) version. The "wet" version will be a new experience and one I look forward to. Thanks Chef.

Gnominator said...

I made these last night for dinner and added some cheese as a filling. They weren't perfect (I need more practice!), but they were wonderful! I have also been practicing the techniques in Julia Chikd's cookbook. Is this technique considered a scrambled or a rolled omelette?

Rose the CatLady of 4th Street said...

I am a closet foodie and managed to get Husband to sit long enough to watch what I watch when he doesn't have control of the remote. He grumbled at first but once you started discribing the technique he was engrosed. We got up after seeing your youtube post and he made one for me. He askes for a french omlette on the weekends now instead of his standard carb ladened biscuits and gravy. You are a WIN WIN in our house!