Art of the French Omelette
If you’ve heard of French omellete recipes, there is a lot of debate about what this actually means. And with so many recipes that mention French omelette, there are many more that usually have ingredients inside the omelette itself. Here’s a little secret I want to share with you.
What makes a French Omelette?
The one truth about making an omelette using French methods is very simple by definition. This includes eggs and butter and in reality, that’s all there is to it. The egg must be prepared in a way that the texture is very soft and fluffy, so obviously it needs to be whisked so you get evenly created bubbles all throughout the mixture.
When it’s cooked, the texture is intended to be silky and moist and isn’t supposed to be overcooked. As long as you have a delicately cooked egg, this is how your finished recipe should be. Another vital ingredient is butter, which gives added flavor to any omelette. Too often, this is replaced with low-calorie alternatives that were never a concern 50 years ago.
Now that leaves us with the burning question about fillings. And this is where adding white pepper is all part of the charm of French cooking. The pepper flavor remains but doesn’t pepper your omelette surface with little black specks. You also shouldn’t have any ingredients that are showing on the outside of the egg, so it’s better to be added within the centre.
This is where using medium-high heat is essential to get a wonderful yellow egg color that’s cooked but not brown in color. This not only makes it a challenge for those who are new to French cooking. You can’t use standard cooking pans, this will call for a cast-iron pan because of the evenly distributed heat.
It also requires that you’ve seasoned a pan to get the best non-stick surface that keeps delicate ingredients like an egg from sticking at all. Butter is a natural non-stick additive for omelettes so cooked egg slides out with little or no effort. This can be problematic for some Teflon-coated pans that can ruin cooked omelettes right away. We saw this omelette pan article where omelettes were made with various pans showing more or less the same results regardless of the type of non-stick pans used.
If you keep in mind all of these elements, the art of the French Omelette will be a cinch for making in your home kitchen. If not, your not really cooking the French way, which is why French cooking includes these specific rules. Here’s my favorite recipe for making a simple French omelette that sticks to these exact requirements.
As the great chef, Julia Child, once noted, read through the entire recipe before making your first omelet. Egg recipes move very quickly and there is no time to consult your recipe once you’ve begun the process.
French Omelette Recipe
- 4 Medium eggs (range free)
- 5 Grams Butter (or 1 teaspoon olive oil)
- White pepper
- 2 Slices Bayonne ham (thin sliced)
- 2 Tablespoons Fresh chives (finely chopped)
- The secret to this recipe is getting your eggs to be fluffy enough so your cooked French omelette will be light and fluffy. You could use a fork which will take forever, though a handy kitchen whisk makes small bubbles in your egg mix that works wonders. Add white pepper (and salt) for seasoning.
- Use a frying pan that will be large enough for all of your eggs. Any standard large pan is perfect yet a pan that heats quickly including a cast-iron pan is best for French cooking. Heat your pan over medium-high heat and start to melt your butter. This should be spread over the entire surface and up onto the sides of your pan.
- When the butter becomes foamy and starts to lightly brown, it’s ready for adding your whisked egg mixture. As the sides of the mixture start to cook this needs to be dragged down to the liquid centre. You now quickly allow more uncooked eggs to coat along the sides.
- This method helps keep much of your egg staying undercooked to get a fluffy centre. As you finish off your omelette, you then add your slices of Bayonne ham in the centre and cover this with half of your chives. Save the rest for topping it off. The rest of the eggs around the sides will be golden brown as they are folded over.
- You want to fold the entire omelette in half and shuffle your pan to release the rest of your omelette from the pan. This is then transferred to a serving dish where you add the rest of the chives on top.