April 28, 2014

An omelet makes a filling and healthful meal anytime of the day. There are endless possibilities for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. Large omelets can be made to share or individual omelets can be made one at a time.

According to Wikipedia, the French word, "omelette" was first used in the mid-16th century. A legend claims Napoleon Bonaparte along with his army were traveling through the south of France when they stopped to rest for the evening. A local innkeeper prepared an omelet that was so delectable Napoleon demanded the townspeople to gather all the eggs in the village to make a huge omelet for his army.

No matter the time of day, an omelet is a satisfying meal that can be tailored to suit everyone's tastes.

Classic Filled Omelet

My favorite omelets are perfectly golden on the outside and filled with ingredients I love. Omelets require a little skill, but with a bit of patience you can make a perfect omelet at home. My father taught me how to make a ham and cheese omelet many years ago around the holidays as we always had leftover ham from Christmas dinner. I have found a two-egg omelet is the easiest to manage and I don't add milk to the eggs.

Have all fillings ready and nearby. Beat two eggs in a medium bowl with a whisk. Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium heat and add plenty of butter or margarine to coat the pan to the very edges. Pour in egg mixture. Let eggs cook until they begin to set. Using a silicon spatula slowly begin to drag the wet parts of the eggs from the inside to the outside edges. Using the handle lift pan, roll eggs into place so the entire bottom of the pan is filled with eggs. Watch carefully and use spatula to peek at underside of eggs if desired.

As soon as eggs are set, gently slide spatula under eggs and flip to the other side. Quickly sprinkle cheese and fillings onto eggs. Once eggs are cooked on the other side (before the eggs have browned) use handle of skillet to slide omelet onto plate and tilt the pan to fold the omelet in half.

Steamed Omelet

If you're not confident about preparing an omelet on the stove, try a steamed omelet instead. It will take more time, but it's almost foolproof.

Mix together eggs and desired ingredients (meat, veggies, cheese, etc.). Pour the eggs into a steamer. If you have a bamboo steamer, use that to steam the omelet. If you don't have a steamer, create one using two pots, a large one and a smaller one that fits inside. Fill the larger pot with a few inches of water, and set the smaller pot on top. Put the pots on the stove and turn it to medium heat. Pour the eggs into the smaller pot and put a lid on top. Cook the eggs until they are set. Let the steam cook the eggs for about 10 minutes, or until the top is set. When you jiggle the steamer or the pan, the eggs will move slightly, but they should no longer look wet. Remove the omelet from heat and cut into slices. Serve immediately.

French Herb Omelette

Wikihow.com has a variety of ways to prepare an omelet including one with herbs such as fines herbs (I always add fines herbs to my scrambled eggs before cooking, it's my secret ingredient), tarragon, chervil, parsley, dill, oregano, or chives.

Heat a pat of butter in a small metal skillet. Place the skillet on a burner and turn the heat to medium high. Let the butter melt completely and make sure the pan gets very hot (don't use a nonstick skillet to make an omelet using this technique as the high heat can case the nonstick coating to flake off).

Beat and season the eggs. This method works best with just two eggs, but you could add a third if you're quite hungry. While the butter is melting, put two or three eggs in a bowl and beat them with a whisk until the yolks and whites are combined. Using more eggs will create an omelet too thick to make with this technique; the egg mixture should spread thinly across the pan you are using.

Season the eggs with a little salt and pepper, and sprinkle in chopped herbs to taste. A half teaspoon each of three or four herbs seasons the eggs quite well. Pour the eggs into the pan. Be sure the pan is very hot first; the butter should be sizzling. As soon as the eggs hit the pan they will begin to bubble and cook. Stay close by, since the eggs cook very quickly when you use this technique.

Cook the first side for 30 seconds. Flip the omelet. Pick up the pan and quickly move your wrist in a circular motion to flip the omelet to the other side. Be careful not to let the omelet flip out of the pan; use a controlled motion so that it stays centered. This technique can take some practice. The pan should have enough butter so that the omelet easily slides across its surface and flips. Use a spatula to turn the omelet over if you'd prefer not to chance flipping it.

Slide the omelet onto a plate. After the second side has cooked for about 20 seconds, slide the omelet onto a plate and use the lip of the pan to fold it over, into a trifold or flat onto a plate. This quick technique turns out simple, flavorful, perfectly cooked omelets.

Baked Omelet

A baked omelet is another easy way to prepare eggs. This recipe from All Recipes can be made with as many ingredients as you'd like including meat, cheese, or diced vegetables. The cooking time is longer, but it gives you enough time to prepare a colorful fruit salad to go alongside the fluffy, creamy eggs.

1 teaspoon butter

9 large eggs

½ cup sour cream

½ cup milk

1 teaspoon salt (can also add garlic powder, paprika, and black pepper)

2 green onions, chopped

¼ cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x8-inch baking dish with butter. Beat eggs, sour cream, milk, and salt in a bowl until blended. Stir in green onions. Pour mixture in the prepared baking dish.

Bake in the preheated oven until set, 25 to 30 minutes. Sprinkle Cheddar cheese over eggs and continue baking until cheese is melted, 2 to 3 minutes more.

Makes 6 servings

Omelet filling can include everything but the kitchen sink. Load up your omelet with your favorite meats and vegetables and top it off with some cheese. Here are some ingredient combinations to inspire an idea for your next omelet:

Denver Omelet (my personal favorite) - diced ham, green peppers, onion, and Cheddar cheese

Southwestern Omelet - chorizo sausage, green chiles, picante sauce, black beans, and queso fresco cheese

Greek Omelet - sautéed vegetables, leftover pasta, tomatoes, and feta cheese

Smoked ham, watercress, and cream cheese

Bacon, Swiss cheese and tomatoes

Spinach, tomatoes, onion and mushrooms

Leftover pizza toppings: spinach, mushrooms, prosciutto, olives, artichokes, and roasted red peppers

Spinach and ricotta cheese

Smoked mozzarella, sun-dried tomato, and basil pesto

Sliced apples and brie

Caramelized onion and spinach

Leftover taco meat, onions, jarred jalapenos and cheese topped with salsa and sour cream (sour cream is surprisingly good on top of an omelet)

Turkey and avocado

Havarti and portabella mushrooms

Maple or apple chicken sausage, Monterey Jack cheese and sweet onion

Spinach, garlic and cream cheese

Chili and cheese

White creamy sauce with either shrimp or mushrooms

Smoked salmon, cream cheese, red onion, tomato, dill, and capers (this is also my favorite combination on a toasted bagel sandwich)

Leftover roasted vegetables, sautéed onions and Gouda cheese

Other omelet add-ins:

hash browns

crab meat



sliced pimiento-stuffed green olives

fresh mozzarella



artichoke hearts in garlic and olive oil