The best definition of a perfect French omelet is given, perhaps unwittingly, in Escoffier's American translation of his Guide Culinaire: Scrambled eggs enclosed in a coating of coagulated egg. This phrase in itself is none too appetizing, it seems to me, but it must do for want of a better man to say it. —M.F.K. Fisher
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Basic French Omelet

M.F.K. Fisher, How To Cook a Wolf - September 11th, 2013

Excerpted from How To Cook a Wolf by M.F.K. Fisher.

The best definition of a perfect French omelet is given, perhaps unwittingly, in Escoffier's American translation of his Guide Culinaire: "Scrambled eggs enclosed in a coating of coagulated egg." This phrase in itself is none too appetizing, it seems to me, but it must do for want of a better man to say it. [This is said much more simply in its own language: une omelette baveuse.]

A French omelet worthy of the man, if not the definition, can be made, the second time at least if the first time it turns into a stiff ugly curd, by following these directions:

BASIC FRENCH OMELET

  • 6 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons butter (good oil if absolutely necessary)
  • salt and pepper

Be sure that the frying pan (8 or 10 inches) is smooth on the inside. Heat the butter in it until it gives off a nutty smell but does not brown. ("This will not only lend an exquisite taste," Escoffier says, "but the degree of heat reached in order to produce the aroma will be found to ensure the perfect setting of the eggs.") Roll the pan to cover the sides with butter.

Beat eggs lightly with a fork, add seasoning, and pour into the pan. As soon as the edges are set, run a spatula under the center so that all the uncooked part will run under the cooked. [By now I know, fatalistically, that if I am using a pan I know, and if I have properly rolled the precise amount of sweet butter around that pan, and if the stars, winds, and general emotional climates are in both conjunction and harmony, I can make a perfect omelet without ever touching a spatula to it. Such occasions are historical, as well as accidental.] Do this once or twice, never leaving it to its own devices. When it is daintily browned on the bottom and creamy on top fold it in the middle (or roll if you are a master), slide it onto a dish, and serve speedily.

Chopped herbs, cheese mushrooms, and almost anything else may be added at your discretion, either at the first in the stirred eggs or when it is ready to fold. [Delicate creamed fowl or fish, generous in proportion to the size of each omelet, can be folded in, or new peas or asparagus tips, lightly cooked in butter.]