Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Perfect French Omelette

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The perfect French omelette is...well, not perfect.  It is definitely not fluffy or structured and above all, it doesn't require hours in the kitchen.  Five minutes at most is all you need.  You also don't need special utensils or omelette pans, just an everyday fork and a small skillet  will do the trick.  Trust me on this,  I have eaten plenty of omelettes in the French countryside over the years. 

A simple French omelette is one of your best bets for lunch when you are driving through France.  I have yet to have a bad one in all the times I have driven around looking for chateaux, churches, brocantes or battlefields.  You can stop at any roadside cafe anywhere in France and have a spectacular lunch if you stick to the basics.  For me that is an omelette with pommes frites or my other favorite,  the classic Frisee with Poached Eggs and Lardons; that is, unless I am driving through Normandy and then Moules and Frites take over.

Sometimes the simple recipes are the best recipes and I always encourage new cooks to master the simple before they tackle the more complicated.  Would you believe the first thing I ever made as a newlywed was an omelette?  No, not this one. Just a plain American cheese omelette , but I became such an expert that, for years, I was the master omelette maker in the family.

This was lunch today, albeit without the pommes frites.

Lunch For One (double or triple for more):

2 extra large eggs
dash of milk (optional)*
salt and pepper
1 TB. unsalted butter
1 scallion,chopped
2 TB Gruyere Cheese (or Swiss),  grated or thinly sliced with a peeler
Dash of Herbs de Provence.

Beat the eggs with a fork until slightly foamy.  Add a dash of milk*, salt and pepper to taste.  Grate or thinly slice the cheese and add to the eggs together with the Herbs the Provence.  Set aside.

Melt the butter in a medium skillet on medium high heat.  Add the chopped scallion and cook until translucent.  Add the egg mix all at once.

Once the eggs begin to set, swirl the pan around so the uncooked eggs move to the edges and create a new edge around the pan. If you get bubbles, deflate them with the tip of your fork. Move the fork around the pan in zigzag motion and around the edges and slightly separate the omelete from the pan.   When the omelette is almost cooked but still slightly runny, take your fork and fold over half the omelette to the other side.  This is the easy way. The classic way is to fold one third to the middle and then fold that again and unto the plate.  This is more typical of a French classic omelette,  but either way is fine.  Just keep it unstructured.

The trick here is a medium high temperature so the omelette can brown slightly on the outside and the inside will stay runny.  Everything is done with a fork.  You can also use a small spatula if you like.  Eggs cook quickly, so read through the recipe before you implement!

There are no set ingredients in a French omelette.  I used what was readily available today in my pantry.    Chevre is another great cheese for a French omelette and one which I use often. Add mushrooms, onions, chives, red peppers, whatever you have on hand.  The reason I add the dash of milk is simply to add olume without having to add a third egg, that's all.  It is not essential and will not alter the recipe in any other way.

My friend Reggie Darling , in his comment below, alerted me to this great video of Jacques Pepin making both types of French omelettes, Country and Classic.  Don't miss it!

Photos and recipe Lindaraxa
Last photo Google



  1. For my omlettes, I fold the outer thirds over the center; it is easy. But I want to try the way you suggested as I now remember that as the way done in France.

    1. Hi John,

      Watch the video, it shows both ways much better than I can put into words! From it you can see country is what I posted and the way I have always made my French omelettes. Classic is the standard but I tend to find them blah. Just a matter of preference I guess.

  2. There's a terrific YouTube video of Jacques Pepin deminstrating the art of making the perfect omelette. It looks so easy, and yes his technique has helped me in my quest to turn out perfect (well almost) omelettes (well almost) effortlessly! Reggie

    1. Reg, I found the video on both types of omelettes and added it to the post. I had a hard time explaining the folding part and as they say, A picture is a thousand words! Thanks.

  3. Don't you just love the simplicity of a genuine omelette as opposed to
    one that is gussied up with too much in the way of "filling"? It brings
    to mind Elizabeth David's remarks to the effect that an omelette ought to
    evoke something "pastoral" in its simplicity. Yet to be perfectly honest,
    such ideal simplicity can be elusive, and the making of an omelette hasn't
    been exactly foolproof each and every time. It would seem that a very
    hot pan is essential, otherwise the eggs are inclined to stick, which spells

    1. Toby, not very hot...medium high is the right temp. Eggs, except poached, should be cooked at a fairly high temperature. I am going to check out Elizabeth David's book on the subject of omelettes. Thanks for reminding me!

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  5. I loved this post and it has made me hungry for an omlette. This may very well be my dinner this evening with some heirloom salad greens I am growig in a huge pot on a stand on my patio. I have a flower garden and no room for salad greens so it works well especially since there is only the two of us. But I just love the frehness of these salad greens. They even smell so differently than what you buy in the grocery store. A salad will pare well this evening with an omlette. Thanks for sharing how you make your omlettes. After giving this some thought I think I shall do a post on my salad greens and stand.

    Carolyn/A Southerner's Notebook

  6. A salad and an omelette, hmmm. It is bitter cold in north Georgia tonight which called for something hearty; but I have to confess I've had an omelette the past couple of lunches. Been too lazy to go to the store since i came back from Florida. Enjoy!


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