How to Make a Perfect French Omelet
How do you say “need this now” in French?
Omelet making is a skill that takes time, patience, a gentle touch, and a whole lot of eggs and butter. The absolute perfect French omelet should be smooth and pale (there should never be any browning) on the outside and creamy, curdy, and custardy on the inside. With that said, even omelets that are just shy of perfect are still insanely delicious, perhaps just a bit rough around the edges. Ready to give it a whirl? Here's how it's done:
Whisk Your Eggs
Grab the finest eggs you can find and whisk them together. Typically, for a medium to large skillet, one omelet is 3 large eggs. It's important that these eggs are whisked vigorously for at least 30 seconds to ensure that the whites and yolks are fully incorporated and there are no residual streaks.
Lift the eggs up with a whisk or fork — if it is one steady, uniform stream of liquid, then it's ready. If there are streaks of whites, keep whisking. Season the eggs with a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Traditionalists would call for white pepper, but you do you.
Melt the Butter
You always want to use a nonstick pan for an omelet. Set it over medium-low heat and slowly melt 1 tablespoon of butter (for a 3-egg omelet). Once the butter is melted, swirl it around in the pan so that the entire bottom is coated.
Add the Eggs and Stir
When the eggs are added into the buttered skillet, you should not hear a sizzling sound. If you do, your pan is too hot and you should turn down the heat. Once the eggs are in, use a rubber spatula to mix them around in the pan, while using your other hand to move the skillet in a small, circular motion.
By agitating the eggs like this, you're creating soft pillowy curds while ensuring that the egg doesn't cook too fast and start to set too quickly. This part happens slowly, so if it seems like nothing is happening, just give it some time. Omelet making is nothing more than a test of your patience.
Let It Set
Once you start to see small, fluffy curds forming, it's time to let your omelet rest over very low heat. The eggs should set just enough so that you have something to peel back when you touch the edges with your rubber spatula. The top will still look slightly wet — and that's okay.
Add Your Fillings (optional)
A traditional French omelet is just eggs, butter, and salt, but if you want to jazz up your omelet with some fillings, now is the time to do so. Add any cooked meats (like bacon, sausage, or ham) or crumble in some goat cheese or Boursin. If you want to add in some veggies, add a scant layer of sauteed mushrooms, peppers, or spinach. Just make sure that whatever filling you add is already cooked, because it's not going to get a whole lot of time on the heat. Add the ingredients in a small row towards one side of the omelet so that it can be easily rolled up.
Roll It Up
From here, tilt your pan to the side and start turning from the higher end of the skillet, using gravity to help gently roll up your omelet into 1-inch intervals.
As you're rolling, you can add a tiny knob of butter to the exposed part of your skillet as you roll for added richness.
Plate and Garnish
Once the omelet is fully rolled, you'll want to slide it onto a serving plate, seam side down. If you really want to give your omelet the superstar treatment, you can even rub a little softened butter on the top of it for a dewy glisten. Top it off with some fresh chives, flaky salt, and freshly ground black pepper and you're good to go. The inside should be super soft and creamy while the outside is pale and smooth.
The goal here is to avoid any browning on the exterior without any area on the inside being too runny or undercooked. It's certainly an art of timing and precision, but with enough practice, you'll be slinging omelets with your eyes closed. And even if it's not a perfect French omelet, it will still be darn good.