Growing up, I loved scrambled eggs and made them often for breakfast, usually accompanied by thick slabs of crispy bacon and hash browns, or sometimes smoked salmon and sour cream and chives. I very much like omelettes as well, but my early attempts were less than stellar. It seemed like I always managed to overcook the eggs, and could never get the omelette to roll into that quintessential classic shape.
Then, I saw how Jacques Pépin made making omelettes seem so effortless and perfect. That was the technique I would emulate – simple, classic and delicious. Following his technique, I would quickly become the master of the omelette, or so I thought. Fast forward to today. I don’t know how many cartons of eggs I’ve gone through, but I am still far from mastering the classic French omelette. Having said that, my omelettes have improved considerably and maybe one in two have that beautiful classic color, texture and shape to them. The good thing is that making omelettes is fun practice, and even if the results don’t always look perfect, they are delicious.
This recipe is for a classic French omelette with fines herbes, a blend of four herbs (chervil, parsley, chives and tarragon) which are a mainstay of French cuisine. Together, these herbs really elevate an omelette to another level. There is a technique though, to making a classic omelette. While stirring the eggs, the skillet should also be shaken back and forth in order to keep the curds as small as possible. I found this technique similar to patting your head and rubbing your stomach, tough at first but doable with practice. You don’t want the eggs to brown as this will toughen the albumen, that is why the omelette is constantly stirred and shaken while cooking. A classic omelette if properly cooked will have the same tenderness on the outside as on the inside, and tastes simply sublime. Now, I just need to practice, practice, practice.
Classic French Omelette
Makes one omelette
- 2 large eggs
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- 2 Tbsp. finely chopped herbs (chervil, chives, flat leaf parsley and tarragon)
- Pinch kosher salt
- Fresh ground pepper, to taste
- In a bowl, rapidly whisk the eggs until very well combined. If you lift the fork, there should be no strands of egg whites. Finely chop the herbs and mix into the eggs, along with a dash of salt and pepper.
- On medium heat, melt butter in a small (6-8″) non-stick skillet. Pour in the eggs, stirring constantly (with the flat of a fork or a silicone spatula) while shaking the skillet back and forth, keeping the curds as small as possible. Continue stirring and shaking until the eggs begin to coagulate, about 2 minutes.
- When the eggs begin to set but are still runny on top, tilt the skillet to let the eggs run to the end opposite the handle. Stop stirring, let the eggs set a bit more, and fold the eggs near the handle to the center of the omelette, covering the thick center (it should still be moist).
- Fold the opposite end of the eggs back over the center of the omelette and lightly press the sides of the omelette to shape it.
- Holding the skillet with an underhand grip in one hand, tap the pan until the omelette moves to the edge of the pan. Bring a serving plate to the skillet and invert the omelette onto the plate, seam side down. Press the ends of the omelette with a fork to form a point at each end.
- If cooked properly, the egg should not have any brown spots on the outside and the inside of the omelette should be velvety and – my preference – slightly runny. Just remember, in a classic French omelette, the eggs are the star of the show! Bon Appetit!