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The Trick To Making The Most Delicious, Fluffy Omelet

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We eat a lot of eggs in our home. Farm fresh, they just can't be beat for nutrition, versatility, and frugality.

The omelet has always eluded, me, though. I fry, I scramble, I bake, I frittata, but on the rare occasion that I actually did make an omelet it was tough and only the fillings were good.

Until now.

I was looking through an old copy of Cook's Illustrated and when I read about adding butter to the beaten eggs and the science behind it I was reminded of Julia Child and her butter makes-it-better philosophy. While our family happily uses butter every day because it is, in fact, healthy, this butter trick has revolutionized my egg world and I know that my children and husband are going to be happier for it.

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Because I will be making omelets now. Stuffed with swiss and ham, spinach & cheddar, asparagus & parmesan – they will all be light, fluffy and delicious.

The trick? Simply add small cubes of (cold) butter to the beaten egg before adding it to the pan. As the butter melts it creates a buffer between the (large amounts) of protein in the egg. This produces a lighter texture since the proteins are not able to cling to one another so tightly.

And it is seriously good.

I am now thinking that whatever comes out of our garden this year will be promptly stuffed into fluffy, golden eggs.

Recipe: Basic Fluffy Omelet

Note: I think the key to an easy-to-make omelet is a cast iron skillet. I don't like teflon because it is made non-stick by toxic chemicals, but a cast-iron skillet, properly cared for, makes even better eggs.

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Ingredients

  • 2-3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 tablespoon cold butter, broken into small pieces + extra for the pan
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • fillings: cheese, bacon, ham, greens, asparagus, tomato, onion, or any other vegetable you have lying around.

Directions

  1. Place a 9" cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat and allow to heat up. Meanwhile crack your eggs into a small bowl and beat lightly. Add little bits of butter, salt and pepper to eggs, mix, and set aside.
  2. Prep your fillings: cook bacon pieces right in your warming skillet, chop veggies, grate or slice cheese, etc.
  3. Once the skillet is hot add about 1 tablespoon of butter, swirl, and add egg mixture. Allow to set 1-2 minutes. Now grab the handle of the skillet with a hot pad, tilt the handle up, and use a rubber spatula to gently push the edge of one side of the omelet towards the center a bit, allowing the runny egg to flow into its place. Repeat 2-3 more times on different sides.
  4. Once it looks fairly set and just a bit runny on top you can fill the omelet or if you're like me and don't enjoy runny omelets you can very carefully flip your eggs using a large spatula. Then fill one half, folding the other half over the top of the fillings.
  5. Remove from pan and season to taste as needed. Serve with a salad or other vegetable.

Bon Appetit!

Show Comments


 

  • I love this trick too -- it revolutionized omelets in my kitchen. And I totally agree on your butter comment. A bit of butter is healthy and yummy. BUT -- you overstated the risk of non-stick pans. The danger only occurs when they are heated above 500 degrees. Omelets are cooked on medium and the pan should stay under 300 degrees so non-stick pans for eggs and omelets are perfectly safe. A good review of the topic may be found here: http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/product-testing/reviews-tests/kitchen-cooking/nonstick-cookware-safety-facts This is Good Housekeeping's site so not biased by any pro- or con- agenda. I love your blog. Reply
    Sandra March 8, 2011 AT 8:53 am
     
  • So my question about the non-stick pans is where does the non-stick go? I have had non-stick pans that I was very careful to use at the correct temperature and eventually, the non-stick surface goes away. Where does it go if not into the food. I agree with Shannon, cast iron is the best way to cook and it is not hard to maintain at all! Reply
    Lisa March 9, 2011 AT 9:14 pm
     
  • Lisa - Yes, that is my understanding. The coating contains things I would never want to feed my family and almost all cookware leeches a tiny, tiny amount of whatever it is made of into the food. So I am comfortable with cast-iron because as long as you do not cook acidic things like tomatoes not very much leeches into the food, and besides that my MD actually recommended cooking with cast iron when I was anemic because the iron in the pan is one that is friendly to the body. Plus people cooked with cast-iron for generations with no known side effects, where as teflon is brand new and only the last two generations exist as a test case. Reply
    Shannon, Nourishing Days March 10, 2011 AT 7:53 am
     
  • Sandra - I don't believe that I did overstate the risks. Teflon contains a fluoronated hydronated chlorine compound. Both fluorine and chlorine are highly reactive and not friendly to the body. I worked in the lab for four years studying chemistry and both me and my chemical engineering father-in-law won't touch teflon because we know what these types of elements and compounds do to the body. When you have to wear gloves and goggles to work with them I wouldn't want to be testing them out on my family as a form of cookware. Also, good housekeeping is not necessarily an independent source because they receive advertising dollars from all sorts of companies, and even possibly teflon corporations. Reply
    Shannon, Nourishing Days March 10, 2011 AT 7:57 am
     
  • Shannon - Finally, the trick behind a perfect omelet! I am super pumped; I try omelets frequently, but the perect omelet has always eluded me as well. Can't wait to try this! I am going to link up this post too! Love it! Reply
    Courtney Milam April 4, 2011 AT 8:06 am
     
  • Due to my forgetfulness and not soaking oatmeal this a.m. we will be having omelets tomorrow morning. Perfect timing. Thanks!! I am asking for cast iron for my birthday!!! :) Reply
    Mary Kathryn April 4, 2011 AT 10:17 pm
     
  • Thanks so much for this tidbit. I have been adding fresh milk and a smidgen of baking powder (without aluminum) to make them fluffy but I look forward to trying this! @Sandra, please don't believe everything corporate America tells you. They're the same people that have created obesity and rampant illness in society, the same ones that have told us high fructose corn syrup and soy in everything is healthy. THROW AWAY your non-stick . As close to nature as possible is the healthiest path. Cast iron is wonderful!!!! AND they become non-stick with usage. Very important to understand the easy but necessary care required. Reply
    R S April 5, 2011 AT 11:10 am
     
  • Courtney - Great! Let us know how your omelets turn out. Reply
    Shannon, Nourishing Days April 5, 2011 AT 12:32 pm
     
  • Mary Kathryn - An excellent gift choice! Reply
    Shannon, Nourishing Days April 5, 2011 AT 12:32 pm
     
  • RS - Yes, cast iron is only as good as you treat it. I did a post about how I take care of mine here: http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2010/11/my-simple-cast-iron-care-routine.html Reply
    Shannon, Nourishing Days April 5, 2011 AT 12:34 pm
     
  • Can you use "I can't believe it's not butter!" instead of using regular butter? Reply
    Tina May 13, 2013 AT 7:55 pm
     
  • awesome!! truly delicious and fluffy! Reply
    Otis November 21, 2013 AT 11:39 am
     
  • Tuesday night I cooked some Trader Joe's Palak Paneer, the Indian dish of spinach and curd cheese. I didn't wish to eat all of it, and then thought it would make an excellent omelet filling. However, my omelets are usually too dense and hard, so did a quick scan of sites for "fluffy omelets" - discovering (elsewhere) that some folks don't like fluffy omelets. There are many methods, such as beating the egg whites separately, and then folding them back in. However, I'm a no fuss kind of guy, and had never heard of the butter method before, so decided to try it. My initial reaction is just how do you keep the butter pieces separate after cutting them, and how do you get them to drop off your knife into the egg/milk mix. I also discovered that there are separate camps for water, milk, cream, or just eggs. I had cut a 1/8" slice of butter, and then cubed it, but it definitely didn't want to stay cubed. I decided that next time I'll do this ahead and then semi-freeze it, which will hopefully keep the cubes separate and make it easier to get them off my knife. I feel strongly that it is essential to start with a medium - hot pan, so the eggs form a solid structural shell. Without this, it's almost impossible to flip or remove the omelet - even with a non-stick (shhh . . .) pan. However, my problem is often forgetting to turn it down right away, so that in a minute I have a very firm egg tortilla. However, today I made a point of doing this, and then used a technique I've heard of previously. I used the bottom of a fork to repeatedly stir the uncooked portion, which supposedly helps create layers, instead of the solid mass I usually get. I've tried this in the past, but it tryed my minimal patience. I'd put the lid on for 30-45 seconds, and then stir some more. Slow cooking, after forming the initial hard skin, does help. This was without a doubt the best omelet I've made in years, although I'm sure the filling was part of it. Since I tried multiple "new" things, I don't know how much I can attribute to the butter. I did find that I needed to continue breaking the pieces up with my spatula while the eggs started to cook. I really think the freezing will help. I probably added more milk than I should have, but I can't wait to try again. A couple of other notes. You really want to put the filling in before the eggs are fully cooked, so it can become an integral part of the omelet, and not just something between two dense semi-circles of cooked egg. Also, do not spread the filling to fully cover half of the omelet, but leave maybe 1/2" extra open in the middle. This provides the necessary "hinge" space. Without this, you won't be able to fully flip the unfilled portion so that it completely covers the other half. This is just my personal preference, but I like to put the filling in the handle half of the pan, so I'm flipping the outside. Some folks will put the filling in the middle third, flipping the two outer sections over, to create an even thicker - but not any fluffier - omelet. I also like to cut off a forkful and spread it on a piece of toast. Charles Reply
    Charles November 21, 2013 AT 12:08 pm
     
  • Cast iron is the way to cook. I collect and reconditioned old cast iron. This is the best method I have tried to cook omelettes. Thanks Reply
    Jeff Hovermale March 16, 2014 AT 7:30 am
     
 
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