Cook's Country (January/February 2012)
If we serve eggs at our house, chances are they're going to be scrambled.
If we're feeling fancy, we might do over-easy, maybe served on top of a vegetable or beef hash if we're being industrious.
Poached? Forget about it. Over-hard? Blasphemy.
Omelets are another matter altogether. We love omelets and often order them when we go out for breakfast, but we hardly ever make them at home. Why is that? Well, in truth, we're not very good at making omelets.
We build big, beautiful omelets, cooking the eggs and then filling them with delicious vegetables and meats. And then it comes time to seal the deal (literally), and the whole thing falls apart, making for a really ugly omelet that we then hack up and serve as a scramble, as if to make ourselves feel better.
And we're not talking about Julia Child-style omelets. (If you've never seen the Omelet Dinner Party episode of "The French Chef," you should.) We want to make omelets that are stuffed with deliciousness and then folded over, an omelet that sits tall on the plate, oozing with cheese and fillings.
When we saw this recipe for Fluffy Diner-Style Omelets in Cook's Country, we knew the wizards at America's Test Kitchen would show us the errors of our omelet ways.
As the name implies, this Cooks Country's recipe aims to make a fluffy version of omelets, similar to what you'd receive in a diner. To do this, the magazine lays out a quick 12-step process for fluffy omelets.
Most of these are standard omelet techniques, but there are a few smart variations.
The recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of cream (hello, flavor!). Before it's incorporated, you beat it with a mixer so that it forms soft peaks, giving more body to the egg mixture before you add it to the pan. Similarly, the eggs are also beaten until they double in size.
After starting the process on the stovetop, you move the pan to a hot oven so the eggs cook uniformly throughout. Once out of the oven, you cover the pan and let the omelet rest briefly, allowing the cheese to melt.
Unsurprisingly (because it's from America's Test Kitchen), it makes a great omelet. We opted for the Sausage and Pepper variation that's included below.
Were they fluffy? Yes! Far fluffier than our standard omelet attempts. Were they perfect? Well, no. We still managed to tear the omelet a little when removing it from the pan (which you can see in the second photo above if you look closely).
But we're not discouraged. We'll be revisiting this recipe plenty of times in pursuit of perfection.
So what about you? How do you like your eggs? Are you Team Omelet, or do you prefer over-easy or scrambled? Have an egg trick or some wisdom you want to share? Please do.
Note from Cook's Country: We recommend using a hand-held mixer for this recipe, as 3 tablespoons of cream is too small an amount to whip in a stand mixer. Alternatively, whip the cream by hand and continue the recipe with a stand mixer.
3 tablespoons heavy cream, chilled
5 large eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 recipe omelet filling (optional - see below)
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Using hand-held mixer set at medium-low speed, whip cream in medium bowl until foamy, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes; set aside. Beat eggs and 1/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl on high speed until frothy and eggs have at least doubled, about 2 minutes. Gently fold whipped cream into eggs.
2. Melt butter in 10-inch nonstick ovensafe skillet over medium-low heat, swirling pan to coat bottom and sides. Add egg mixture and cook until edges are nearly set, 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheddar and half of filling, if using, and transfer to oven. Bake until eggs are set and edges begin to brown, 6 to 8 minutes.
3. Remove skillet from oven and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheddar. Cover with lid and let sit until cheddar begins to melt, about 1 minute. Tilt skillet and, using rubber spatula, push half of omelet onto cutting board. Tilt skillet so that omelet folds over itself to form half-moon. (If filling omelet, after cheese melts, slide omelet onto board. Sprinkle half with remaining filling. Fold closed.) Cut omelet in half. Serve.
SAUSAGE AND PEPPER OMELET FILLING
4 ounces bulk pork sausage
1 small onion, chopped fine
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped fine
Salt and pepper
Cook sausage in 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, breaking up meat into small pieces, until browned, about 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a plate lined with a paper towel. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet. Cook onion and bell pepper in skillet until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in sausage and season with salt and pepper to taste.
LOADED BAKED POTATO OMELET FILLING
1 large Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 slices bacon, chopped
2 scallions, sliced thin
Salt and pepper
Microwave potatoes in covered large bowl until just tender, 2 to 5 minutes. Cook bacon in 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet. Cook potatoes in skillet until golden brown, about 6 minutes. Combine potatoes, bacon, and scallions in bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.