Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Perfect Omelet

I haven't made many cakes since my mother got sick, but I made some eggs this morning. I wanted to make "The Perfect Omelet," according to Cooks Illustrated. I have modified the ingredients and procedure a bit.

I started by dicing one tablespoon butter and sticking it in the freezer.

I preheated an 8" nonstick pan on low heat for 10 minutes, setting the timer, with 1 teaspoon vegetable oil.

My pots and nonstick pans are from Ikea and, conveniently, the lid from my saucepan

fits perfectly on my 8" frying pan. You do need a lid for this recipe, so find it now and set it aside.

Break 2 large eggs and 1 yolk into a small bowl, and add a pinch of kosher salt and a little pepper.

I use a plastic storage container as a "garbage bowl" for the egg shells and whites. After having had some coolie dough ruined by bad egg whites, I no longer store egg white or yolks for later recipes, so the egg white goes in there too.

My kids eat sliced mild cheddar cheese (rather than American processed cheese), so that's what I have on hand.

I sliced my cheese slice; this is what we do whenever we need a little grated cheese. The original recipe called for Gruyere, which would be yummy, but I think almost any cheese would work.

In the signature fussiness of ATK, I pierced the yolks with a fork and beat the eggs with the fork for 80 strokes, then mixed in one half of the frozen butter.

When the pan had preheated, I wiped out the oil and added one half tablespoon non-frozen butter, and let it melt and the bubbles subside. The bubbles are water, and you want the water evaporated so the butter can get hot. The white foam is milk solids, which will not go away, but eventually brown and burn.

I put the eggs in the pan and turn the heat to medium-high. The recipe calls for chopsticks, which I don't have, so I used the handle of a wooden spoon to stir the eggs in the video above. I use sort of a planetary spiral of circles, which is easier to demonstrate than explain. I stop when I start to get larger clumps of eggs.

This is where the video stops, because I need both hands here :-)

I smooth out the eggs with a silicon spatula and then sprinkle on one half of the cheese. I then put on the lid and let the eggs sit, off heat, for a timed 2 minutes. Then return the pan to low heat for 30 seconds to finish cooking.

The eggs here are a little soft for me, so I stirred the top a little and cooked another 30 seconds on low heat with the lid on.

The first omelet folded, but the second rolled. It was definitely the best omelet I've made, and the procedure gets faster and easier.

Perfect Omelet

Modified from Cooks Illustrated, January 2009

Serves 2

4 large eggs and 2 large yolks

1/2 teaspoon oil

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons butter, divided

1 tablespoon cheese, grated, optional

Dice and freeze 1 tablespoon of the butter. Cut the other tablespoon in half, and let it rest on the counter. Preheat an 8" nonstick pan and oil for 10 minutes over low heat. Get handy a lid for the pan, a wooden spoon, a silicon spatula, 2 plates, a paper towel, and the cheese.

While pan is heating, put 2 eggs and one yolk in a small bowl and season. Break yolks with a fork, and beat for 80 strokes.

When the pan is hot, wipe it out and put it 1/2 tablespoon of room temperature butter. Add 1/2 tablespoon frozen, diced butter to the beaten eggs.

When the butter is hot, add the eggs and stir gently with the handle of the wooden spoon. When you see the first large curd, remove pan from heat, smooth eggs with the silicon spatula, sprinkle with cheese, and let rest, covered, for 2 minutes.

Put pan back over low heat, covered, and heat 30 seconds or until done to your taste. Loosen edges with spatula, then transfer omelet to plate, folding or rolling as desired.

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