Omelets Without Any Crackups

Times Staff Writer

The nice thing about learning to make a French omelet is that even if early attempts at proper technique result in total disaster, all is not lost. You’ll still be able to enjoy some very acceptable scrambled eggs, since only the method of preparation distinguishes one of these egg dishes from the other.

Omelet preparation requires a special pan--either one of the traditional French-style made of spun steel and used exclusively for omelet preparation, or any of the small (6-, 7- or 8-inch diameter), heavy-gauge skillets with sloping sides and nonstick interiors. Most of these pans have long handles to assist with the manipulation during cooking.

Blend With a Fork

Begin preparation by breaking three eggs into a small bowl. Blend the whites and yolks well with a fork, but the mixture should not be foamy. Some recipes call for a tablespoon of milk per egg or a little water, and most people add a little salt and pepper for flavor.

Heat about one tablespoon of butter or margarine in the skillet over medium-high heat. As it begins to melt, tilt the pan to thoroughly coat the bottom and sides. Then, just as the butter begins to sizzle and turn brown, add the beaten eggs.

In the classic method, one hand is used to slide the skillet back and forth rapidly over the heat source while the other hand stirs the eggs over the bottom of the skillet with a fork as they thicken. It’s easier for most people, however, to lift the edge of the eggs with a narrow spatula and tip the pan to allow the uncooked portion of the eggs to flow underneath (Step 1).

When the omelet is set, but the top still moist and creamy, add the desired filling down the center (Step 2). Lift the edge and check that the bottom of the omelet is golden brown, then with a spatula, fold the omelet in half or thirds (Step 3) and slide out of the pan onto a serving plate (Step 4).

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