Plain French Omelet

An omelet is the most difficult to prepare of any egg dish. It requires some practice to give it the right shape (which is high in the center and pointed at the ends), to have it soft inside, to give it a smooth, slightly browned surface, a texture like scrambled eggs, and to have everything perfect. The first essential is to have a perfectly clean and smooth pan. It is difficult to make a smooth omelet in a pan used for other purposes; so it is well to have one kept for this use alone. The French do not wash the omelet-pan, but scour it smooth with salt and vinegar when it sticks, and at other times rub it clean with a dry cloth. Before using the pan scour it well with dry salt to give it extra smoothness.

It is better to make several small omelets than one large one, using not more than three or four eggs for each one. Beat the eggs just enough to break them. The rule is twelve beats. To three eggs add a half teaspoonful of salt, a dash of pepper, and a half teaspoonful of butter broken into small bits. A teaspoonful of milk may be used or not. Have the pan evenly heated and hot, but not scorching. Put in a half teaspoonful of butter and let it run evenly over the pan, but not brown; turn in the eggs. With a knife or fork break the cooked surface in several places quickly, so the egg from the top may run to the bottom and cook, or press the egg away from the sides, letting the uncooked part run under. This must be done in the beginning so as not to make the surface uneven. When the egg is cooked, but yet quite soft on the top, lift the pan on one side, slip the knife under, and carefully roll the omelet to the center. Let it cook a moment to set any egg that has run out, and if the color is not right add a little butter, and let it run under and slightly color the omelet Place a hot dish over the pan and turn them together so the omelet will fall in the right place; press it into good shape, doubling it under on the ends if necessary. Garnish with parsley and serve at once. Have everything ready before beginning to cook an omelet, as it will not bear being kept while the dish is heated, and the garnishing found.

Variations Of The Omelet

No. 1. Sprinkle a little parsley, chopped fine, over the top. No. 2. Turn tomato, Bechamel or mushroom sauce on the dish around the omelet; sprinkle the top with chopped mushrooms, if that sauce is used. Garnish with pointed croutons.

No. 3. Green omelet. Mix chopped parsley with the egg mixture before cooking the omelet, and do not brown the surface.

No. 4. Aux Fines Herbes. Chop parsley, chives, chervil, and tarragon very fine. Mix them with the egg mixture before cooking. When the omelet is turned out, rub over it a little maitre d'hotel butter (see page 286).

No. 5. With Peas or Tomatoes. Before turning a plain omelet, spread it with a few green peas or tomatoes cooked and seasoned. Asparagus or any other vegetable may be used in the same way.

No. 6. With Ham. Spread the plain omelet with ham, chopped fine, before turning it. Any other cooked meat may be used in the same way.

Spanish Omelet

Make a plain French omelet, using four eggs (see page 264). Just before it is done place in the center a veal kidney, which has been well soaked, then cut into half-inch dice and sauted until tender in a tablespoonful of butter. Do not cook the kidney too long or it will toughen.

Fold the omelet and turn it onto a dish. Pour around the omelet a tomato sauce (see page 285). Spread over the top of the omelet a sweet green pepper, which has been boiled until tender and then cut into narrow strips.

The sauce, the kidney and the pepper should be prepared first, as the omelet must be served as soon as the eggs are cooked.

Beaten Omelet

Beat very light the yolks and whites of three eggs separately. Season the yolks with salt and pepper and one tablespoonful of milk; then fold in lightly the whipped whites. Put a half teaspoonful of butter in a hot frying or omelet pan. Let it run over the bottom and sides of the pan, but do not let it brown. Turn in the egg mixture, spread it lightly and evenly over the pan, and let it cook until it forms a very light crust on the bottom; then place it in the oven about three minutes, or until the egg is cooked through, but not hard; fold it once, and turn it onto a hot dish. This omelet may be used the same as the French omelet in combination with other things. Spread anything so used on the omelet before turning it. For a sweet omelet add sugar to the yolks, and omit the pepper. Serve at once.