Cooking eggs is satisfying, nutritious, and economical. If it’s the perfect hard boiled egg, fluffy scrambled, shirred, or masterfully poached, the egg is the center of attention, the star ingredient, the main flavor.
And then there’s the omelette. When I think about eggs, I think about what else could go with it. When I think about an omelette, I’m thinking about what else could go in it.
Anything, nearly. Actually, probably. As long as it’s food. 😃
What is an omelette?
I think of an omelette as one of these dishes that you’ll never need a recipe for. You just need to open the fridge and see what you have. And then think about combining some flavors. Probably every culture that produces and eats eggs has a variation of omelettes. Do you have some berries in the fridge? Think sweet French crêpe.
And where does it come from?
As usual, the French believe it’s French and the Italians believe that Romans were the first to create the omelette. Ancient Romans did pair an egg with honey and called it “ovemele,” so there are some legitimate bragging rights there. The French argue that omelette comes from the term “amelette,” which means “blade” in French and, due to its being folded in half, I can see that argument as well.
Rumor has it that a local innkeeper served Napoleon Bonaparte his first omelette. He loved it a lot. The next day, he had all the eggs in town collected, in order to serve omelettes to his entire army.
How to cook a basic omelette
3 large eggs. Salt and pepper. Butter and olive oil. Skip the milk.
But most importantly: Medium heat. Take your time. Otherwise your eggs get that weird “burnt” taste.
Whisk eggs in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add butter and olive oil to a non-stick pan (I use my trusty Lodge frying pan), over medium heat. Pour eggs into the pan, and after about 30 seconds, loosen the edges with a spatula. Next, be patient. Watch how the edges of the omelette start to firm up and change color. The middle part will stay runny for a bit longer (this would be the time to add any pre-cooked filling). Just before the liquid in the middle starts to firm up – it takes mine anywhere from one to two minutes – use a spatula and gently fold the omelette in half.
Slide onto a plate and enjoy. It should be silky and simply delicious.
This is the basic omelette. It’s good by itself, but let’s make it great!
Let’s turn a basic omelette into a meal
There’s no limit on how to turn your basic omelette into a meal. In this article, I’m just describing my favorite omelette. It’s earthy, healthy, satisfying, and yes, loaded with umami flavors.
Note: Umami is Japanese word meaning “savoriness,” the fifth basic taste – alongside sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. Umami can be “tasted” in foods such as mushrooms, anchovies, tomatoes (especially tomato paste), and mature cheeses.
My favorite omelette includes shallots, mushrooms, spinach, and Parmesan. All wrapped up in a perfectly cooked omelette. A spinach mushroom omelette. Does that sound good or what?
Before cooking the omelette, cook the filling. Grab a non-stick pan and add a little butter and olive oil, and heat over medium-high. When the butter starts to bubble, add the shallots and stir for a minute or so. Add mushrooms and some more olive oil to keep the mushrooms coated. The mushrooms will first release their liquid and then soak it back it in. This takes about three minutes. Just before it’s done, add spinach and Parmesan, season with salt and pepper, and stir for another 2 minutes until the spinach is cooked.
Remove all ingredients and set aside. Clean the pan with a paper towel. Then, using the clean pan, add a little butter and olive oil and cook the eggs as described above.
This time, when the eggs start to firm up around the edges and the middle part is still runny, add the filling and finish the omelette. Before folding it, sprinkle on some freshly grated aged Parmesan.
Fold it and slide onto a plate. If this is your brunch, eat the whole thing. If it’s breakfast, please share it. Yeah, right 😂
Please share your favorite fillings, especially if you grew up with different styles of omelettes, I’d love to hear…
Is it Omelet or Omelette?
- Omelet is the spelling used in American English.
- Omelette is the spelling used in British English.
To me, omelette somehow looks sexier than omelet. Say “omelette (or omelet)” out loud ten times. It starts to sound like a mantra 😂
When you crack your egg and a piece of shell gets into the bowl, use a half shell from a cracked egg to scoop it up. You know how hard it is to try to get it out with your finger. That little piece just keeps getting away from you, while you get egg white all over your finger.
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Spinach Mushroom Omelette with Parmesan
For the filling
- 1 c mushrooms, chopped
- 2 c baby spinach
- 1 (2 Tbsp) shallot, chopped
- 1/4 c Parmesan cheese
For the omelette
- 3 large eggs, whisked
- 1/2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 Tbsp butter
- salt and pepper (about 1/4 tsp each)
- Clean and chop mushrooms, wash and dry spinach, and chop shallot
- Add butter and olive oil to a non-stick pan over medium-high heat and sauté the shallots for about 60 seconds until translucent
- Add mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally
- Add spinach and Parmesan, season with salt and pepper, and wait until the spinach does its thing
- Remove everything from pan and set aside
- Wipe pan with a paper towel
- Then, using the clean pan, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat
- Pour in whisked eggs, making sure the bottom of the pan is evenly covered
- Be patient. After about 30 seconds, loosen the edges
- Add filing and cook for another 2 minutes
- Fold (good luck 😄) and slide onto a plate
- Grate some additional Parmesan cheese on top and serve
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