Omelet : fast food

March 15, 2006|By KATE SHATZKIN | KATE SHATZKIN,SUN REPORTER

In her cookbook, The Good Egg, food writer Marie Simmons calls the plain two- to three-egg omelet the "fastest meal on earth." Yet a home cook might be daunted by the idea of creating a neatly folded, evenly cooked version before he's even had his coffee.

Not to worry; omelets aren't as difficult as they look, says Richard Stuthmann, director of instruction at Baltimore International College. Because omelets are built for speed - they should take no more than a minute to cook - the key is to work quickly while the egg mixture is setting.

There are two ways to make an omelet, says Stuthmann: American and French. The first method requires the cook to gently fold eggs as they're cooking from the edges of the skillet to the center several times, so that the mixture sets uniformly. If you want a slightly fluffier omelet, try the French method: Move the eggs around gently but rapidly, almost as if you were scrambling them, until the mixture is almost set; then let them cook a few more seconds.

In both cases, folding should be easy with a heat-resistant spatula. Remove the pan from the heat, carefully loosen the mixture underneath and slide it away from you. Fold one side toward the center. Slide the omelet the other way and repeat with the other side.

The right skillet helps. It should have sides that slope away from the center of the pan, so that you can slide the omelet back and forth. Stuthmann says the ideal pan is 6 1/2 to 7 inches. A more standard 9-inch skillet will work, too, but the omelet will be a little thinner.

kate.shatzkin@baltsun.com

Basic Three-Egg Omelet

Makes 1 omelet

3 eggs

1 tablespoon water

salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon clarified butter or olive oil

1/4 to 1/2 cup sauteed vegetables, such as mixed peppers, mushrooms and onions

Whip eggs until they are mixed but not so that they are frothy. Add water and salt and pepper. Heat a small- to medium-size skillet at maximum heat; add butter or oil. Pour egg mixture into pan.

For the American method, use a heat-resistant spatula to gently push or fold cooked eggs at the edges toward the center several times, allowing eggs to cook evenly, then let cook until eggs are set, about 30 seconds more. For the French method, gently agitate mixture constantly until almost set; continue to cook until set, about 30 more seconds.

Add vegetables. Remove pan from heat. Tilt pan so omelet slides toward back; fold one side toward the middle. Repeat with the other side so that the edges meet. Gently turn onto a plate.

Recipe courtesy of Richard Stuthmann, director of instruction at Baltimore International College

Per serving: 261 calories, 19 grams protein, 19 grams fat, 7 grams saturated fat, 3 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 645 milligrams cholesterol, 238 milligrams sodium

TASTY COMBOS

Bacon, apple and Stilton cheese

Caramelized onion, ham and Gruyere cheese

Salmon caviar, sour cream and dill

Peaches, honey and toasted almonds

Feta cheese, spinach and tomato

From The Good Egg, by Marie Simmons

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