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Omelets made easy: a quick hand makes a great egg dish.

"Making omelets is like riding a bicycle," writes Wayne Gisslen in Professional Cooking. The process can seem awkward and difficult at first, but it becomes intuitive and easy once you get the hang of it.


The French stir the eggs carefully as they set, generally limit themselves to cheese by way of filling, and fold the omelets into thirds. We Americans lift the edges of the eggs as they cook and let the raw parts flow underneath (ducking the danger of ending up with a scramble), and we tend to load up the finished product with all sorts of fillings, making one-third folds a pipe dream. A half-fold handles the layers of tomatoes, olives, ham, greens, and the like.

Here, we go with the American cooking method but give you the choice of folding the omelet into thirds or in half, depending on what your fillings allow. The trick is to cook the eggs over fairly high heat and keep lifting the edges as the bottom sets, then to serve the omelet immediately.

Folded Cheese Omelet

PREP AND COOK TIME: About 5 minutes

MAKES: 1 serving
 3 large eggs
 1 tablespoon whipping cream or milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
 1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup shredded cheddar or Swiss cheese

1. In a bowl, whisk eggs, cream, and salt just until blended; do not overbeat.

2. Heat an 8-inch nonstick frying pan with sloping sides over medium-high heat for 1 minute. When hot, add butter and tilt pan to coat evenly. When butter is foamy, pour egg mixture into pan and swirl to spread it out to edges of pan.

3. As the egg mixture begins to set on the bottom, lift one edge with a heatproof flexible spatula and tilt the pan to let the uncooked mixture on top flow underneath. Continue lifting edges of omelet and tilting pan, working your way around all sides, until no more uncooked egg mixture will flow underneath and the top is just a little moist, about 2 minutes total.

4. Sprinkle cheese either in a strip down the middle, if you plan on folding the omelet into thirds, or over one half, if you're folding it in half. Loosen the omelet with the spatula. For a third-fold, fold one edge over strip of cheese in the middle; tip pan to slide omelet, folded edge first, onto a warm plate, flipping remaining edge over filling as omelet leaves pan. For a half-fold, tip pan to slide omelet, cheese side first, onto warm plate; flip bare half over cheese as omelet leaves pan.


Per serving: 520 cal., 76% (396 cal.) from fat; 28 g protein; 44 g fat (23 g sat.); 2.7 g carbo (0 g fiber); 836 mg sodium; 724 mg chol.

Great fillings

You can dress up a plain omelet in a mind-boggling number of ways. Every set of filling ingredients gives it a different personality. Some seem natural for breakfast or brunch, others for lunch. And there's nothing like a gooey cheese-filled omelet for a late-night supper. Here are some of our favorite simple combos.

* Layer diced canned roasted red pepper, shredded Swiss chard, and grated pecorino romano cheese.

* Saute thinly sliced leeks in butter; add along with sliced Camembert or brie cheese.

* Cut cream cheese into cubes and pair with sliced green onions and a couple of slices of smoked salmon.

* Make a hearty but chic creation with a few slices of cooked potato, some ricotta cheese, and plenty of fresh-ground black pepper.

* Liven up any omelet by adding 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs to the egg mixture. Try thyme, parsley, chives, tarragon, and chervil, alone or combined.

RELATED ARTICLE: Folding a plain cheese omelet

1 As egg mixture sets on pan bottom, lift edge with a spatula and tilt pan to let uncooked egg flow underneath. Continue the process, working around pan sides, until no uncooked egg mixture flows underneath and top is still moist.


2 Sprinkle cheese in a strip down the center of the omelet, in line with the pan handle. With the spatula, fold one side over the strip of cheese.


3 Run spatula under omelet to loosen, and tip pan to slide omelet, folded edge first, onto a warm plate. Flip remaining edge over filling as omelet leaves pan.



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Title Annotation:GETTING STARTED
Author:Schneider, Sara
Date:Apr 1, 2005
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