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The French Omelet

2 jumbo or extra-large eggs, or 3 large or medium eggs
Big pinch of salt
Several grinds of pepper
1 tsp cold water, optional, for a more perfect blending of yolks and whites
1 Tbs unsalted butter


Have a warm plate at your side, as well as butter, a sprig or two of parsley, and a rubber spatula. Break the eggs into a mixing bowl and whisk just enough to blend them with the salt, pepper, and optional water. Set the omelet pan over highest heat, add the butter, and tilt pan in all directions to film bottom and sides. When the butter foam has almost subsided but just before the butter browns, pour in the eggs. Shake the pan briefly by its handle to spread the eggs over the bottom of the pan. Hold still for several seconds while the eggs coagulate on the bottom. Then start jerking the pan toward you, throwing the egg mass against the far edge. Keep jerking roughly, gradually lifting up by the handle and tilting the far edge of the pan over the heat as the omelet begins to roll over on itself. Push any stray egg back into the mass with the rubber spatula, then bang on the handle close to the pan with your fist, and the omelet will start curling at its far edge. To unmold, rapidly turn the pan handle to your right and grab its underside with your right hand, palm up under the handle and thumb on top. Holding the plate in your left hand, tilt pan and plate toward each other, turning the pan down over the plate, and the omelet falls into place. Push the sides neatly in place with the spatula if necessary. Spear a lump of butter with a fork, rapidly brush a little of it over the top, decorate with a sprig of parsley, and serve. FINES HERBES. Mince chives and parsley, or tarragon, or chervil, whisk 1/2 tablespoon into the eggs as you make the omelet, and sprinkle a bit on top for serving. FILLED OMELETS. You can either cut a split lengthwise in the finished omelet with a knife and spread on a heaping spoonful of filling, or you can spoon the filling onto the eggs in the pan, just as they coagulate enough to hold and before you start the final rollingthis takes a little special maneuvering but you will work out your own system. Some Suggested Fillings and Garnishes 1-Creamed cooked chopped spinach , or cooked chopped broccoli , sauteed in butter 2-Quartered or sliced mushrooms, chicken livers, or scallops sauteed in butter with shallots and seasonings (cook as for the scallops, page 41) 3-Creamed lobster, shrimp, or crab (see below) 4-Piperadegreen and red peppers sauteed with onions, garlic, and herbs 5-Potatoessauteed diced potatoes , to which you could add bacon and onions 6-Tomatofresh tomato fondue (see page 30) To make omelets you must have a nonstick pan, and fortunately these are easily available. I highly recommend the professional nonstick aluminum shape with a long handle and sloping sides, 10 inches in top diameter and 7 1/2 at the bottom. I use the Wearever aluminum, available in many hardware stores. For about 1 cup, enough to fill or garnish 4 to 6 omelets. Briefly saute 1 tablespoon finely minced shallots in 2 tablespoons butter until softened, then fold in 1 cup cooked shellfish meat cut into 1/4-inch pieces. When well warmed through, season lightly with salt and pepper, and boil for a minute or two with 2 tablespoons dry white French vermouth, then briefly with 1/2 cup heavy cream, until nicely thickened. Correct seasoning, and, if you wish, fold in a sprinkling of minced fresh parsley. It behooves us to choose eggs carefully and to treat them right. Because at room temperature they make a warm and comfortable home for evil bacteria, always buy refrigerated eggs, never buy cracked or dirty eggs, always bring your eggs home in a refrigerated container, and keep eggs chilled until the moment you are to use them.

Source: www.epicurious.com