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Julia's French Omelet

Nobody has influenced the art of cooking as much as Julia Child, well known to all of us from her TV cooking shows and her many excellent and informative books. I was recently the delighted recipient of Julia's Kitchen Wisdom (Alfred A. Knopf, 2004) as a gift; I know that my own cooking will greatly benefit from her detailed instructions and many years of trained experience.

The first thing this book has influenced is the way I fix omelets! Following is my condensed version of Julia's French Omelet. Bon appetit!

For a 2-3 egg omelet, serving 1 person:

2 jumbo or extra-large eggs (or 3 large or medium eggs)
big pinch of salt
several grinds of pepper
1 teaspoon cold water (optional - for a more perfect blending of yolks and whites)
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter

Have a warm plate at your side, as well as butter, plus a sprig or two of parsley for garnish.

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 (Julia recommends a nonstick pan, 10 inches in top diameter and 7.5 inches at the bottom) over highest heat. Add the butter and tilt pan in all directions to film the bottom and sides of the pan. When the foam has almost subsided (but before the butter browns), pour in the eggs.

Shake the pan briefly by its handle to spread the eggs; hold still for several seconds while the eggs coagulate on the bottom. Then jerk the pan toward you, throwing the egg mass against the far edge. Keep jerking roughly, gradually tilting the pan until the omelet begins to roll over on itself.

Push any stray egg back into the mass with a rubber spatula, then bang on the handle close to the pan with your fist, and the omelet will start curling at its far edge. (Can't you just picture Julia demonstrating this??)

To unmold, rapidly turn the pan handle to your right and grab its underside with your right hand, palm up under the handle and thub 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 and rapidly brush it over the top of the omelet, decorate with a sprig of parsley and serve.

Julia's suggested fillings for your omelets: herbs; cooked creamed spinach; cooked chopped broccoli; quartered or sliced mushrooms, chicken livers or scallops sautéed in butter and seasonings; creamed lobster, shrimp or crab; green and red peppers sautéed with onions, garlic and herbs; potatoes, bacon and onions; tomato.

Dorothy & Jay Harris - Copyright 2004-2005