Recipe from the "Techniques" cookbook, courtesy of chef Jacques Pepin
Total Prep: 2 minutes
Omelet-making is both very simple and very difficult. A perfect omelet is golden in color on top, delicate and creamy in the center. In addition to fresh eggs and sweet butter, there are 3 other major ingredients: the right pan, practice and high heat. It is essential to have an 8 to 10-inch omelet pan, "well-seasoned" to inhibit sticking, with rounded, sloping shoulders that give the omelet a nice shape and help it slide easily onto the plate when cooked. Be sure to use the highest possible heat. Be careful not to overbeat the eggs and don't use too much butter, or the omelet will be wrinkled. The whole operation should not take more than 1 minute.
1. Using a fork, beat 3 whole eggs with salt and freshly ground pepper until well- mixed.
2. Add 1 tbs. water (optional) to lighten the omelet.
3. Place 1 tbs. sweet butter in the pan on high heat. When the foaming has subsided and the butter has a nice hazelnut color, pour in the eggs. They should sizzle. Let the eggs coagulate for about 6 to 8 seconds.
4. With the flat side of a fork in one hand, stir the eggs in a circular motion.
5. Simultaneously, with the other hand, shake the pan back and forth in a continuous movement so the eggs coagulate uniformly.
6. Lift up the pan slightly while the eggs are cooking so that the "scrambled" eggs end up piled up toward the front of the pan. If the pan is kept flat, and the whole surface is covered with a uniform layer of eggs then the omelet will roll like a jelly roll or a carpet, and it will not be moist inside.
7. Fold the lower "lips" back onto the omelet, shaping it in a nice half-moon shape as you go along.
8. Run your fork along the side of the pan under the front of the omelet.
9. Tap the handle of the pan to encourage the omelet to lift up in the front. And, using the fork, fold the upper lip onto the center, taking care to see that it comes to a point at each end.
10. At this time, the omelet can be stuffed. Arrange the solid pieces, whether you use chicken livers, creamed chicken, spinach, chives or whatever, in a line along the center of the omelet.
11. Changing hands hold the serving plate vertically against the side of the pan and invert the omelet onto the plate.
12. Pour the sauce, if any, around the omelet.