French (savoury) omelets

The beauty of the French omelet is that it is so versatile - and relatively quick to make. Once the art of making a good omelet has been mastered, there is no limit to the variations on the omelet theme, and a nourishing, wholesome meal can be made in minutes. The choice is endless, from plain and fines herbes omelets to the more fancy omelets filled with such delicacies as chicken livers or lobster.
For best results when making omelets, a heavy-based pan should be used, ideally made of cast iron or aluminium. If possible, reserve one pan for omelet making and do not use it for anything else. Wipe it clean with kitchen paper after use and rub a little salt into it. Wipe off salt when ready to use again. Do not wash it or use detergent or scouring agents of any kind as this will cause the omelets to stick.
The recipes below are for 3 to 4 egg quantities, enough for 2 people, using a 17,5-20 cm/7-8 in. pan.


3 - 4 eggs
1 tbsp cold water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
25 g (1 oz) butter


1. Beat the eggs lightly in a mixing bowl, then stir in the water and add salt and pepper to taste.

2. Melt the butter over medium heat in the omelet pan. When foaming, pour in the egg mixture. Using a palette knife, smooth over the surface of the omelet, lifting up the edge of the omelet to allow any unset omelet mixture to flow around the sides into the hot butter.

3. Cook for about 20 seconds or until the mixture is creamy, then tilt the pan away from you and fold the omelet over with the palette knife. Press down with the knife, then tip the omelet onto a hot platter. Serve immediately.

Omelet aux fines herbes
Add 2 tbsp freshly chopped mixed herbs (parsley, thyme, snipped chives, marjoram) to the egg mixture before cooking. Cook as for plain omelet above.

Ham and cheese omelet
Add 50 g (2 oz) grated Gruyere or Cheddar cheese, 50 g (2 oz) finely chopped cooked ham and a pinch of cayenne pepper to the egg mixture before cooking. Cook as for plain omelet above.

French onion stuffing
Butter for frying
1 large onion, peeled and sliced into rings
1 garlic clove, crushed (optional)
50 g (2 oz) Gruyere cheese, grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Melt a knob of butter in a small pan.

2. Add the onion and garlic (if using) and fry gently over very low heat for 10 to 15 minutes or until soft and golden. Remove from the heat and stir in the grated Gruyere.

3. Add salt to taste and plenty of black pepper. Use to fill a plain omelet as above.

Mushroom stuffing
1 tbsp butter
100 g (4 oz) button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 tsp spoons flour
3 - 4 tbsp
chicken stock or water
Salt and freshly ground
black pepper

1. Melt the butter in a small pan. When foaming, add the mushrooms. Saute for 2 minutes, then stir in the flour and cook for a further 1 to 2 minutes.

2. Add the stock or water gradually, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens. Season to taste with salt and pepper and use to fill a plain omelet as above.

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