That’s it, nothing else. Just three eggs
Oh yes, salt. A pinch of salt.
But that’s all.
Salt and eggs.
Oh, a knob of butter too.
But that’s definitely it. Really nothing else.
The simplest recipes are the hardest to master. Take the earlier (after chapter 22) example of mashed potato, which has only three or four ingredients – potato, butter, salt and perhaps milk. It takes longer to write down the recipe than it does to cook it. Good grief.
Same with omelettes. An omelette can, of course, have many more ingredients and many optional flavourings, but the corridor to hell is papered with false omelette recipes.
So, first, put your omelette pan on to heat, and get it good and warm but not smoking hot. Your omelette pan will look like many other omelette pans but this is your omelette pan. Your omelette pan is your best friend. It is your life. You must master it as you must master your life. Your omelette pan, without you, is useless. Without your omelette pan, you are useless.
Above all, NEVER let your spouse near your omelette pan. They will claim it is dirty and wash it, scour it and put it in the dishwasher. And then you will have a freshly-dug grave in the garden to explain to the nice police officer.
Cast iron, conditioned according to the best advice you can find on the internet. Or non-stick. I’m afraid I’m actually agnostic on this point, what counts is the quality of the eggs and your technique.
So, roughly beat together the eggs with a pinch of salt, using a fork. When the pan is nicely hot, add your knob of butter. When the foam has settled and just before the butter colours – you don’t want beurre noisette for goodness’ sake – pour in the eggs. Swirl them gently round the pan to make sure all the bottom is coated, then start drawing the already cooked mixture from the edges into the centre using the back of your mixing fork. Check and re-check the heat, you don’t want to colour the eggs at all, just set them.
Keep drawing the mixture into the centre with the fork until it’s almost set all across, then tilt the pan at 45 degrees with the handle up towards your chest and encourage the top edge to fold over with your fork. The omelette should be ‘baveuse’, slobbery like a labrador, or ‘eek that’s not cooked’ if you’re my mother or any other English person, come to think of it.
Ignore the shreiks and, with the pan still at 45 degrees, gently encourage it to fold over again and out of the pan onto your warmed, waiting plate. The omelette should be nicely yellow not browned at all, almost in a roll and gently leaking a little bit of runny egg from each end.
Eat it immediately with the same fork you used to mix and then move round the mixture, especially if it’s you doing the washing up.
If you are a heathen you may wish to add some chopped herbs just before the folding part of the event – chives, dill and parsely individually or together are popular I hear, down in the cheap seats where they like to call such things ‘fines herbes’. If you run a restaurant you’ll probably be obliged to add in cheese, ham and goodness knows what else. Do what they want, they’re paying to feed your plain omelette habit after all. They probably won’t even care if the outside is browned.