Friday, December 2, 2011

In Search Of The Elusive Perfect Omelet

"Too many cruisers waste too much time learning esoteric things about sailing, such as the relative merits of various brands of chart plotters or watermakers, when what they really need to learn is how to make a good omelet."  
Jim Trefethen, The Cruising Life

I'm asked for my omelet recipe probably more than any other so here is a photo tutorial for you just because I believe what Jim Trefethen said in his book.  I first learned to make this omelet by watching a cooking show back when cooking shows were really meant to teach you how to cook instead of subjecting you to the ego-maniacal rants of a reality show chef.  I practiced religiously and subjected Tim to many failed experiments, but he loves omelets and was ever so patient.  I believe his patience has been rewarded.

We usually make 2 egg omelets, but if you have a large enough pan you can do 3.  Beat the eggs with a fork and add a tsp of water and salt and pepper to taste.  Contrary to many popular recipes, do not use milk here, only water. 

Preheat your good non-stick 9" skillet, spray with your version of non-stick spray.  I use butter-flavored spray (and this is not any endorsement of Wally-World's products, just what I happened to have on hand.) 

Add chopped ham, or sausage, or bacon and chopped onion and peppers if you wish.  Saute them until they're heated through and onions are clear.  Set aside in a small bowl.

Clean your skillet after heating the fillings.  You must start out with a clean skillet.  Spray the skillet with non-stick spray, then add a teaspoon or two of butter and allow to melt over medium-high heat but don't allow it to scorch.

Add egg.  Do  not stir or touch it until you see the edges begin to cook as in the picture at the left.

Using a fork, start at one edge and smoothly push the egg to the other edge.  The liquid egg on top will fill in behind the fork.

Then take the fork and pull the cooked edge in the opposite direction, allowing the uncooked egg to fill in behind the fork.

Once more in the opposite direction, and you can see that there will be just barely enough egg to fill in behind.   At this point, you take your fork and gently scrape all the uncooked egg from the top of the cooked egg and push it toward the low point in the pan.

Add your cheese of choice.  I personally prefer Swiss, but the recipient of this omelet likes American so there you have it.

Add your meat and/or veggies to the other side.  Cover the pan with a lid or foil, and turn the burner off.  Let stand for a few moments to allow the rest of the egg to cook and the cheese to  melt.

Carefully using a spatula, fold the cheese half over the meat half.  The perfectly browned wrinkles are the result of the fork-pushing exercise in the steps above.
Add the toast of your choice (see the previous post on toast) and you have the Perfect Omelet - Enjoy!


  1. Forgive me for being so envious of your stove! That's a nice unit.

  2. Thanks! I've really made friends with it and that's the main difference I think between having a weekend boat and one you can live on full-time. You just have to be fully comfortable in the galley. If you ever have a chance, read the book I quote from in this post. It has a really great chapter on galleys.