Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Perfect Cheese Omelet

If you have been searching my recipe page for breakfast ideas, you might have noticed that I don't have any egg recipes.  That's because I hardly ever make eggs.  There are two reasons for this.  First of all, I don't love eggs.  I will eat them, but only if they are covered in enough cheese and salsa that they don't really taste like eggs.  Give me a waffle smothered in sticky sweet syrup over an omelet any day! 

Second of all, I'm not great at cooking eggs.  I don't really have many recipes for making eggs and they just never seem to work out for me!  I either cook them until they are the consistency of rubber, or I under cook them and they just plain gross me out!  I have no self confidence when making something as simple as a fried egg.  Forget about something like an omelet that actually takes a little bit of skill!  

So when I saw this recipe in a Cook's Country magazine that claimed to make the perfect cheese omelet, I knew I had to try it.  I figured if anyone could help me make decent eggs it would be the good folks at America's Test Kitchen.  And as usual, their recipe didn't disappoint!  I finally have an omelet recipe that I know will turn out perfect every time.  And believe me when I say that if I can do it, you can do it!

These omelets were light and fluffy.  They weren't over-cooked.  They weren't under-cooked.  They weren't crusty on the outside and runny on the inside.  They didn't fall apart when I tried to flip them, which is my usual pitfall when making omelets.  In a word, they were...perfect!  

To achieve a perfect omelet, this recipe uses a few unique techniques.  First of all, the eggs are room temperature.  If you want to whip up an omelet right after you roll out of bed and don't want to leave eggs sitting out on your counter overnight (which I definitely wouldn't recommend!) you can quickly bring eggs to room temperature by placing them in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes.
Now to get started, spray an oven-safe skillet with non-stick cooking spray.  I used my cast iron skillet.  You need an oven-safe skillet because this omelet is cooked partially on the stovetop and then finished in the oven to ensure that they are cooked evenly.  It's genius!  
Now whip some eggs.  I mean really, really whip them!  I would usually just whisk them manually until the egg and yolk were combined.  But to achieve maximum fluffiness you want to whip you eggs with a mixer for about two minutes.  When I whipped up my eggs, I was worried I had whipped them too much because they looked so different from the eggs I had made before.  But it was fine!  And to get even more fluffiness in your omelet, fold in some whipped cream.  Yes, this is an omelet with whipped cream.  No, I'm not kidding.
Cook them in your skillet over medium-low heat until the edges are starting to set.  
Sprinkle with cheese.  I used Swiss cheese.  I know it's hard to see in this picture, but it's there!  Move the skillet to a 400 degree oven...
...and bake until the eggs are set.
Take the skillet out of the oven and add the rest of the cheese.  Cover the skillet with a lid and let it sit until the cheese begins to melt.  Covering the skillet lets the eggs gently finish cooking.  To get the finished omelet out of the skillet without tearing up your creation, tilt the skillet and push half of the omelet onto a cutting board.  Tilt skillet so that omelet folds over itself.  

Easy peasy!  I didn't put any extra fillings in my omelet, but you could add whatever you want such as potatoes, green peppers, onion, or mushrooms.  I did however, top mine with a healthy dose of salsa.  Now revel in the fact that you can make omelets that are actually worth eating!  I'd still rather have a pancake though!

The Perfect Cheese Omelet
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup whipped cream
1/2 cup shredded cheese
Desired fillings (optional)
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees.
Beat eggs in large bowl or in stand mixer on high speed until frothy and eggs have at least doubled, about 2 minutes.  Gently fold whipped cream into eggs.
Spray a 10-inch oven-safe skillet with non-stick cooking spray.  Add eggs and cook over medium-low heat until edges are nearly set, 2-3 minutes.  Sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese and half of filling, if using, and transfer to oven.  Bake until eggs are set and edges begin to brown, 6-8 minutes.
Remove skillet from oven and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.  Cover with lid and let sit until cheese begins to melt, about 1 minute.  Tilt skillet and, using rubber spatula, push half of omelet onto cutting board.  Tilt skillet so that omelet folds over itself to form half-moon.  If filling omelet, after cheese melts, slide omelet onto board.  Sprinkle half with remaining filling.  Fold closed.
Cut omelet in half and serve.
Serves 2.

Recipe adapted from Cook's Country, Dec/Jan 2012

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