Thursday, September 2, 2010

Scary omelettes and R.E.R. (ridiculously easy recipes) part 1

A perfect, comforting Sunday night dinner

In Italy when you say someone doesn't even know how to cook an egg (non sa nemmeno cucinare un uovo) it means they have absolutely no idea about cooking. Implying that cooking an egg is the easiest thing in the world. So why is it that when you google or search on youtube for the words 'soft-boiled egg' or 'omelette' or 'eggs benedict' you get page after page of tips on how to do it?

Cooking the perfect egg is no simple task and I have seen more than one chef on TV give away his/her secret to obtaining egg nirvana: salting sunny-side-up eggs by sprinkling salt directly on the bottom of the pan so the grains do not ruin the perfect aesthetics of the orange yolk nestled in a bed of white fluffiness, timing techiniques to keep a soft-boiled egg yolk runny but to get firm whites and even what I have nicknamed the 'Roman bath technique' to hard boil an egg (those eggs move from the caldarium to the tepidarium to the frigidarium with more professionalism than an inhabitant of Rome in 50 BC!). 
 No wonder I was nervous everytime I attempted cooking an omelette. This, and let's face it, also because every time I did the results were less than satisfying. The problem is you do not want to be experimenting with guests and I am never home alone for lunch to work on my skills and there are only so many times I can make F eat a messed up, half-scrambled pile of overcooked or - even worse - undercooked eggs. He is adorable and never complains, he has eaten many a screw-up of mine and even found the positive points in them. This is one of the many reasons I love him dearly, but enough is enough! I had tried the non-stick pan and probably not greased it enough (after all, isn't Teflon about healthy, low fat cooking?), I tried the heavy based pans and the wrist trick and it still didn't work. What was I doing wrong???

FYI, the gooey part is camembert, not runny egg!

Enter Julia Child. I had just seen Julie&Julia (Meryl Streep phenomenal as always, movie not so much in my opinion) and was browsing the web in search of videos featuring Julia Child's cooking shows, to compare the real one with the impersonification. That is when I found her episode on how to cook an omelette. It looked so fast, so easy I just had to give it another go. I did and it worked. And since this is the blog of simple and quick, I had to blog about it. And come to think of it I might have to start a weekly post of Ridiculously Easy Recipes (not that my other posts involve complicated cooking techniques!). I am always looking up basic techniques or recipes because growing up nobody every taught them to me and you get to a point where it is just too embarassing to ask. Or how about when you have a go-to meal so simple it seems too obvious to post about but it makes your taste buds sing every time you have it? I mean, what is obvious to me, may not be to others, right? And if it is too obvious, you can just skip ahead, like I wrote in my last post on pancakes.

What do you think? Do you have a super simple recipe that is always a hit, that you go back to again and again and that is a magic combination of flavors to you?

Ingredients (for 1)
2 eggs
a pinch of salt
e.v. olive oil
camembert in thin slices (or any filling)

Before I tell you how to cook an omelette, let me summarize the basic rules Julia points out to make a good omelette. 1. Make individual omelettes with 2 eggs. It is so quick you can make 4 in about 2 minutes and the omelette will be perfect in size and texture. Too many eggs equals leathery. 2. Do not overcook your omelette: it has to be creamy inside. 3. Just lightly beat the eggs. 4. Use a non-stick pan or a heavy-based pan and do not be parsimonious with butter and oil...that was my big mistake. 5. Preheat the pan very well. Once you have these points in mind, place the pan on a high flame with a drizzle of oil and a knob of butter and quickly beat the two eggs, add some pepper and salt and pour the mixture in. Get a firm grip on the handle and start sliding the pan back and forth energetically so the egg does not stick. At this point I put the camembert on half of it and then flipped the other half over it with the help of a spatula (I am still no good at the fancy wrist movement), kept it on a few more seconds and then served it. When you cut it open with your fork it should be creamy and soft, but not runny. Bon appétit, as Julia would have said!

I accompanied the omelette with this salad: baby lettuce, snow peas, celery heart with its leaves and tomatoes and an oriental-style vinaigrette (sesame oil, fish sauce, left-over chopped coriander in olive oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce).


  1. I also love eggs for a speedy meal :) One of my favourite meals in a dish by Kylie Kwong which has oyster sauce, spring onions and chili on it. I'm glad that you mastered the omelette! :)

  2. This sounds so great! I love the simplicity of it all and eggs are definitely one of the most perfect meals! (I love a poached egg on practically ANYTHING!)

  3. Fiona - Nuts about foodSeptember 3, 2010 at 9:04 AM

    Lorraine - is that a KK recipe for an omelette? Sounds terrific and somehow feel like I saw it on one of her shows.
    Peggy - My next venture will be learning to poach an egg. You could write a post on that! I would definitely be interested! The great thing about omelettes in their simplicity is they are a perfect vehicle (like bread) for so many other goodies!

  4. That is a very interesting point you make about the saying "can't even cook an egg"... It does take effort to perfect!

    Scrambled eggs and omlettes are my favourite :)

  5. Hi Ladybird, thanks for stopping by!


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