I am a second-generation restaurant person. We have been making omelets since the Roaring Twenties. Over the decades, we have made omelets of every style: French-style, diner-style (cooked and folded on a grill) or in pans. I have baked them and even steamed them.
When I started the Cracker Box back in 1980, I made omelets the way I like to make mine, sort of a modified French style. The French only cook their omelets on one side, and instead of adding butter to the eggs when mixing them as the French do, I added a tablespoon of water. The French like their omelets on the rarer side, as do I. However, I learned quickly that people of Carson City had a different opinion on the consistency of their omelets, and I soon adapted my cooking style to conform with the majority of my customers. I remember to this day that I had a complaint on the very first omelet I made here. It was a ham and cheese. In fact, the customer sent it back because I had used real cheddar cheese in his omelet, and he thought it should taste more like the American cheese the previous owners had used. Although I changed my style of cooking omelets, I had to draw the line at American cheese!
Omelets, like pizzas, can be as diverse as your imagination. They can be made for any meal, in a pinch, if you have some basic ingredients on hand. They can be made with egg substitutes, just egg whites, whole eggs, a combination of whites and yolks or whatever your diet (or taste buds) demand. I hope to be able to show you how to make and serve these wonderful dishes in the space that we have here today.
For the best results, start with fresh ingredients. When I make omelets, I want all the ingredients ready to use before I start to cook the eggs. Omelets are time-sensitive. The less time they spend in the pan, the better they are.
1 T. water
Pinch of salt
Favorite filling ingredients
Heat an 8- or 9-inch, Teflon-coated pan over medium heat. Add some butter. Crack three eggs into a bowl, add 1 tablespoon of water, a couple of dashes of Tabasco sauce and a pinch of salt. Whip them with a fork about 20 times, or until the whites are well incorporated. Then pour the egg mixture into the pan. As the eggs start to set, use a rubber spatula and lift the edge of the cooking egg mixture and let the uncooked portion slide underneath. Repeat until nearly all of the raw egg is removed from the top. This does two things; it layers the omelet, and keeps the bottom from burning. The omelet is now ready for your favorite ingredients. Spread them over the top of the omelet then simply pop it into a preheated broiler for a few minutes, or until the ingredients warm or the cheese melts.
On occasion, like for today's article, I have made omelets with some or all the ingredients, except cheese, incorporated in the eggs. The process is the same, except you start with the ingredients in the pan before you add the eggs. Turn under the eggs as above until the omelet is almost done, top with cheese then pop into your broiler.
To plate your omelet, give the pan a couple of shakes to loosen the omelet from the pan, turn the pan 90 degrees to the plate, and simply let the omelet slide out then fold over.
n Jerry Massad is the owner of the Cracker Box in Carson City.