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Herbs Omelet

Sep 30, 2010

Omelette-double Making a good omelet is not that easy. One that also looks good? In a photo? THAT'S practically impossible! Among all the things I have cooked and photographed so far, this one takes the lead in trickiness. I almost never had to reproduce anything - may be once - for a second shoot but I had to make five omelets, yes five omelets until I got the shot I wanted! I started feeling dizzy after the forth but there was no way I was going to give up after all that mess I had made. My kitchen's counters were overflowing with egg shells, herb stalks and cheese left overs as if a bombshell exploded or as though I made a four course dinner for ten people. But no, I just made this tiny omelet.

What makes this the best omelet in world - aside from its looks -and where have I discovered it?

I know it is far from original to have discovered the best omelet in the world in a well-known brasserie in Paris, but that's what happened. I was there in late spring and breakfasted at “Les Deux Magots”, a rather cliché spot visited by every "wanna be Parisien" tourist, but that doesn’t change the fact that they serve exquisite breakfasts. Besides, it was situated right next to our hotel, it wouldn’t be fair to pass it. On a day with an unusually fantastic weather, we wanted to have a quick bite before hitting the road for our excursion. We spotted a table outside with two seats to squeeze in. As soon as we sat down all happy and satisfied, the waiter scolded us for blocking his way: a typical parisian scene with an attitude rude enough to ruin our shiny mood but I was there totally prepared. Having lived there a year, I know for a fact that one should be thick-skinned to enjoy Paris. So we didn’t mind, we just tilted our chairs to unblock his way - that seemed to calm him -and ordered our breakfast. I asked for an “omelette aux fines herbes ” which made my day. It was so creamy, silky and tasted like nothing I had before, I pronounced it right there, "the best omelet in the world" and made peace with the waiter. (It looked like this, the omelet, not the waiter.)  

After I came back to Istanbul, the omelet in my mind, I thought and thought it over, tried to identify the ingredients I enjoyed about it and improvised numerous times to create something close to the omelet in question. The process was long and tricky and involved more than one sunday breakfast devoted to this subject only. Here is my conclusion:

Omeletteemmental cheese pull

The fines herbes are known to be tarragon, chives, parsley and chervil. Although not listed as a fine herb, it was coriander that striked me. I adore this strong scented herb and I was electrified when I tasted it in my omelet. It never occurred to me before, bringing coriander, something I have always related to Indian cuisine, next to anything in breakfast but it was sensational! 

Coffee2
Secondly, it was emmental cheese that made a world of difference. When emmental melts, it doesn't reveal its fat like other cheese and because it is not salty nor too strong, its taste doesn't overwhelm but improves it in a subtle way. When you are making a french omelet, using french cheese is the least you can do anyway. 

Last but not the least, I'd say butter was the hero behind the scenes. Even a tiny amount (what I use is a mere quarter of a teaspoon) makes a whole lot of difference. Previously, I always used olive oil for omelets but now I regard that era of my life as a complete waste. Nothing can be more appetizing than the smell of butter in the morning and that's what I say. 

The silky texture must have been achieved by either milk or cream I thought. I opted for both because cream gives fluffiness but overdoing it turns it into a souffle. The omelet needs a little fluidity thus I added milk not water unlike most omelet recipes. I applied one of Julia Child's omelet making techniques. Whose opinion you thought I was going to consult to if not hers, when she has written pages in detail on ways to master a french omelet? After many try outs I reached a final version closest to the taste of what I can remember as the best omelet in the world, which I am proud to present you today. Et voila la meilleure omelette du monde!

Cheese and Herbs Omelet

serves 1

Kitchenware required:

  • a 7 inch/18 cm non-stick pan 

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon chopped coriander*
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons (50 gr) graded emmental cheese
  • 1/2 tablespoon cream
  • 1/2 tablespoon milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a deep bowl, beat eggs, cream, milk, herbs and a pinch of salt for 20 seconds until yolks and whites are blended well.<
  2. Heat the pan over high heat. Place the butter in the pan and tilt the pan to coat it evenly with the melting butter. As the butter foam starts browning, pour in the eggs. Start shaking the pan back and forth to spread the egg evenly over the bottom of the pan.
  3. As the bottom of the omelet starts to thicken, the surface will still be fluid. Sprinkle the graded cheese at this point.
  4. Lift the handle of the pan to hold it 45 degrees to the heat source and with the help of a spatula or a fork and gather the omelet on the far edge of the pan.
  5. Let the omelet brown for a second or two then transfer it to a hot plate. Sprinkle with more fresh chopped herbs.
  6. *If you are not a coriander fan, drop it and use tarragon or chives instead, it won't be the same but still be good.

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