“As everybody knows, there is only one infallible recipe for the perfect omelette: your own. Reasonably enough; a successful dish is often achieved by quite different methods than those advocated in the cookery books or by professional chefs, but over this question of omelette making professional and amateur cooks alike are particularly unyielding. Argument has never been known to convert anybody to a different method, so if you have your own, stick to it and let others go their cranky ways, mistaken, stubborn and ignorant to the end.”
— Elizabeth David, French Provincial Cooking, 1960
Elizabeth David’s piece ‘An Omelette and a Glass of Wine’ is one of her many articles written between 1955 and 1984 for numerous publications including The Spectator, Gourmet Magazine, Vogue and The Sunday Times. The book of the same name An Omelette and a Glass of Wine, published in 1984, is an exquisite collection of many of these articles.
In this article she recounts the reputation of a restaurant called Hotel de la Tete d’Or on the coast of Normandy. While the reputation of this establishment was built on the one single menu served day in, day out, year in, year out, it was the lightness and beauty of Madame Poulard’s omelettes which David attributes to her fame. According to David many customers tried to explain what was so special about Madame Poulard’s omelette, however it wasn’t until a Monsieur Viel wrote to Madame Poulard many years after she had ‘long retired from her arduous labours’ that her reply was published in La Table in 1932.
Here is the recipe for the omelette: I break some good eggs in a bowl, I beat them well, I put a good piece of butter in the pan, I throw the eggs into it, and I shake it constantly. I am happy, Monsieur, if this recipe pleases you.
I have made many omelettes over the years, but never more so than at Carriageworks Farmers Market where I sometimes made up to 200 every Saturday morning served with a seasonal selection of ingredients direct from the producers at the markets, such as heirloom tomatoes and mushrooms. These we called OMG’s – Oh My Goshlettes.
Here is mine.
Image Credit: Caroline McCredie
An OMG (Oh My Goshlette – Omelette)
- A pan of your choice that works. Some recommend a non-stick or flat based heavy pan.
- 2 x 60 gm free range eggs at room temperature
- 30 gms unsalted butter
- sea salt
- ground black pepper
- extra virgin olive oil for drizzling over the finished omelette
- squeeze of lemon juice
- Choose your favourite omelette pan, either non-stick or heavy and flat. Yes, you will need to identify which pan is your favourite omelette pan based upon trial and error and the best results. I find for a two-egg omelette, a pan with a diameter of 22cm works well.
- Heat the pan on medium high.
- Break the eggs into a small bowl adding a pinch of salt and a generous grinding of black pepper. Whisk briefly (about four turns of a fork).
- Add the butter to the pan before it gets too hot and as soon as it melts and starts to bubble, just as it starts to turn to nut brown, add the whisked eggs. (This may also take some practice to get it just right).
- Tilting the pan first away from you and using a spatula to hold the omelette in place tilt the pan back towards you allowing the still raw mix to flow freely towards the lower end.
- A couple of tilts of the same routine should suffice. Flip half the omelette over the other and serve immediately with a squeeze of lemon juice and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.