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Inquiry about Omelettes

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Its been a while since I posted here, been keeping quite busy.

I am posting today because I just have a general inquiry about omelettes (American style). Is it not desirable to have a light golden sear on the outside of the omelette? Burnt obviously isnt good, but I always had it in my mind that there should be a little bit of crispiness on an American Omelette as opposed to it barely cooked so it is just clean yellow. I generally associate that with French Omelettes.

This is a small debate I kinda got in with one of my coworkers, and while I will admit I am not the best breakfast cook around, I could have sworn that this was ok? Am I just crazy?

*edit* I just realized this would probably be better suited for the Food & Cooking discusison, sorry... its been a while since I've been here.
post #2 of 12
If you look back on this site you will see these question answered hundreds of times.
post #3 of 12
RAS1187 !!! Great to see you posting again!! I have wondered where you disappeared to.

Back on topic; as noted the topic has been discussed several times in the past with as many opinions about it as there are people expressing an opinion. Overall it seems like it should be acceptable to calll a slightly browned omelette American, if for no other reason it shouldn't be called a French omelette.

The main issue seems to be whether or not people like the texture or flavor derived from the browning. For me---I don't like it but have eaten many with the slightly browned surface.

The topic is appropriate for this forum as you are a professional cook in discusions with a professional cook(coworker) and you are seeking information from other professionals.
post #4 of 12
Some browning in spots is OK.

The differences between a "French" and some other kind of omelette are more about other things than the outside -- where IMO, a little bit of GBD here and there resulting from the butter going "noisette" as the eggs cook is acceptable. If the pan is not hot enough to brown the butter in the time it takes to cook the omelette the pan is not hot enough to make a proper omelette. If there's not enough butter to lend color to the eggs -- you're either using olive oil (bien by me and La Belle France) or not using enough fat (barbaric and not bien).

Otherwise for a savory omelette in the French style: The eggs should be silky, not fluffy; the center should be right on the edge of "not quite set;" fillings should be used in moderation, not overstuffed; and the omelette should be folded in thirds (preferably without resorting to a spatula or other tool), rather than folded in half or flipped "pancake style."

On the other hand, American style omelettes should be somewhat fluffy; cooked through (but not overcooked); filled generously; and folded in half, cooked pancake style or both(!). American omelettes are often generously stippled with brown. As with French omelettes, that's more a function of the heat of the pan and amount of butter. than cooking time. We can infer, you prefer to cook your omelettes at moderate heat.

Here's the recipe for the most French of all omelettes, from Mme Poulard (when she was still alive!) as transmitted to one M. Viel (restaurateur and author of several cookbooks) who couldn't help but ask and was glad he did: Je casse de bons oeufs dans une terrine, je les bats bien, je mets un bon morceau de beurre dans la poĂȘle, j'y jette les oeufs et je remue constamment. Je suis heureuse, monsieur, si cette recette vous fait plaisir. This translates as, "I break some good eggs into a bowl, I beat them well, I put a nice bit of butter in a pan, I throw in the eggs and I shake them constantly. I am fortunate, monsieur, should you find this recipe peasing." Not a hint of sarcasm, either. Or, just un peu, perhaps.

The above technique based mostly on the recipe, cooking "education, training and experience," holding down the "omelette bar" doing catering gigs, and knocking around Europe a little bit over the years. I hope you find it pleasing.

post #5 of 12
You're never going to get a consistent response. I vote for no browning.
post #6 of 12
I've been scratching my head, thinking about this. Many if not most of the omelettes I've seen or had in France were substantially more browned than those you usually see omelettes in the United States.

Anyone have a clue to where the notion "French" omelettes aren't browned comes from?

Not to disagree with my own bad self, but most were simply folded in half, rather than the classic French three-fold I learned; and more than a few were pancake style.

If you want to get some idea of what French omelettes look like, Goolge the search terms, "recette" + "omelette" + "photo," and you'll get some idea of the range of appearances as well as the degree of acceptable browning.

post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Yeah I guess theres no real set in stone answer for this.

When I think of a french omelette, a couple of characteristics stand out.
1.) Its perfectly yellow, no browning
2.) Its slightly runny
3.) Its tri-folded/rolled over, not folded in half (which again I associate the folded in half with American Omelettes).

Thanks for the input anyway guys. It has been some insanity for about a year now (or when I stopped checking in regularly). I completed a 6-month FOH internship that rotated me around server, room service, bartender, and even starbucks barista. I wrapped up on 1 more hectic semester of school, but now I'm done. Graduation is set for next month, and I'm currently working full time at the hotel I've always been at. Because I am trained in FOH now, I end up shifting back and forth each week because theyre a little shorthanded right now.
post #8 of 12
no browning for me!! i strongly dislike the browning, i feel that by that point the eggs are overcooked and dry. funny that i was taught that a "proper" omelette doesn't have colour on the outside, yet 99% of the time i get an omelette, it's coloured.. why?

if anyone can answer this question for me, it would be appreciated
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
I think that its because (especially in high-volume establishments) the cooks are not always as attentive as they should be when making an omelette. When youre busy, you kinda get things going in the saute pan and then begin working on other stuff while the saute pan cooks. When you pay $6 for an omelette, its sorta you get what you pay for, but if I were paying alot of money for an omelette (which I wouldnt), I would be agitated.

I know that I'll throw the eggs in the pan and let them sit for a little bit while I begin to do other things. When I remember that I have eggs in the pan, they have already browned slightly. If they got more than slightly browned, I'll discard them.
post #10 of 12
I don't know if this ir regional or what. I learned to cook omelttes in a hot pan, and omelettes cooked in a hot pan are always browned -- even if runny inside. It's a function of the heat of the pan and the color of the butter. Personally, I prefer my eggs almost but not quite set on the inside -- my wife calls them "disgusting" -- I xcan't imagine anyone finding them overcooked, yet they're covered with spiderwebs of browning. Sorry about the repetition, but nearly all of the omelettes one sees in France are browned and they are definitely not overcooked either.

All yellow omelettes are products of cooking at scrambled egg temperatures. Does bad things to the texture, IMO.

post #11 of 12
Ed its's alright to start another one.

I usually brown my omelettes and fold in half and over stuff. I like thick eggs.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Well obviously (for me) the way to do it is the way the Chef wants it done.

He uses little to no fat on a nonstick pan over very high heat, sautees the ingredients seperately in another pan. Once the eggs have started to cook and the bottom of the omelette will hold shape, he takes it off the heat and throws the pan under the salamander. Once it is almost set, he adds the hot sauteed ingredients and then sits it on the salamander for a few more seconds. Fold in half on the plate, done. Yellow and fluffy with no browning at all.

Alot more complicated than how I was originally taught (by my mom). But of course, his way supercedes everything. I kinda want some breakfast now.
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