I've been cooking for a couple years now. I am currently a breakfast line cook that makes only omelettes. I wanted any advice from anyone in a similar situation. I make omelettes with one other cook, we each have a stove top with 4 burners each and every morning we get slammed with a ton of orders making speed an essential part of our work. Ive experimented with several methods of making omelettes but i never found something im happy with. Any cooks out there been through the same thing?
If I was served an omelette like the one in the first picture, I send it back.
You will have to be a bit more specific with any problems you are having. The standard rules apply for having all your mise-en-place in place, Orienting your tools for easy grasping, and remaining calm so you can think straight.
As for omelets, you must be doing pan omelets rather than on the grill so unless you want to keep seasoned pans, make sure you have at least three high quality non stick pans so you can make more than one at a time. Each pan should have its' own small stainless steel bowl for mixing the eggs unless you pool the eggs and strain them ahead of time. I don't recommend pooling. If you do pool the eggs, you should keep the container in a deep bed of ice.
As Cantu pointed out, the first omelet is overcooked although that is the style I would be most likely to go with.
What else did you want to know?
I work them on high heat and like I am doing scrambled eggs, constantly moving. When they start to set, I put the warmed filling on top. Lid the pan and remove from the heat. Takes maybe 90 seconds up to this point. Let it sit maybe 30 seconds while I start another one, then I roll (or you can fold) onto the plate.
At the point where I lid, some people will instead throw the pan under a salamander or into the oven to finish. I feel that this toughens and dries the omelette which is why I like to lid as it keeps heat and moisture in.
This was a game-changer for me. It had never occurred to me to begin agitation right before pouring the egg in. I used to just pour and wait, hence my failed omelettes. After I watched that vid on PBS, I was able to change my whole omelette game up.
chefwriter: "strain" the eggs? What do you mean?
Butter and fillings go in first, then the eggs. They get folded to the center until they start to set. Every fold makes the omelet fluffier. When its cooked most the way through, like a pancake, I flip and top with cheese, spinach, etc. The opposite side is done within a minute. I fold onto a plate and sauce if there is one.
Somewhere out there, a guy has a picture of me pulling of a perfect double omelet flip at a luxury car dealer I did demos at.
Pooling eggs ... means breaking them in batches and holding them for service.
Pretty much 'out-lawed' in most places...
You need to strain them because when broken with a wire-whisk stand mixer ... the shell bits can get every where.
Talking about 3-4 flats at a time here... big mixer - going to be shell bits... must strain.
I'll jump back in. I would never mix eggs in a stand mixer with the shells. Crack them by hand into a large container, then strain to remove any small piece of shell that have fallen in. This also breaks up the egg white a bit and makes a smoother omelet mix. Despite egg producers claims that the eggs have been cleaned, there is too much potential for contamination from the outsides of the shells to mix them all in with the eggs. Michael is correct that this practice is not approved in most places, mostly because the eggs are often allowed to sit in a warm environment for too long.
Once the rest of your station is set up correctly, cracking the eggs to order should be fast enough.
Well that's one way, the first side being the INside, flipping, finishing the outside then rolling/folding to plate.
Another is to pour, cook til barely firm, flip, dump in fillings, trim, roll, plate.
Another is to not flip at all, (pan method only) pull edges up to leak top puddle down beneath as it cooks,
when losing glassiness fill (preheated fillings) roll to 2/3, dump to plate while finishing the roll.
All depends on finished objective, the third method makes for a "rumpled" look to the outer surface,
e.g., "country omelette". While second method better affords the opportunity to make a colorfful "outside"
while still having it filled. Example, spinach and tomato cooked into the outer shell of the omelette, while still
having your "loose" filling ingreds inside.
Back when TGI Friday's had a solid reputation in the industry......and yes, there was a day when that was the case........we had several omelet and egg dishes on the menu. These were available for order at all times of the day and during all levels of business. Working the saute station meant you needed to juggle 4-5 pans that contained everything from chicken parm or pasta prima vera to a crab and artichoke omelet and eggs to order. It may have been more but I believe about 35% of the menu was produced on the saute station at that time.
The method we used there was similar to what I experienced in hotels. Eggs would be individually cracked into large storage containers using the china cap method. This helped to keep the shells and albumen out as some have already mentioned. Only one place I ever worked had someone that put the eggs into a mixer and then strained them through the china cap. I never liked that method because when you try to force all the egg out of the shells using the same method you would straining other things like stocks and sauces, you would inevitably push shell through the holes just as you would any other product. There was no way to keep the bits from entering into the mix at that point and imhpo, completely ruined the eggs.
The eggs were mixed with one cup of water per gallon of egg using a large bulb, piano wire whisk. Salt and pepper was also added at a rate of typically 4:1tsp, in that order. A couple places I ran, I substituted the water with heavy cream.
All omelets were made with 8oz of omelet mix. This was ladled into a hot pan containing 1-1/2 oz of clarified butter. The egg was built in the pan in a type of layering method. This was done by lifting the cooked egg with a rubber spatula while tilting the pan to allow the raw, liquid egg to fill in under the cooked and was continued around the whole pan until there was only a scant amount of raw egg on the top. Heat was cut off and the omelet was then flipped and filled with cheeses and filling. We used a trifold/roll method for presentation. The eggs were also not browned in fact, they were served a little "loose" but with a solid, unbroken outer appearance.
I learned this method back in the early 80's and I never varied from it. Anywhere I worked as a Chef, Kitchen Manager or cook that served omelets from the kitchen of from a station since then , we were known for them and people would visit us just for the omelet. I'm not saying it's the best way but it was the most successful for me.
edit: I should also mention that with some recipes used, half of all ingredients that required the need to be sauteed prior to adding the eggs were removed from the pan and added as filling plus, reserving one piece of each ingredient for garnish . The other half remained in the pan to be incorporated into the eggs. There were times that a guest would request a plethora of ingredients and this would prove to be a difficultly with the omelet appearance. That being the case, you had to exercise a little judgment on how much to actually remove for filling versus what remained in the pan. Also, cheeses were never added to the omelet mix because of the browning that could occur. They were only used as filling or garnish.
Edited by oldschool1982 - 2/26/14 at 6:56am
I have been a AM line cook for almost as long as I have been a line cook. And if there is one thing I am confident, and there really is only one, its eggs. I cook perfect eggs every time, or they dont go out. My ticket times are perfect for AM, can do 80+ covers by myself using 4 pans and a flat top, 150+ covers with another cook and I still use 4 pans, that's all you need.
...but it wasn't always like this...
I struggled with eggs at first, how can you be so fast but so delicate, how can maintain under 8 minute ticket times when you only have 4 pans and 45 eggs on order! Impossible I thought. You will start to get faster and more efficient once you refine your skills a bit, and that will come naturally just pounding eggs through breakfast service. When doing 100's of covers every morning and maintaining ticket times with a low man team the fasted omelette will always be the western style half moon ingredients and egg all in one pan, flip once slightly wet in the middle. The less brown the better, burnt eggs taste terrible.
Cooking eggs on high heat, well i know a lot of people do it well, but to be honest I am against it. Medium to Medium High and as you do more and more eggs you should be at about medium heat 3-4 orders in. Theres no way when you have to cook 30 eggs in one pan in a row, that having it at high heat will benefit you at all. You will drop some eggs in there and they will instantly brown. Salting your egg mix before, also against that as well, Egg and lemon juice is all I have used, no milk no salt just eggs and lemon juice, and the citric acid is just to preserve color. Season the veg in the pan egg on top medium heat you should be able to pump omelets out at bout 3-5 minutes per omelette, and that's only because the veg need to cook. If the pan is hot and ready to go you can make an 8" omelette in 2 minutes.
If you have a salamander use it, very nice for eggs. I don't even flip egg white omelettes anymore because since there is no binder anymore they can be very difficult. I find that instead of flipping the egg white I just cook the bottom, and finish in the salamander slide it on the plate.
Don't be afraid of your flat top if you have one. Sometimes when I get hit hard on the line i will cook sunny side up, over easy and even omelettes if my pans are full and will be for a while.
I dont even eat omelets anymore. After cooking thousands of them they just don't even seem like food anymore.
Spanish Chorizo Omelet.......I sautee the veggies, put in the egg,bleed the egg from top to bottom, flip and put in the cheese. I let the heat of the pan cook the bottom while the cheese melts from the top heat after folding. I want the top to look just done and fluffy..........
Thanks. By the way..........was out of the giant red-spotted spiders since we had them yesterday for breakfast.
Seriously though, egg beaters is not as resilliant as whole, fresh beaten eggs when you mix in ingredients. I have learned over the years to put everything in as a filling and not "some here some there" plus you get a fluffier and more complete omelet. I also was just about finished eating when it dawned on me to take a picture of the cross-section. Have to remember next time. And you are correct.....no browning! My first Chef would have killed me (have been hit by flying omelet too) if I browned the eggs and I haven't since.
Yeah Im not crazy about egg beaters, it just cooks differenty.
Well as you know its all a trade-off, if you wanna risk a little browning, you can use higher heat and cut down on
cook time. But perfect non brown eggs take lower heat, something you need to force yourself to do when you have
15 tickets hangin' on the spinner, and 6 fair maidens drumming their fingers on the dang pass bar.
Same goes for pretty much scrambled and fried eggs too of course, in regard to the browning.
Lightly beat eggs with tablespoon of ice water, add to non stick pan hot enough that the egg starts to cling to the pan but not bubble. Shake violently in a swirling motion until folds form, swirl eggs around outside of the pan a couple of times then pull in with a rubber spatula. Turn off heat, flip omelette, flip back again, fill, fold, serve. I learned this method from the cafe beaujolais cookbook and is in my opinion the undisputed best technique Margaret Fox was a genius and her book never leaves my kitchen. Not only is it incredibly quick but produces a thick fluffy omelette similar to a baked one. The omelette will also brown very little but be completely cooked through.
I've spent a lot of time trying to make nice omelettes at home. I find this works well. 3 eggs a bit of water add milk like a cap full for of each. A little bit of cumin, paprika and turmeric which helps take away the blandness of the eggs salt and pepper. What I do is put them in the pan and don't stir them. For some reason they seem to have more taste if you don't stir them. I put them on medium heat not to high. Egg dry's out if you cook it to fast. Then turn over and cook the other side.
I use a small amount of canola oil spray in a good non stick pan. Add beaten eggs, season, swirl to coat pan. Pull away from corners, fill empty space with runny eggs. Swirl around pan and scrape down edges. The goal is to get the runny top (inside) almost set as fast as possible. Once you can fold without spilling, add fillings and fold. Inside should still be runny. Toss in the oven for 1-1.5 minutes. Omelet will puff up and be big an beautiful.
I developed this technique working brunch in a tiny kitchen. It minimizes stove top time, allows me to multi task better while the omelet is finishing in the oven and produces excellent results.
+1, omelette has to be soft, no colour like that one on the photo by oldschool1982....at least that is the French way. Friend of mine went to do a stage at Alain Ducasses kitchen in Monaco. The test for entry was plain omelette, he has done hundreds of them for practice and he told me that soft, no colour omelette was the way they wanted it, the only way for them. I think that cooking eggs is a very
personal thing but whenever I need to make one professionally I do it soft, no colour, without putting it under the salamander, only because that is the way I was taught...
Crack 4 eggs. Throw one away. Place the other 3 in a bowl, with 1/2 tsp. each of milk, water, olive oil, and almond milk. Whisk eggs with a spork until lightly frothed but not rabid. Heat a electric griddle to 350F, place a nonstick skillet on griddle. Melt 1 tbsp butter until foamy, where 3 bubbles pop every 1 second. Swirl clockwise (ONLY CLOCKWISE!) until pan is coated. Place half of the egg mix in to the pan, stir with spork until large curds start to form. Do 15 seconds of a traditional Spanish Fandango, then add the rest of the eggs. Place back on griddle, and DO NOT TOUCH for 17 seconds.
Use the spork to gently curl the sides of the omelette, gently folding it downward so that you can pool rest of eggs on the top. Add 1/8 tsp fine French sea salt (NO OTHER SALT). Cover one eye with your left hand, with your right roll the eggs up like a cigar. Place the lip of the pan at a 52 degree angle perpendicular to a large dinner plate warmed in an oven at 200F for exactly 7.5 minutes. Tap the handle of the pan 22 times exactly, so that the omelette will roll from the pan to the plate, like a fair maiden rolling down a hill in Spring during the Middle Ages.
Foolproof was to make an omelette.
We had a chef in my town that had come from Europe. He was a nice man and much respected as a chef. When he made an omelet, he always added about a teaspoon or slightly more of ice water to the eggs immediately before dumping them in the pan. It made his omelets light and tender. They would actually make a hissing sound when you cut off a piece. I don't know why that works. I think it's because the water is so cold that it doesn't heat up until the eggs are almost cooked and at that point it turns to steam and forms air pockets in the eggs.