December 14, 2009

Kitchen Fail/Win: The Five-Egg Omelet

I'm not very good at breakfast foods. Visiting T in London last spring, I managed to ruin pancakes. The burner was too hot, so the pancakes burned on the outside while remaining disturbingly raw on the inside. The Lyle's Golden Syrup, which we used in place of maple syrup (which really doesn't seem to exist in the U.K.), was about as thick and tasty as tar. All in all, it was a bad experience.

Fast forward to yesterday morning, when I decide to make a caramelized onion, tomato, and goat cheese omelet. Sounds good, right? Well, the second one was.

There I am in the kitchen, having actually looked up omelet techniques in Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything, since I am well aware of my tendency to botch simple dishes. I've beaten the eggs with some milk, buttered the pan, and poured the mixture in to cook. T walks in, and the following exchange ensues:

T: Wow, how many eggs are in that omelet?
K: Five. That's what the recipe called for.
T: That's great--I'm starving.
K (eyeing the giant mass of eggs in the pan): Wait, you want this all to yourself?
T: Well, yeah. What did you think, we were going to split an omelet?
K: No...OK, well, I guess this means I can mess up on the first one and serve you the second.
T: No, no, it's fine. I'll eat the first one.

Now, the problem with a five-egg omelet is that it is undeniably thick, and really hard to cook evenly, even over low heat. I did not know this, as this was literally the first omelet I had ever made. By the time I got the goat cheese, caramelized onions, and tomatoes into the omelet, folded it, and flipped it over, the eggs were too dry on the outside, and too runny on the inside.

I served the omelet to T, who gently pointed out the dry egg issue...several times. Granted, once he reached the filling in the middle, he seemed to enjoy it. But the dryness of the eggs and the sheer size of the omelet (both ends hung off the plate) made it less than a successful endeavor.

My omelet, however, was fantastic. I made it with three eggs, doubled the amount of goat cheese (a wise choice), and cooked it for much less time. As T was struggling through the last bites of his omelet and washing them down with orange juice, I began to dig in to my buttery, flavorful omelet and tasted success...finally.

To keep this post from getting too long, I'll share the successful recipe in a separate post. Suffice it to say, though, that I learned a thing or two about omelets yesterday. And I guess that's the best part about this whole "teaching myself to cook" thing; every mistake helps me learn more and become a better cook. Too bad T signed up to eat the mistake, though.

1 comment:

  1. Eggs are actually really difficult to cook well, so don't feel embarrassed about looking up techniques! Cooking eggs is often the interview for cooks/chefs.

    I was terrified when the executive chef/owner of Savor told me she wanted me to start being the brunch cook. She actually teaches an omelet making class at Williams-Sonoma once a month, so I got my own personal lesson. Oddly, it began with me flipping dry beans in a pan for a week and progressed to 3 egg omelets. I still to this day cannot properly make an all egg white omelet though.