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Classic French Omelet

The omelette is commonly thought to have originated in the along the Mediterranean. Beaten eggs were mixed with chopped herbs, fried until firm, and then sliced into wedges. Each country along the Mediterranean has adapted the original recipe to produce Italian frittata, Spanish tortilla and the French omelette.

The classic French omelette is not cooked as long as its American counterpart. This omelette is simple in design but difficult in execution.

Mr. Ferguson's note: As the great chef, Julia Child, once noted, read through the entire recipe before making your first omelette. Egg recipes move very quickly and there is no time to consult your recipe once you've begun the process.

Yield: 8  (4 servings)


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. milk
  • ¼ cup grated cheese
  • Butter
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Salt, to taste (do not salt eggs before or during cooking: salt can cause the eggs to become tough during cooking, so for best results salt eggs, if desired, only after cooking)

Preparation Procedure

  1. Mix the eggs in a bowl.
  2. Melt tons of butter in a 9-inch omelette pan at high heat.
    [this reminds me of something chef Martin Picard (host of the television serries The Wild Chef and the owner of one of Montreal's top eateries Au Pied de Cochon) said: "I wish I could use less butter, but I cannot"]
  3. Regulate the heat of the pan by lifting it off the heat or turning down the flame so you don't burn the butter.
  4. When the butter foams, pour the eggs into the pan, swirling them around in the pan to distribute evenly.
  5. Lift sides of omlette to allow uncooked egg to flow underneath.
  6. Cook the eggs for about 30 seconds.
  7. Let the eggs set.
  8. Regulate the heat of the pan so you don't dry out the eggs. If it seems to be cooking too quickly, lift the pan off the heat or turn down the flame.
  9. Jiggle and shake the pan gently to distribute the eggs and cook them.
  10. Roll the creamy, almost runny parts of the omelette inside of it by tilting the pan. You want to keep these parts runny and creamy, not cook them dry.
  11. If you are going to add a filling, place filling in the centre of the omlette.
  12. Shake the pan to move the omelette to one side. Then, briskly pull the pan towards yourself, causing the omlette to flip over and fold in half. (If you're nervous about doing this, fold one side of the omelette over itself with a spatula).
  13. Use a reverse grip on the hadle and slide the omelette out of the pan onto the centre of a plate.


  • A classic omelette is just eggs and butter. If you want to fill the omelette, put 2 to 3 tbsp. filling on one half of the omelette just before you roll it out of the pan.
  • Use medium-high or medium heat if you're not confident that you can regulate the heat by lifting the pan off the burner.
  • The omelette should be creamy and yellow, not brown. It should end up a gossamer mass of buttery protein.
  • The whole process should take about 30 seconds.