It's not uncommon for home cooks to have issues when it comes to the subject of omelet-making. The ideal omelet ranges in color from vibrant yellow to golden brown, but that depends a lot on the preference of the chef and the ingredients that are folded inside. The main issue is often when that flip or fold should take place and how long the omelet should cook to firm up the inside and complete the dish.
On the Stovetop
Whether you choose to prepare a classic, fluffy French omelet or a standard blend-and-pour omelet you'd find in scores of breakfast restaurants, your cooking time is essentially the same. Start with a nonstick pan over medium heat for both types of omelet, and once the beaten egg mixture is in the pan, it will take roughly two minutes to cook on the bottom and be firm on the top. Once you flip the omelet over, or in thirds in the case of a classic French omelet, you may need an extra 30 seconds, depending on what kind of extras you've added to the omelet.
Some omelets contain barely any filling, and some contain a pile of different ingredients. A subtle French omelet might include chopped tarragon, salt and pepper, while an American restaurant might use chunky peppers, spinach, onion, bacon, sausage and a few different melted cheeses. The key is planning it so everything is ready just how you want it all at the same time. If you know your omelet takes three total minutes in the pan, and the peppers or sausage you want take longer to get soft or browned, you will have to some pre-cooking before the eggs go in. It's also important to add the cheese right before you are ready to fold the omelet, so it has the right amount of time to melt.
In the Oven
A western omelet may not be considered authentic in some circles, but it makes for a substantial and satisfying meal for breakfast or dinner. Of course, this oven method of cooking an omelet takes quite a bit longer than the quick stovetop method. First, mushrooms, onions, peppers and ham are precooked in a skillet over medium heat for around seven minutes. After that mixture is added to a baking dish, the egg mixture consisting of beaten eggs, milk, a pinch of flour and salt and pepper is poured over top. Then, grated cheese is sprinkled over that and the whole thing goes into a 375-degree Fahrenheit oven for about 15 minutes, until firm and golden brown.
No matter how you decide to cook your omelet, or what you use as a filling, it's important to follow egg safety procedures while you do it. FoodSafety.gov recommends cooking eggs until they are firm and read 160 F with a food thermometer. Take the time to ensure the top or center of your omelet is firm and no longer runny before you fold it and proceed to serve it.
Joshua McCarron has been writing both online and offline since 1995. He has been employed as a copywriter since 2005 and in that position has written numerous blogs, online articles, websites, sales letters and news releases. McCarron graduated from York University in Toronto with a bachelor's degree in English.
Thinkstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images