Chef Ryan

Cajun Chef Ryan

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How an omelet changed my life

August 29th, 2008 · 18 Comments

My first cooking venture was during the summer of 1974 and I was 13 years old with not much to do but sit and watch TV all day. The local PBS station WYES in New Orleans would air the French Chef and then the Frugal Gourmet back to back around 10 or 11 am every morning. I got into the habit of watching them most mornings and I was enthralled with their talent and cooking techniques.

I was especially moved by Julia Child in one segment where she spent the entire episode on French Omelets. She explained how the eggs for an omelet are mixed ever so slightly with some water and not milk, that was intriguing. I had always seen my mom make scrambled eggs with milk, but Julia explained that the water helps to fluff up the eggs by creating some steam as they cook in the pan. Her dialogue and demonstrations also highlighted that once you learn to make the basic omelet you can make them in 100’s of varieties and flavors.  She thoroughly demonstrated the “flip“, it’s all in the wrist you know, and that set me off on my real first kitchen adventure.

While home alone I proceeded to break about two dozen eggs before I finally mastered the ubiquitous omelet “flip“! I cleaned up my mess and eggs that were all over the floor, stove and counter tops and started to think of how I was going to answer my mom when she saw all the eggs in the house were gone! Well, she took it in stride and was just happy that I cleaned up after myself, but there was some method to her madness too! I soon was asked to cook breakfast on weekend mornings and sure enough I soon became known for my omelets. Even while visiting at friends houses as a teenager I would end up making everyone omelets. On some occasions we would even make special trips to the grocery for unique omelet filling ingredients like cream cheese with chives, smoked oysters, wild mushrooms, various speciality cheeses and even some wild ones that did not go so well like a sauerkraut omelet.

Fast forward nine years to 1983 and while an apprentice at the Hyatt Regency Hotel New Orleans I was assigned to the omelet station on Sunday Jazz Brunch for 2 years. We would have a station of 4 burners and half a dozen saute pans lined up along with various ingredients such as onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, diced ham, shredded cheddar, shrimp, and other stuff that customers wanted in their omelet. It became a great skill and show flipping 4 omelet pans in sequence in front of an admiring crowd. It was a lot of work standing up for 4 hours straight from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm every Sunday, but I really honed my omelet flipping skills.

Fast forward to today; since we were short on time and had some eggs on hand I made some individual omelets for dinner and decided to make some Southwest Style Omelets with some onions, tomatoes, salsa, shredded taco cheese and sour cream. In just about 20 minutes I had dinner on the table and everyone was happy. I re-told my Julia Child omelet story again (my family really is nice to listen to the story every time we have omelets) and we enjoyed a nice dinner. Ben put some sour cream on top of his and thought it would make a nice photo too!

There are plenty of omelet variations out there and different techniques for each of them, here is my recipe for a Basic Plain French Omelet, you can add your own fillings.

Basic Plain French Omelet 

Ingredients

2

Each

Eggs, large

1

Tbsp

Water, cool

¼

Tsp

Salt

¼

Tsp

Black pepper, cracked

1

Tsp

Parsley flakes

½

Tbsp

Butter

 

Procedure Steps

1.

Crack the eggs into a small bowl and add the water, salt, pepper and parsley

2.

With a fork or wire whisk gently fold the ingredients together but do not over mix

3.

Heat a 6” sauté or omelet pan until very hot then add the butter to melt

4.

Pour in the omelet egg mixture and using a rubber spatula gently fold the cooked edges of the egg over and under without scrambling

5.

When the omelet is about 80% set up flip it over and then add your filling of choice

6.

If you want to have a filling ingredient such as cheese this is when you add it to the omelet

7.

Once the omelet is set and cooked turn it onto the serving plate with what is known as the tri-fold procedure. A tri-fold is where the top edge of the omelet will turn onto itself and inside and curl under.

8.

Top with more cheese or sauce of choice

 Bonne appetite!

P.S. I actually got to meet Julia Child on two separate occasions during the American Culinary Federation Convention in New Orleans, August, 1990, and also during an American Institute of Wine and Food/Macy’s cooking demo event. Here is a group photo of the chefs who volunteered during one of the events with Julia Child, she was also promoting her at the time new cook book “The Way To Cook”  (that’s me on the back row, second from the left)

 

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Tags: Breakfast · Commentary · French Cuisine · Julia Child · Recipes

18 responses so far ↓

  • 1 BeFoodieNo Gravatar // Aug 29, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    I just remembered the first omlette I had made. It was supposed to be a kind of almond pudding at all, but as I cracked eggs directly in to hot milk it turned out an omlette all of a sudden :))

    And Wow… When I was born you were making omlettes in Hyatt Regency ! Really cool 😀

    I’m quite away from that :)) Though I even like the thought.

    …by the way… such a lovely picture… 🙂

  • 2 JessieNo Gravatar // Oct 17, 2009 at 9:51 am

    very touching story! I still need to master my omelet skills, I should watch some of Julia’s lessons on making omelets. I usually do not use milk or water at all while making eggs but now I see that it is a must to keep those eggs soft and fluffy.

  • 3 sizzlechefNo Gravatar // Oct 17, 2009 at 10:37 am

    Thank you for sharing. Cheers !

  • 4 gourmet travellerNo Gravatar // Oct 17, 2009 at 11:47 am

    Love the story! I have to say I’ve never been very good at scrambling or poaching eggs, nevermind making omelettes – I’ve always left egg duty to my husband. But now with your tips maybe I can finally master the omelette!

  • 5 Bibiana BaileyNo Gravatar // Oct 17, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    I am still making my omelets with touch of milk.

    Well, no more. The water makes sense. I never thought about it I just did it the way my dad did.

  • 6 MarticaNo Gravatar // Oct 17, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    Great story! I had a yummy omelet for breakfast today (spinach,cheddar and mashed cauliflower)

  • 7 The Chickenless ChickNo Gravatar // Oct 17, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    Always nice to hear about a family sitting down to a homemade meal together. What a priceless image.

    I read somewhere (and now I wish I could remember where!) that buttermilk meshes better than regular milk with the flavor of eggs. I hardly ever have buttermilk around the house, but I do keep plain yogurt on hand, which is similar but for the texture. So now I always beat plain yogurt in with my eggs to make omelets, quiches, etc. Never thought about doing it with water. Probably that yields the cleanest taste of all. Will have to try it.

  • 8 Lori LynnNo Gravatar // Oct 17, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    Great post. How fortunate you got to meet Julia, love the photo.

    I like Ben’s version.
    LL

  • 9 penny aka jeroxieNo Gravatar // Oct 17, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    I love eggs for any meals. Cannot image life without this ingredient. And I wish I could flip eggs too!

  • 10 lortisNo Gravatar // Oct 17, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    try using a piece of bread in your egg pan to learn the flipping technique. Tip the pan forward let the egg (bread) slide a little, using your wrist give a little rolling lift to the front of the pan. When the bread slides over nicely you can move on to eggs. Don’t expect perfect over easy all the time!

  • 11 Ivan.mamintaNo Gravatar // Oct 18, 2009 at 9:43 am

    Now I know why water and not milk. hanks for the post!

  • 12 TammyNo Gravatar // Oct 18, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    I had heard the reason people add milk to the eggs is because some people don’t like the flavor of eggs so the milk tones it down.

  • 13 Anne RitchingsNo Gravatar // Oct 18, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    Loved this story. thanks for sharing.

  • 14 CheapAppetiteNo Gravatar // Oct 19, 2009 at 3:51 am

    What a great story! You were so talented since you were young. I’m glad your mom wasn’t mad at you that day you used up all the eggs.

  • 15 HoneyBNo Gravatar // Oct 19, 2009 at 8:45 am

    I love hearing these types of stories…they really do mean something!

  • 16 Ryan BoudreauxNo Gravatar // Oct 19, 2009 at 9:54 am

    The response to this story has been incredible. Thanks for all the wonderful comments and for visiting CCR.

  • 17 plumpdumplingNo Gravatar // Oct 19, 2009 at 10:42 am

    What a great post! I’ve never heard the bit about mixing eggs with water; I’ve always gone the milk route after also seeing my mom do it.

    I just can’t believe you were into foods like smoked oysters and wild mushrooms as a kid. I’m STILL not into them.

  • 18 HillaryNo Gravatar // Oct 19, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    Nice post! Julia Child has inspired so many people. Great looking omelet too 🙂