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"Good Eats" Omelet Question?

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Today, I was watchin the Food Network's Alton Brown's "Good Eats". It was the episode on omelets. Alton said you should warm the eggs in warm water for five minutes before cracking them open and cooking them up. Why is that? What are the benefits of warming the eggs before you cook your omelet? How do *you* make an omelet? Any other tips?

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  1. Not sure but I know that room temperature whites give more volume so it may be the same idea. Your omelet will have better volume at room temp. I also like to cook at a low temperature. I find the eggs are more tender and the appearance is better.

    1. hmm, the warmer the eggs, the less time they take to cook, which means more even doneness (eg cooking a frozen steak will result in burnt edges, frozen center)...

      2 Replies
      1. re: xanadude

        You’re right, but if you get a steak that is cut too thin (less than 1in.) you can get a charred surface and keep the middle rare by cooking it partially frozen. I do this all the time with supermarket steaks on a gas grill and they come out better than if started at room temperature.

        1. re: xanadude

          I'm almost positive this is the reason, in fact I think he even says this. Even cooking is important in eggs because they longer they cook (not just the hotter), the tougher they get.

          I do this for most all my egg preparations if i have the time. If you have an established omelet technique, then don't mess with it, but if you're learning I think this is a great thing to do.

        2. Warming in water helps release the whites from the shell, for starters. The rest is just volume: when whites are at room temp, you get better volume (through a little "advance" on denaturing the proteins contained in the egg whites). Meat left out for an hour or so before grilling cooks faster and more even also.

          1. Warming eggs in water brings the yolks back to center and makes the eggs appear and behave more like fresh. But... Hey, you're going to beat them for an omlette! I suspect it's Alton Brown being just a tad over the top.

            How do I make omlettes? Here's a cheese omlette:

            Slice or grate cheese. Set aside.

            Break three eggs into a small mixing bowl. Beat with a fork to blend well, THEN add half an egg shell of cold water and beat again. If you add the water without beating the eggs first, you'll have a very devil of a time trying to incorporate those blobs of really thick egg white. Add a pinch of salt, and instead of pepper, I use about a half teaspoon of Tobasco sauce, or to taste. Again, beat the eggs with the fork.

            Put omlette pan on fire. (I kill anyone who puts water in my omlette pan or uses it for anything else.) When the pan feels hot when you hold your hand just above it, drop in a tablespoon and a half of salt free butter OR drawn butter. When butter has finished bubbling (it's okay if it browns a bit, but don't let it burn!), pour in eggs all at one time. Watch the edges of the pan, and when the egg mixture sets up a bit, move the cooked film to the center of the pan allowing uncooked egg to fill the void. Repeat until there is only a small amount of uncooked egg left. Reduce flame to medium, sprinkle grated cheese over half of pan away from the handle or lay sliced cheese in this area. Allow omlette to cook until egg is almost completely set. Make sure omlette is free of pan by holding the pan by the handle and banging your hand with a fist. You should be able to see it slide just a bit. Or you can use a rubber spaturla to just ease it gently aroung the edges to make sure it's free. Slide omlette onto plate and use the pan to fold the last half over the first. The omlette should be browned and glistening. If needed, add more shine by sliding a small pat of butter over the surface.

            You can use ANYTHING for filling an omlette. Strawberry preserves inside with a sprinkling of powdered sugar over the top makes a nice brunch dish or even a dessert. A thinned ratatouille or any Italian sauce used on pasta makes a good filling with a bit on top as garnish.

            There is also a souffle omletter, but I don't make those any more. They're too hard to fold, and I would rather have a souffle OR an omlette. But some people adore them. Usually not the same people who cook them though...

            Oh... for the record, I clean my omlette pan with table salt and a paper towel.

            So, did Alton Brown make his omlette right? '-) I didn't see that show.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Caroline1

              what is your pan made of?

              1. re: kindofabigdeal

                Aluminum. VERY VERY thick Copco mirror finished aluminum designed by Michael Lax in the 60's. They have hand rubbed teak handles, not that that makes them cook any better, but they are gorgeous. Yes, I have two. Hey, I survived that sixties (or was it seventies?) insanity of making fresh omlettes for your cocktail party guests on demand... Yes. Insanity! Isn't it strange the hoops we jump through in the name of that great god, "Fad?" Ah, the eggs I have cracked...

                1. re: kindofabigdeal

                  Who knew? I found a picture of my Copco frying pans on the web!
                  http://tinyurl.com/2sqejm
                  If anyone wants a really great omlette pan, I highly recommend this one. And at today's prices for other pans not nearly as well made, it's a steal at $50.00!

              2. From Chef Story

                ANDRÉ SOLTNER

                Making an omelet was and sometimes is still part of an interview for young cooks in a professional kitchen. It shows technique, skill and work habits.

                This is the basic method for making rolled omelets. Once you have perfected them, they can be filled and rolled with a variety of ingredients.

                It is important to whisk just the right amount of air into the eggs for them to be characteristically fluffy. The perfect finished omelet should look like a fat cigar, the interior soft, moist, a little wet, but not runny. Generally, an omelet should not be browned, but that is a matter of personal taste.

                The Basic Omelet
                Makes 1 serving

                3 large eggs, room temperature
                Kosher salt
                Freshly ground black pepper
                1 teaspoon unsalted butter

                Crack the eggs into a bowl and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk the eggs with a fork to combine the yolk with the white and incorporate air into the eggs. Do not over beat.

                Heat a 10-inch non-stick skillet over medium low heat. Add the butter to the pan and swirl, tilting the pan, and coating the entire bottom surface. The pan is hot enough when the butter sizzles but has not browned.

                Pour the eggs into the pan. As they cook, stir the eggs with the back-side of a fork, at the same time, shake the pan over the heat, to cook them evenly over the entire surface of the pan. As you work, gently pull the cooked eggs from the sides of the pan and blend with the rest. The finished consistency should be like a thick puree. When most of the eggs are set but still slightly liquid inside, they are ready. This will take about 30 seconds.

                With the fork, pat the eggs in an even layer to cover the bottom surface of the pan and heat over the burner for a few seconds without disturbing them. Remove the pan from the heat. Tilt the pan on a work surface and carefully fold the eggs over themselves from the handle about ¾ of the way to the opposite edge. Gently press the folded side with the back of the fork.

                Loosen the eggs from the side of the pan with the tines of the fork. Tap the edge of the pan on the work surface a few times to loosen the eggs. As it moves in the pan, the far side should curl toward the center, and create an oval shape. If it doesn’t, carefully fold the second side with the fork.

                Return the pan to the heat for a few seconds. Place a serving dish next to the pan, tap the pan one more time against the work surface to loosen the omelet, and in one motion, turn the omelet onto the plate making sure the folded edges are at the bottom. Serve immediately.

                1. Re: warming the eggs in warm water.

                  I believe this is to "temper" the eggs. When eggs are added to a hot mixture all at once, they may begin to coagulate too rapidly and form lumps. So, when eggs are allowed to "warm" to room temp before being added to the hot mixture (e.g. oil/butter) it prevents this lumping.