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Aug 1, 2011 04:18 PM

Have eggs, good tomato, good cheese, arugula, little skill...

I once read an amazing & completely obsessive article about making French omelets, and while I loved the article, it made me think I should back away from omelets as fast as possible. I don't make a really good frittata-type thing either. I have a small cast iron skillet, but no omelet pan easily available. Anyone out there who could talk me through a graceful egg thing? Either omelet or open face?

I'm assuming I start with some eggs & a little cream & a little water & some salt & pepper. I put some butter in the pan... I have my James Beard cookbook out, but if anyone has any pointers, I'd be grateful. Thanks in advance.

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  1. Here's what I'd do. Preheat the brolier. Wash that arugula. Slice that tomato. Grate some of that cheese. Beat those eggs. Now, put that skillet on hot stove and let it heat up a bit. Add some oil or butter, then wilt the washed arugula until it gives up most of its moisture. Pour in the eggs and let them cook until the bottom is set. Spread the sliced tomatoes over the top, sprinkle on some salt and pepper (lots), then some shredded cheese and broil just until the cheese melts. Pour your wine and serve.

    I have no idea if this was graceful, but it's usually good.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Isolda

      Thanks Isolda! Posting gave me a little courage, and I just made James Beard's basic omelet, which was fine. Good, even. Cooking it in two tablespoons of butter was an improvement over the lesser amount I would have used... I put a little goat cheese & a little arugula in it, and served the tomatoes on the side. But now I have a bug in my bonnet about it - I'd like some confidence in my ability to make some basic egg dishes. So broiler tomorrow. :-) I'll have another tomato by then. :-)

      1. re: Isolda

        OK Isolda, # of eggs for a 9" skillet? That's my smallest. I just made something very, very flat...

        1. re: THewat

          This is totally unchowish and incorrect by omelet standards, but I like my eggs very cooked. So I'd do 4 in there and it would be flat, but fine. However, if you want it taller, you can do 6 or better yet, you can beat some of the whites separately, then fold them back in to the yolks just before cooking. That would give it a souffle-like fluffiness.

      2. Awhile back, on America's Test Kitchen, their dish for the day was the perfect omelette. Other than using very low heat, the best hint I took from it was to beat the eggs 70 strokes. Not 60, not 80. Apparently 70 gets the texture just right.
        So I've been beating my scrambled eggs and omelettes for 70 strokes ever since. As close as I can get, anyway, without obsessing. And I love them.

        5 Replies
        1. re: jmcarthur8

          I love it. I'm assuming with a fork, rather than a whisk. Tell me about the low heat...

          1. re: THewat

            She heated the skillet on low for 10 minutes, then kept taking the pan on and off the burner while cooking the eggs to keep the temp super low.
            Yes, it was with a fork - not to whip the eggs, but to blend them really well.

            1. re: magiesmom

              yes! ;-)
              She really did explain why 60 was too little and 80 was too much, but I forget what the reasons were. You know how ATK is about details.
              All I know is that there aren't any little clumps of white in my eggs when I beat them 70, and that's the way I like an omelette.

            2. mmm. what you ended up with looks delicious. Is that a Black Krim? I just enjoyed the first one from my garden in a big drippy sandwich last night. Bliss.

              I love how you use the word "graceful" to describe a French omelet. So true.

              The biggest difference that comes to mind for me is that there is no browning at all, and that the egg layer is fluffy and tender and not too thick. Try using less egg than you might normally. It seems like my technique is always impeded by too much egg/ingredient in the pan. That and the bit about gently rolling up the thing by shimmying the pan just so. (I think this would be hard in cast iron due to weight). A perfectly gentle, low but not too low heat is the biggest thing.

              With those ingredients it's really hard to go wrong in my book. Frittata is as simple as it gets--fat into an already hot pan, eggs and fillings in, turn heat way down and nudge around until about 2/3 set, then finish in a fairly hot oven till fully set. I think technically frittata is supposed to have some browning on the bottom. Or at least it technically does when it comes out of my kitchen :)

              2 Replies
                1. re: splatgirl

                  Splatgirl - how thick do you make your Frittatas, and what is your # of eggs to pan size? Do you put milk or water in your eggs when you mix them? I don't know the name of the kind of tomato, but it was tasty.

                2. I once saw an episode of Molto Mario during which he prepared 'Uova in brodetto', and I made it a day or so later. I'm sure the addition of arugula will not hurt.


                  I frequently make frittate (plural) in one of my 10.5" cast iron skillets. After the scrambled eggs have been incorporated, the cooking starts on the cooktop until the bottom is set, and then moved to oven under the broiler to be finished. Cheese is melted on top after a frittata comes from under the broiler, otherwise it burns. I know that from a bad experience.