By George J. Tanber
Ah, the omelet. A favorite breakfast dish often poorly constructed. And, when dining out, it’s often worse.
We’ve all ordered the Greek, the all meat, the veggie, the three cheeses, and the Mexican at a local breakfast/lunch joint hoping for the best because they sound so good. What usually arrives is an over-cooked, dry sandwich of sorts with too much egg—usually three—and not enough of the good stuff inside.
I don’t know the workings of a commercial breakfast kitchen and maybe it’s hard to make the perfect omelet in that environment. But it shouldn’t be.
No excuses when you’re on your home turf.
Speaking of which, what if you’re making an omelet for two but you have different tastes? One of you hates mushrooms, the other has a disdain for spinach. Or, it’s just you and you want to eat light.
What to do? How about the one-egg omelet? “Impossible!” you say. Not so.
You see, even a thin layer of egg cooked properly can hold all the ingredients you’d want. And, as a result, the goodies are front and center, as they should be, while the egg serves as a nice but not overpowering complement.
You can add any of your favorite ingredients. My top three are the Italian, the Mexican and the Greek, which is detailed here:
What’s needed: All that’s required is an 8-inch non-stick pan, a good paring knife and a small, non-metal spatula.
2 cups of washed fresh spinach
1 small vine-ripe tomato, diced
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 ½ tbsps extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salted butter [optional]
Splash of water
Splash of half and half or whole milk
Pinch of garlic powder [optional]
Salt and pepper to taste
Let’s get started:
Start by prepping the—for lack of a better word—stuffing. Sauté the spinach on medium low heat in a tablespoon of olive oil in the non-stick pan. Set aside when done. While the spinach is sautéing, dice the tomato, adding a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. (You can also sprinkle in a dash of garlic powder, if you want.) Mix the tomatoes to blend the spices. If you have crumbled feta on hand, that’s good. Otherwise, break off some pieces from a chunk. (I prefer Bulgarian, which is creamier.)
Next, crack your egg into a small bowl and—this is crucial—add a splash of water and an equal splash of either half and half or whole milk. (Not too much or your omelet will be runny.) Salt and pepper to taste. Stir well.
Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the same pan (along with the butter, if desired). Make sure the bottom of the pan is covered with the oil (and butter). In goes your egg. On goes a lid. This helps cook your egg evenly, especially the top. Keep the heat fairly low. This keeps you from over-cooking the bottom.
Once all the runny egg on top has solidified, move the pan off the heat. (If you’re in a hurry you can speed up the process by using your spatula to gently skim the uncooked egg to one end of the pan, pushing the cooked part forward. The olive oil—and butter—should make it easy to move your omelet and keep it intact.)
Add your ingredients on one side of the omelet. I usually add spinach first, then tomatoes, and finally the feta. Carefully, using your spatula, lift the barren side over the other side. If done right, it should be a perfect fit—a yellow half moon. Now, so it doesn’t fall apart, tilt the pan over your dish and, using the spatula, gently nudge the omelet onto the dish. It should slide easily, courtesy of the olive oil.
Voila! The perfect omelet using a single egg has been achieved. If you’re watching your waist size, this is plenty. (It’s also a winner for low carb fans.) If not, add a side of toast, potatoes, bacon—whatever. But, rest assured, the omelet will be the star of this meal.
George J. Tanber is a video producer and content writer living in Ohio with family ties to Chicago, which he frequently visits.