10 March 2009

The Art of Cooking Omelettes


It is said that the greatest test of a chef is to make an omelette. There are numerous stories of young chefs coming into a restaurant kitchen for a job and being asked by the chef to prepare an omelette as an audition.
If you are thinking of auditioning, pick up a copy of The Art of Cooking Omelettes by Madame Romaine de Lyon.

Madame Romaine de Lyon prepared tons of omelettes at her tiny salon de thé in New York City. After serving tea and pastries and some soup and bread, Madame de Lyon made and omelette as a request, soon everyone was raving. Noted cookbook writer, Clementine Paddleford made a visit, and raved.


As supplies grew scarce during World War II, Madame de Lyon concentrated on making omelettes. At one point, she had nearly 500 omelettes on her menu, and in 1963, she published her cookbook with all of them included. The book features the basics of omelette cooking and long chapters of fillings to add to them including a chapter on cheese, tomatoes, vegetables, calf’s brains, calf’s-liver, sweetbreads and sweets!


Here are some of her pointers:

Whenever an omelette is cooked, in France or America or elsewhere, there is no more important than the pan in which it is cooked. I must tell you positively that the wrong pan can ruin the omelette. It should be of medium weight, first of all. Never use a thick iron skillet because it will be too heavy to handle and will not work properly. It should also be small, no more than six or eight inches t at the top, with side slanting out, not in, so that the omelet, when it is finished, will slide out more easily.


There is one important rule; never, never wash your omelette pan. After it has been uses, wipe lightly.

If you take care of your omelette pan, it will improve with age. It begins to look pretty black, but it will be an honorable black. In France, when such a pan has been in long use, we call it cullotte, meaning that it has become colored by serving us well

In France we believe it is necessary that the omelette should be baveuse- that is, creamy in the center.

Another form of criminality is to use a mechanical beater to make an omelette. A fork is the thing.

It does not take more than a minute to make an individual plain omelette, and no more than two or three minutes if ingredients to make the filling are added.

Check out the calf's -brains omelettes. Who knew there was so much one could do with a cafl brain and a dozen eggs!



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