Thursday, December 16, 2010

Your holiday wishes answered: How to create the most perfect, restaurant quality scrambled eggs and omelets!

It used to be at the top of my list: learn how to make the most perfect, restaurant quality scrambled eggs and omelets.  I was lucky enough to get the chance learn and then hone these skills during my time working Sunday brunch service.  Now I am passing these incredibly practical tips on to you without you having to ever step foot in a professional kitchen!   Not that most of you would mind doing that anyhow, I'm sure!

The process is the same to make the "egg base" for both the scrambled eggs and the omelets. The cooking procedure is the only difference.  I've modified the recipe from what we used in the restaurant to include seasonings that I use regularly at home.  The really GREAT thing about making this is that you can make your egg scramblers in advance, make a big batch, and you've got enough to be able to make yourself breakfast in about 5 mintues, from scratch for almost a week!

Here we go:
Multiply this batch x how many servings you are looking for.   The recipe is for 2 omelets or servings of scrambled eggs.   I typically make the egg base by the flat - 30 eggs, to last about 5-7 days, if that helps you for planning.  

18 pack of eggs
1/3 cup heavy cream, or milk (this makes your eggs richer)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
kosher salt
black pepper
Optional (1/2 tsp Penzey's Northwoods Seasoning)
A little bit of butter

Set a medium chinois, mesh strainer or very fine-holed colander over a large bowl.  Crack all egs into the strainer, then use a ladle to push it all through.  This breaks the egg sac, creating a beautiful texture to your eggs. No whisking necessary.  Also- the strainer catches your broken egg shells, so crack away!  Remove strainer.  Add cream, garlic, Northwoods Seasoning and season fairly heavily with salt and pepper.  Mix well.  Unless you are using it right away, pour this into a sealable container, mark the date on the container and refrigerate.   For 1 serving of eggs or 1 omelet, you want about 1 cup of the egg mixture.


Scrambled Eggs procedure:
You always want to use a Non-Stick pan for eggs.  Eggs should never have any brown on them. You will remove your eggs from the pan while they still are "wet" because they will continue cooking once removed.  No one likes overcooked scrambled eggs.  Scrambled eggs should cook in about 1 minute if you are using the propoer high heat. 

Heat your pan over Medium High heat.  High-High heat is not necessary and will be too hot to be able to move your eggs around wtihout browning almost instantly.   A pan that is too cool will take way too long to cook the eggs, thus, you probably are moving them around more, and result in a lower quality finished product.

When your pan is heated (about 1 minute to a minute and a half on the burner), drop a small pat of butter into the pan and turn the pan to melt it entirely and coat the pan.  If your butter browns, your pan is too hot.  Next, pour your measured eggs into the pan.  Use a heat resistant rubber spatula and use it to continuously scrape the bottom and sides of the pan. You want to break up the eggs as they cook, and you want them to cook evenly, so by scraping the most cooked part off the bottom and sides of the pan, this gently breaks the eggs and allows them to flip and cook evenly.  Continue this for a minute and a half or so, until the eggs hold their shape on their own, but still look wet.  Gently flip the eggs upside down so the wet side is down and remove pan from heat, but let the eggs rest in the pan for 15-20 more seconds to allow the bottom to cook a little bit more.  Pour the eggs onto your plate.  Voila!    Next time you want to make the eggs, just shake the sealed container with your extras to disperse the seasonings and you are ready to go again!


For Omelets:
Turn on your oven to 300 degrees, or your broiler on to Low.
You will need to use an omelet pan in order to get the proper size.  They are usually 7 or 8 inch, rounded bottom, non-stick pans.  The really interesting thing about omelets is that you can make your omelets ahead of time, rest them on a sheet pan covered in parchment, and then reheat them to order as you need them! Make an extra one in case you "break" the omelet getting it out of the pan though! 

For Omelets, you want to get your inside ingredients hot beforehand, or if you're crafty, while you are cooking your omelet.  It's totally acceptable to use whatever you might have on hand to fill your omelet!  I happened to have a quarter of a bar of cream cheese, a handful of baby bella mushrooms and a few sprigs of fresh thyme. 

I only wanted to dirty one pan, so I used the omelet pan to heat up my mushroom miture first.  I heated the pan to medium, threw in a small bit of butter, melted it, then added my thinly sliced mushrooms and sauteed them until they were cooked almost all of the way.  I grated a little bit of fresh nutmeg onto them as they cooked.  Nutmeg compliments mushrooms SO well!  I seasoned the mushrooms with kosher salt and pepper, and then when almost done, I removed the pan from heat, added the cream cheese and thyme (reserving a pinch for garnish) and just let it melt into the mushrooms, stirring it to help it melt a little bit.  It shouldn't be runny, just melted enough so it blends with the eggs well.  I removed this mixture from the pan and let it rest until the omelet was ready.

After wiping down the pan, I returned it to Medium-High heat, let it get nice and hot - and followed the same instructions as the scrambled eggs, with the exception that----   after about 30 seconds of scraping/folding the eggs from the bottom of the pan-I turned the heat down to Med- Low; and because I want to allow the eggs to set in a beautiful shape, I stop stirring the eggs.  At this point, simply pick up the pan and turn the pan to allow the top, runny part of the eggs to run towards the outside of the pan- and you want to be conscious of making the eggs form a perfect circle.   Once the bottom of the omelet seems pretty well set, but NOT browned whatsoever, I remove the eggs from the burner and throw it into the oven.

If you are using the broiler, you need to check on it every 30 seconds or so, and rotate the pan so it cooks evenly -without browning! If you are using the oven, check it every minute or so.  You don't want the omelet to "poof" a whole bunch, so pull them out at the very first sign of "poofing".   That means your eggs are over cooked and tough.  You just want the top of the omelet to be set when you put your finger on it. It should never be tough or firm.   When it is almost ready, very gently spread your mushroom-cream cheese filling or whatever filling you are using on HALF of the omelet. *NOTE* reserve some of the filling for garnish. You should only need a spoonful or so for the top.   The key is to try to put it on the "ugliest" side of the omelet, so when you flip it out, the pretty side comes out on top!  With the toppings on it, put it back in the broiler or oven for just a minute or so, so it re-warms the insides.  When it is ready, fold the omelet over onto itself IN the pan.   Very gently slide the folded omelet onto your plate.  Put the reserved mushroom mixture on top of the omelet as garnish, and sprinkle a few fresh thyme leaves on the mushrooms.  Your omelet will be picture-perfect and taste as delicious as it looks!



I know it seems lengthy to have an "essay" on making eggs, but you'll see when you eat it- it's well worth it! You'll be a hero at your house if you can master these skills!


Merry Christmas, everyone!   Good Luck with your Holiday Baking!!

Today's blog is dedicated to my brother Sean. 
Sean is a bachelor who doesn't cook.  That is, until I taught him how to make eggs. 
Here's hoping I've inspired you to continue trying new things!

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