How to make an Omelette including recipes for folded and flat omelettes.

If you want to prepare an omelette at home, first of all you will need to decide on which type of omelette. There are two main types of omelette; the simple rolled or folded omelette or the thicker flat omelette, also known as "frittata" or "tortilla".

In this guide we show you how to make both types of omelette along with recipes for each.

The folded omelette

Starting with the rolled or folded omelette, this version of the omelette is so easy to make and can be prepared in a matter of minutes - very handy if you are in a rush.

They can be made plain, with just eggs or with a filling of your choice and can be served for breakfast or accompanied by a side salad or chips or jacket potato, for a substantial lunch or a light evening meal.

If you are making omelettes for several people, you should always make one omelette per person, as it is easier and quicker to prepare two small omelettes rather than one larger one in a bigger pan.

Aim to use a pan that is 6 inches in diameter to cook the omelette in. A larger pan will make the omelette spread out too much, stick to the pan and become thin and dry, whereas a pan that is too small will cause the omelette to become too thick, making it difficult to fold.

Some people like to cook their omelette in a little melted butter, however, for others, this may make the omelette too rich in taste, in which case the butter can be substituted for vegetable oil.

It is vital to use a non-stick pan, so that the omelette does not stick to the bottom or the sides. The pan should be really clean, as this could also make the egg stick.

When you melt the fat in the pan, make sure that you tilt the pan as the butter is melting or the oil is heating up, so that the fat greases the sides as well.

A clever trick to make sure that the eggs do not stick is to put a layer of salt in the bottom of the frying pan and turn the heat up high. Cook the salt, whilst shaking it around the pan, until the salt turns brown in colour. Remove the salt from the pan by wiping the bottom and sides with kitchen paper. The pan is now ready to use and you should be able to cook your omelette without it sticking to the pan.

Below is a recipe for a plain omelette, followed by a few ideas for some fillings.

Recipe for a plain folded omelette

  • 2 -3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp of milk
  • salt and pepper
  • knob of butter for frying
  1. Break the eggs into a bowl, and add the milk, salt and pepper.
  2. Beat the eggs gently with a fork, just until they combine together. Do not over beat them or whisk them to a froth.
  3. Place the frying pan on the stove and warm the pan over a moderate heat before adding the butter.
  4. Add the butter and turn the heat up a fraction. As the butter is melting, tilt the pan so that the bottom and sides are both coated.
  5. Once the butter begins to foam, carefully add the eggs to the centre of the pan, tilting the pan so that the eggs spread out evenly over the bottom.
  6. Cook over a moderate heat. As the eggs begin to set, very carefully lift the edges of the omelette upwards with a spatula, ensuring that the omelette does not stick and also allowing the uncooked eggs to run underneath. Rotate the pan as you do so, making sure that all sides have been moved.
  7. Cook until the eggs have set on the bottom but the top is still a little moist. The underside should be a golden brown in colour. At this stage, lift up the edge of one side of the omelette and fold this half so that is covers the other half and sits neatly on top. Do not break the omelette in half.
  8. Loosen the omelette away from the pan and tip out onto a warmed plate. Serve immediately.

Folded Omelette Fillings

  • Ham - add a handful of finely chopped ham just before folding the omelette in half.
  • Cheese - grate 1 oz (30 g) of Cheddar or Gruyere and add to the eggs in the bowl before cooking.
  • Fine herbs - chop up some fresh parsley, tarragon and chives and add to the eggs before beating with a fork.
  • Mushrooms - slice mushrooms and sauté in a little butter. Add just before folding.
  • Tomatoes - add some cooked chopped tomatoes before folding.
  • Prawns - add a handful of cooked peeled prawns a minute or two before folding the omelette.

Flat omelette

The flat omelette, otherwise known as a "frittata" in Italy or a "tortilla" in Spain is basically cooked the same way as a folded omelette, however, the flat omelette contains a larger number of eggs, is thicker, will more than likely contain a number of other ingredients for the filling and is cut into wedges rather than folded and may be served hot or cold.

The ingredients used to fill the flat omelette are usually placed in the bottom of the pan and the eggs are then poured over the top. The flat omelette is cooked over a low heat for a longer period of time and finished off with a few minutes of cooking time under the grill.

Below is a recipe for a flat omelette with ideas for fillings underneath.

Recipe for a flat omelette

  • 8 eggs
  • salt and pepper
  • ½ oz (15 g) of butter and 1 tbsp of oil for frying
  1. Break all of the eggs into a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a large frying pan (10 inches in diameter) and melt the butter and oil over a moderate heat.
  3. In the meantime lightly beat the eggs with a fork.
  4. As soon as the fat begins to sizzle carefully pour the eggs into the pan, tilting the pan so that the eggs cover the base evenly.
  5. Turn the heat to low. Add any other ingredients at this point unless they are to be added before the eggs.
  6. Cook the eggs until they begin to set and then with a spatula gently lift the edges of the omelette upwards on each side, tilting the pan and allowing the uncooked eggs to run through to the bottom of the pan.
  7. Preheat the grill.
  8. Once the omelette has set on the underside and is a golden brown in colour but the top is still wet, remove the pan from the stove and transfer it to the grill. Cook for a further 4 - 5 minutes until the top has set and is also brown in colour.
  9. Remove from the grill and cut into wedges. Serve hot or allow to cool and serve cold.

Flat Omelette Fillings

  • Spanish omelette - fry 1 small chopped onion together with a handful of chopped red and green pepper until soft. Add slices of cooked boiled potato and then pour the eggs over the top.
  • Roasted vegetables - roast a selection of chopped vegetables such as courgettes, peppers and aubergines drizzled in olive oil for 30 minutes. Spread in the bottom of the frying pan and then pour the eggs over them.
  • Ham, cheese and onion - pour the eggs into the pan and then add 4 oz (115 g) of sliced cooked ham, half a chopped onion and 2 oz (55 g) of grated Cheddar cheese.

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