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Break an Egg

October 13, 1994|JOAN DRAKE

The nice thing about learning to make an omelet is that even if at first you don't succeed, all isn't lost. The results may not be omelets, but they will be very acceptable scrambled eggs.

It used to be that making omelets required a special pan used only for that purpose. Those traditional French-style omlet pans, made of spun steel, are still around, but you can also use any of the small (6-, 7- or 8-inch diameter), heavy-gauge nonstick skillets with sloping sides. Most of these pans have long handles, which makes the process easier.

Begin by breaking three eggs into a small bowl. Blend the whites and yolks well with a fork (Step 1), but the mixture should not be foamy. Some recipes call for a tablespoon of milk per egg or a little water, and most people add a little salt and pepper for flavor. Others claim the seasoning should be added after cooking, that salt toughens the eggs.

Heat about one tablespoon of butter in the skillet over medium-high heat. As it begins to melt, tilt the pan to thoroughly coat the bottom and sides (Step 2). Then, just as the butter begins to sizzle and turns brown, add the beaten eggs.

In the classic method, one hand rapidly slides the skillet back and forth over the heat source while the other hand stirs the eggs over the bottom of the skillet with a fork as they thicken. What's important is that the cooked egg gets moved gently aside to allow the uncooked egg to run into the bottom of the pan. What's easiest for most people is to lift the edge of the cooked eggs with a narrow spatula and tip the pan to allow the uncooked portion of the eggs to flow underneath (Step 3).

When the bottom of the omelet has set but the top is still moist and creamy, add the desired filling down the center (Step 4). Lift the edge and check that the bottom of the omelet is golden brown, then use a spatula to fold the omelet in half or thirds (Step 5) and slide out of the pan onto a serving plate (Step 6).

FILLING SUGGESTIONS:

* Cheese--Shred 1/2 cup Cheddar, Jack, Swiss or a combination.

* Mushroom--Saute 3 to 4 sliced mushrooms in small amount of butter. Season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice.

* Western--Saute 1/4 cup chopped ham, 1 tablespoon chopped onion, 1 tablespoon chopped green pepper and 1 tablespoon sliced celery in small amount of butter or margarine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

* Strawberries and Sour Cream--Slice strawberries equal to 1/2 cup. Sweeten lightly with sugar. Use half as filling, then garnish omelet with remaining strawberries and dollop of sour cream.

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