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For centuries, the omelet (or omelette, si vous êtes Français) has been a litmus test for culinary talent; many aspiring chefs have placed the fate of their careers on their ability to cook and perfectly roll up a couple of eggs.

When we make omelets, we care less about perfection, and more about customization. We want an evenly (but not overly) cooked bed of eggs filled with mix-ins: cheese, meat, vegetables, whatever. In that way, omelets and frittatas aren’t all that different, though the single-serving nature of an omelet lets you personalize it to your taste, like your favorite diner.

A well-seasoned cast iron skillet makes the task easy: cast iron’s optimal heat retention ensures even cooking and the naturally nonstick surface makes for easy flipping.

Field Notes

1.

To achieve evenly cooked eggs, make sure you preheat your skillet for a few minutes; this will allow the heat to distribute evenly across the cooking surface.

2.

You can add as many or few (or none at all!) mix-ins to your omelet, but make sure meats and vegetables are cooked to your liking before you add them; the warm eggs can’t do much more than gently melt some cheese.

3.

Don’t freak about the flip: We simply fold one half of the eggs over the other, then tip the half-moon onto a plate. But if you want to shoot for a double-folded omelet, line your toppings down the center, then fold either side of the eggy circle over the middle.

Recipe

Cast Iron Omelet

Yield: 1 serving
Photo: Lauren V. Allen

Ingredients

2 large eggs
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Optional mix-ins: Shredded cheese; cooked onions, mushrooms, or peppers; cubed ham, crisped bacon, etc.

Instructions

1.

Heat a No.8 (10 ¼”) cast iron skillet over medium heat for a few minutes. In a bowl, whisk the eggs with the salt until no traces of whites remain.

2.

Add the butter to the skillet. As it melts, swirl the pan to evenly distribute the butter.

3.

Add the eggs and stir quickly with a silicone spatula, gently shaking the pan as you go and breaking up any large curds that form; your goal is to create an even layer of eggs that will set at roughly the same time. Once you have a layer of soft-scrambled eggs—this should take a minute or so—use the spatula to push down any eggs that have climbed up the side of the skillet, to create a uniform disk of eggs on the surface of the pan. Add any toppings, if using, over one half of the eggs (always add cheese first, so it has time to melt).

4.

The omelet is ready to flip when the top is creamy, like very soft-scrambled eggs, but there’s no remaining liquid egg. (If you end up with a pool of eggs on top of the skillet, swirl the pan to spread it out.

5.

To flip, quickly slide your spatula around the perimeter of the omelet to loosen it, then slide it below one half of the circle and quickly flip it over the side with the toppings. Tip the skillet toward a serving plate, then use the spatula to flip it onto the plate.