Like many Italian recipes, the genius of this dish lies in its simplicity – only four or five ingredients brought together with basic techniques. When cooking eggs timing is everything, as you can go from fluffy to rubbery in a matter of seconds. Much of the success of this omelet comes from a careful modulation of the heat. You want to heat the pan on high and then reduce to very low to finish the omelet. This helps make for a highly flavorful, beautifully textured breakfast dish.
If you wish, toss a teaspoon of minced parsley or chives into the eggs before beating them. You may want to omit the salt, as the parmesan might be salty enough for your palate.
Two large eggs, preferably free-range veggie-fed
2 tablespoons of grated “excellent-quality” parmesan cheese
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon European style butter, salted or unsalted as you prefer
|Beat those eggs!!
Crack eggs into a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of parmesan and a pinch of salt. Beat eggs with a fork vigorously, up and down and around and around until the mixture appears uniform. You want to try to beat some air into the eggs.
|Dontcha love spatulas?
I use a well-seasoned skillet for this dish, but an eight-inch non-stick pan is even easier. pan over high heat for about three minutes. Reduce heat to low, add olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Add butter and swirl again.
Add eggs and immediately tilt pan in all directions to cover the bottom. Using a flexible silicon spatula gently push eggs inward to center of pan in a couple of places. Tilt pan again to move wet eggs to uncovered areas of the pan’s surface. When eggs have mostly set, sprinkle remaining parmesan over eggs.
Using your spatula gently fold eggs over from the edge of the pan toward the center, forming eggs into a rough log shape. Turn heat off in pan and allow omelet to sit, heat off, for a minute or so.
Place omelet on a plate. Serve with hot crusty bread.
Omelet-making is hardly a pursuit distinctive to Italy, obviously, and this recipe is not exactly earth-shattering. But I’d like to give special thanks to Alessio, the fine cook who demonstrated this omelet to me. The care, the concentration he bestowed on the lowly egg was deeply soulful.