Today, an omelet in France is more than likely to be a simple one served plain or filled with ham, cheese, or mushrooms. The omelet will be served with fried potatoes or a green salad or both. These omelets, as described above, will be present on most of the brasserie menus in France. They are very common. Occasionally, a fine restaurant will serve an omelet in one form or another, either savory or sweet, but this omelet will definitely be a step up from those served in brasseries. Along with a few omelets prepared in homes, this is the extent of omelets appearing on the French table.

As I’ve perused French cookery books over the last few years, I’ve become aware of a disconnect between the frequency and variety of omelets today compared to how often they appear in old books. I can barely pick up a general-interest French cookbook and not find a plethora of omelet recipes, although recently published books present significantly less omelet recipes than those from fifty or more years ago.

Omelets have been a part of French cuisine for hundreds of years. One of the earliest texts about French cooking is a single large chapter in the manuscript called Le Ménagier de Paris. Written around 1393, Le Ménagier has two recipes for alumelles, thought to be an early reference to flat omelets. In 1653, François Pierre de la Varenne published his Le Patissier François with 22 recipes for sweet and savory aumelettes, many of which are almost identical to recipes published three centuries later.

The place of the omelet today in a French meal is not as a breakfast dish, but as an entrée (a first course) or a dessert. Add a little extra milk and sugar to a basic omelet preparation and you have a custard. Add a little flour and the omelet becomes a crepe batter. (The omelets we are concerned with in this article are those made primarily with eggs.)

Early omelets were served flat or rolled. Nowadays, they can be flat, rolled, folded, stacked, or souffléed. They can be savory or sweet. The filling can be mixed with the eggs or rolled inside the cooked eggs or spread across the top of the finished dish.

In former times, it was recommended that the frying pan used for omelets be only used for that purpose. Today, with the availability of nonstick surfaces, this is less important. More important is that the shape of the pan allows for easy removal of the finished omelet, usually by sliding it out of the pan.

There is a general consensus today that the eggs should only be beaten at the last minute and then only just enough to blend them. The beating should be done with a fork, not a whisk; although if you have to beat more than a half a dozen eggs at a time, the whisk is a lot easier and faster. I’ve seen cooks in French kitchens strain the eggs before cooking them, but the only cookbook I’ve seen straining suggested in was written in the first half of the nineteenth century.

Some books call for lifting the edges of the eggs as they cook to allow uncooked egg to flow underneath the cooked eggs. When the eggs are about two-thirds set, the whole mass is flipped so the cooked side is up. This produces a generally drier omelet than the other common method where the eggs are stirred with the flat side of the fork until they are mostly set. I like this latter method better because the eggs don’t have to be flipped and the result is soft and moist. If any holes develop in the omelet while it is cooking, some of the uncooked egg can be moved with the back of the fork to patch the hole. If I am making the omelet for someone who wants a drier omelet, I place the finished omelet in a warm oven for a few minutes to allow it cook a little further. The omelet should always be served on a warm plate.

Since I knew from the start that I would have a lot of omelet recipes to choose from for this article, I decided to limit the sources to older ones. They range from the earliest recipe I found that was called an “omelette,” first published in 1656, to some relatively modern recipes from 1938. The list is not exhaustive, but it does represent many of the major cookbooks written during that period. The recipes in the article are chronologically presented, rather than being listed by whether they are savory or sweet. Most of the recipes are common. For example, I could have chosen a recipe for omelette de champignon, mushroom omelet, from almost any of the books, not just one or two.

Pierre de Lune. Le Cuisinier, 1656. Reprinted in L’art de la cuisine française au xviie siècle, Paris: Éditions Payot & Rivages, 1995. In French.

De Lune presents 22 omelet recipes, both savory and sweet. They are mostly in a section of his book entitled “Egg dishes for entrées and entremets appropriate for Lenten days.” Most of the recipes call for 12 to 24 eggs, but six of the recipes call for no eggs and appear to be more like a flat bread made from a batter of flour, wine, milk, salt, and butter. Because of the large number of eggs required for each recipe, it probably can be assumed that de Lune was preparing omelets for large groups of diners and that the eggs used in those days were much smaller than today. He provides very little information as to what the final omelet should look like, but most of his omelets apparently were flat presentations.

 omelette de champignons – mushroom omelet 

 omelette aux pistaches – pistachio omelet 

François Massialot. Le Nouveau cuisinier royal et bourgeois ou cuisine moderne. 4th ed. 3 vols. Paris: Joseph Saugrain, 1748 (vol. I & II) 1750 (vol. III). Originally published as Le Cuisiner roïal et bourgeois (Paris: Charles de Sercy) in 1691. In French. Reprint, 2003 by Elibron Classics, divided into 5 volumes.

Masssialot includes thirteen omelet recipes, both savory and sweet. Many of the recipes include a half dozen or so variations. Massialot provides more detailed explanations than de Lune. Most of his omelets are cooked on top of the stove and served flat, but one is rolled and two are baked in the oven. In most of the recipes he states that the omelet should be served as an entremet. Massialot sometimes combines sweet ingredients with savory ones such as in his omelette à la moëlle which includes beef marrow and dried fruits.

 omelette de jambon – ham omelet 

 omelette à la Noaille – citrus omelet 

Marie Antonin Carême. L’Art de la cuisine française au dix-neuvième siècle. Original edition published between 1833 and 1844. 3 vols. Paris: Au Dépot de Librairie, 1854. In French. Reprint, 2003 by Elibron Classics, divided into 4 volumes.

It’s not until the last chapter of this massive work, completed by Armand Plumery after Carême’s death, that eggs become the subject. In that chapter there are 29 recipes for both savory and sweet omelets. The savory omelets are cooked either on top of the stove and flipped in order to brown both sides or baked in an oven. In either case, the omelets are served flat except in the case of the truffle omelet, which is rolled. Some of the sweet omelets are omelette soufflées, which the author says have been replaced in many restaurants by soufflés. Both are baked, but the omelette soufflée is baked in a frying pan instead of a soufflé dish and the omelet doesn’t rise as high. The other sweet omelets tend to be rolled. Many are simple ones filled or coated with jams or sugar.

 omelette au lard – bacon omelet 

 omelette soufflée à l’orange – orange-flavored omelet soufflé 

Antoine Gogué. Les Secrets de la cuisine française. 1st ed. Paris: Librairie Hachette et Cie, 1856. In French. Reprint, 2003 by Elibron Classics.

Gogué presents a sparse collection of thirteen detailed, common sweet and savory omelet recipes. He points out that the secret of good omelets, as professed by Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826) was “omelette bien battue, assaisonnée de bon goût, cuite à point, coquettement roulée et dont la couleur et la fumée appellent l’appétit des convives,” or “beat well, season properly, cook just until done, roll attractively, and color nicely so the aroma calls to the guests.”

 omelette aux fines herbes – herb omelet 

 omelette aux confitures – jam omelet 

Urbain Dubois and Émile Bernard. La Cuisine classique: études pratiques, raisonnées et démonstratives de l’école française appliquée au service à la russe. 1st ed. Paris: Dubois & Bernard (self-published?), 1864. In French. Reprint, 2003 by Elibron Classics, divided into 2 volumes.

Considering there are nearly three thousand recipes in this book, it is surprising to note that there are only a few omelet recipes. There are just four savory and five sweet omelet recipes, and none are unique. In some cases, variations are suggested so the total number of recipes could be thought to be higher. Because the authors organized dishes in this book for service à la française (despite the title of the book), the omelets are presented in the entremets section of the book.

 omelette au fromage – cheese omelet 

 omelette à la Célestine – vanilla omelet 

Jules Gouffé. Le Livre de cuisine. 1st ed. Paris: L. Hachette et Cie, 1867. In French. Reprint, 2003 by Elibron Classics, divided into 2 volumes.

Gouffé divided his cookery book into two parts: the first designed for the “domestic cookery” and the second for “high-class cookery.” He includes omelet recipes in both parts. Gouffé presents three basic rules of omelet preparation: never use more than twelve eggs for an omelet; only use a proper omelet pan; and never over beat the eggs. He starts by generously coating the pan with butter over high heat. The eggs are then added. As they cook at the edges they are moved to the center with a fork. When half cooked, the omelet is flipped and the other side cooked. One third of the omelet is folded from the edge to the center from opposite sides and then the finished omelet is flipped onto the serving plate. The fillings are either placed in the center of the omelet before it is folded or mixed in with the eggs when they are first put in the pan.

 omelette aux crevettes – shrimp omelet 

 omelette au rhum – rum omelet 

Auguste Escoffier. The Complete Guide to the Art of Modern Cookery. Translated by H. L. Cracknell and R. J. Kaufmann. New York: Mayflower Books, Inc., 1982. Translation of 4th edition of Le Guide culinaire (1921).

Escoffier presents a large list of omelets, both savory and sweet. Most of the 58 savory omelets are comprised of three eggs, salt, and pepper, plus whatever filling makes the omelet unique. The omelets are rolled. Since Escoffier was preparing these omelets as part of a meal served by service à la russe, it may be assumed that each is intended as an individual portion. He divides his fourteen sweet omelets into four categories: omelets made with liquor; jam omelets; souffléed omelets; and surprise omelets. The surprise omelets are cake and ice cream combinations coated with meringue and baked just before serving.

 omelette lyonnaise – onion omelet 

 omelette Grandval – tomato omelet 

 omelette aux rognons – kidney omelet 

Ali-Bab. Gastronomie pratique: études culinaires. 5th ed. Paris: Flammarion, 1928. In French. Reprint, 1993.

Henri Babinski, writing under the pen name of Ali-Bab, starts his section on omelets by writing, “Il peut paraître banal de donner une recette d’omelette, car tout le monde croit savoir la faire. Cependant, en réalité, il ne manque pas de gens qui n’ont jamais mangé une omelette vraiment bonne.” Or “It may seem banal to give a recipe for an omelet, because everyone thinks they know how to make one. Actually, there is no lack of people who have never eaten a really good omelet.”

Possibly falling back on his background as an engineer, Babinski provides very detailed information about making a generic omelet for two people. Use a frying pan that’s 15 to 18 centimeters in diameter. Use four eggs that weigh about 70 grams each. Place the eggs in a bowl, add 30 grams of milk, 4 to 5 grams of salt, and one-half gram of ground pepper. Beat the eggs for about a minute. Melt 50 grams of butter in the frying pan over high heat until the butter browns slightly and develops a nut-like aroma. Pour the eggs into the pan and wait about half a minute for the eggs to start to set. Then, using a fork, rapidly lift the edges all around and tilt the pan so the uncooked eggs runs underneath the cooked egg. Repeat this process a second time and then let the pan set until the eggs are cooked. The entire process should take about two minutes. The eggs are cooked when steam rises from the edges. The omelet is folded in half and slipped onto the serving plate in one, single motion. He then discusses the process of preparing an omelet filled with hot or cold ingredients. In the end, the only savory recipe he provides is for a plain omelet, although he lists a dozen or so possibilities.

In a similar vain, Babinski discusses sweet omelets and provides a dozen or so examples without providing specific recipes, except for omelette soufflées, which require a much different method of preparation. Babinski does recommend rolling sweet omelets instead of folding them as he did with the savory omelets.

 omelette au naturel – plain omelet 

E. Saint-Ange. La Bonne cuisine de Mme. E. Saint-Ange. 1st ed. Paris: Librairie Larousse, 1929. In French.

Mme. Saint-Ange is a little less specific in her general directions than Babinski. She does specify two eggs per person, although she doesn’t give a clue as to what size they should be. She cautions not to over beat the eggs and says to melt the butter without browning it. She uses a stirring motion to cook the eggs. To roll the omelet onto the serving plate, Saint-Ange recommends a method where the pan is tilted near the plate and the handle tapped sharply to cause the omelet to “roll” out of the frying pan. None of her fourteen recipes for savory omelets are unique, as is the case with most of the cookbooks from the 19th and the 20th centuries. She, like her predecessors, presents her versions of the time-tested, classic recipes. Saint-Ange provides only one sweet omelet recipe—a recipe for an apple omelet.

 omelette aux épinards – spinach omelet 

 omelette aux pommes – apple omelet 

Prosper Montagné. Larousse Gastronomique. Translated by Nina Froud, Patience Gray, Maud Murdoch and Barbara Macrae Taylor. Edited by Charlotte Turgeon and Nina Froud. New York: Crown Publishers, Inc., 1961. English translation of 1938 French edition published by Librairie Larousse, Paris.

With over one-hundred recipes for savory omelets and a dozen or so for sweet omelets, Montagné could be crowned the Omelet King! He discusses the basics of omelet making only briefly, but then provides a panoply of recipes, many with historical notes. Many of the preparations have more than one version presented.

 omelette Du Barry – cauliflower omelet 

 omelette à la jardinière – garden-vegetable omelet 

 omelette aux fraises – strawberry omelet 

Today, it’s easy to prepare a savory omelet from leftovers for a quick supper or a sweet omelet for an unusual dessert. The 21 recipes presented in this article should provide a basis for expanding your omelet repertoire. Experiment. Enjoy.

©2005, 2014 Peter Hertzmann. All rights reserved.
omelette à la Célestine
3 extra‑large
eggs
pinch
fine salt
soft unsalted butter
granulated sugar, for dusting
crème frangipane à la vanille:
1 extra‑large
egg yolk
40 g (3 T)
granulated sugar
30 g (313 T)
all‑purpose flour
1
vanilla bean
pinch
fine salt
125 ml (12 c)
whole milk
50 g (313 T)
soft unsalted butter
crème anglaise:
1
vanilla bean
100 ml (scant 12 c)
whole milk
1 extra‑large
egg yolk
12 g (1+ T)
sugar
1. 
For crème frangipane: Whisk the egg yolk, sugar, and flour together until smooth. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the mixture. Add a pinch of salt. Slowly whisk the milk into the mixture. Finally whisk 25 g (123 T) of butter into the mixture.
2. 
Place the mixture into a saucepan and set over high heat. Whisk continuously until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens. In the meantime, melt the remaining 25 g (123 T) of butter in a small frying pan until it starts to brown and take on a nut‑like smell. Whisk the melted butter into the mixture and set aside.
3. 
For crème anglaise: Split the vanilla bean in half and place it in a small saucepan along with the milk. Bring the milk to a boil, stirring frequently. When it boils, remove it from the heat and allow the vanilla to infuse into the milk for 5 minutes.
4. 
In the meantime, whisk the egg yolk and sugar together. When the milk is finished infusing, discard the vanilla bean. Slowly whisk the milk into the egg mixture. When smooth, transfer the mixture back into the saucepan. Place the saucepan over medium‑low heat and bring to a boil while whisking constantly. Set the saucepan in a hot‑water bath to keep it warm until needed.
5. 
Place the eggs in a bowl and whisk together very thoroughly with a pinch of salt.
6. 
Preheat the oven to 180°C (355°F).
7. 
Heat a couple of small frying pans over medium heat. When hot, brush each with soft butter. Using a 30‑ml (2‑T) ladle, place one ladle‑full of eggs in each frying pan. Rotate the pans to evenly coat the bottoms. When the each omelet is cooked through and starting to brown, flip it to the other side to brown a bit. Remove the omelets and set aside on a heated plate. Make a total of six small (15‑cm [6‑in]), flat, crepe‑like omelets.
8. 
Working with each omelet separately, spoon some of the crème frangipane down the center and roll the omelet into a tube. Place the omelet on a parchment‑paper cover baking sheet. Repeat the process for the remaining five omelets. When all six are done, loosely cover them with another piece of parchment paper and place the baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes.
9. 
Place three omelets on each individual, heated serving plate. Lightly sprinkle the omelets with sugar and spoon the crème anglaise over and around them. Serve immediately.
Yield: 2 servings.
Ref: Urbain Dubois & Émile Bernard, La Cuisine classique, 1864, page 348
©2005, 2014 Peter Hertzmann. All rights reserved.
omelette à la jardinière
mixed vegetables, see instruction 1
6 to 8 small
cauliflower florets, blanched 3 minutes, drained
2 T
unsalted butter
4 extra‑large
eggs
fine salt
freshly ground black pepper
sauce Béchamel:
2 T
unsalted butter
2 T
all‑purpose flour
250 ml (1 c)
milk
fine salt
freshly ground white pepper
pinch
cayenne pepper
1. 
Prepare a selection vegetables in sufficient quantity to make a layer across the bottom of a medium‑size frying pan. Some possible vegetables include peas, fava beans, carrots, green beans, turnips, sweet red peppers, onions. Peas and fava beans should be blanched and peeled. Carrots and turnips should be cut into a fine julienne and blanched. Green beans should be blanched and, if large, cut into slivers. All blanching should be done in separate pots of heavily salted water. After blanching, the vegetables should be chilled in an ice bath and well drained. The peppers and onions should be cut into a fine julienne.
2. 
Preheat oven to 180°C (355°F).
3. 
Melt butter in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add the onions and peppers, if used, and fry until they start to soften. Add the precooked vegetables and stir to reheat.
4. 
In the meantime, break the eggs into a bowl. Season the eggs with salt and pepper. Beat the eggs with a fork until just mixed.
5. 
Spread the vegetables evenly across the frying pan and slowly pour the eggs over the top. If necessary, smooth out the vegetables. Arrange the cauliflower florets on the eggs and place the frying pan in the oven. Bake until the eggs are set, about 8 minutes.
6. 
If using, prepare the sauce Béchamel: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and stir to dissolve. Cook for a minute or two. Slowly whisk in the milk. Season with salt and the two peppers. Whisk continuously until the sauce has thickened. Set aside and keep warm until the eggs are ready.
7. 
Slide the omelet onto a heated serving plate. If being used, spoon the sauce around the omelet.
Yield: 2 servings.
Ref: Prosper Montagné, Larousse Gastronomique, 1938, page 393.
©2005, 2014 Peter Hertzmann. All rights reserved.
omelette à la Noaille
1 t
grated lime zest
1 T
orange‑flower water
50 g (5 T)
almond powder
2 extra‑large
egg whites
pinch
fine salt
50 g (14 c)
granulated sugar
1 extra‑large
egg yolk
soft unsalted butter
granulated sugar, for dusting
crème pâtisserie:
200 ml (1312 T)
whole milk
50 ml (313 T)
heavy cream
1 small
cinnamon stick
2 extra‑large
egg yolks
60 g (5 T)
granulated sugar
pin
fine salt
20 g (313 T)
cornstarch
1. 
For crème pâtisserie: Place the milk, cream, and cinnamon stick in a small saucepan over medium heat. Scald the milk and cream. Set aside for 5 minutes to allow the cinnamon to infuse.
2. 
In the meantime, place the egg yolks in a bowl and whisk together with the sugar until light yellow. Whisk in the salt and starch.
3. 
When the cinnamon infusion is complete. Remove the cinnamon stick and reserve. Slowly whisk the liquid into the egg yolks. Return the combination to the saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook the mixture, whisking constantly until it thickens. Strain the mixture into a clean bowl and add the reserved cinnamon stick. Set aside to cool.
4. 
Preheat the oven to 180°C (355°F)
5. 
Remove the cinnamon stick from the crème pâtisserie and discard. Whisk in the zest, orange‑flower water, and almond powder. Set aside.
6. 
Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff. Whisk in the sugar. Fold in the egg yolk. Fold in the crème pâtisserie mixture.
7. 
Generously butter a large oval baking dish. Pour the mixture into the dish.
8. 
Bake the omelet for 20 minutes or until it has doubled in size and is golden brown on top. Dust the top with granulated sugar and serve immediately.
Note: The omelet can be baked in 4 individual baking dishes instead of one large one.
Yield: 4 servings.
Ref: François Massialot, Le Nouveau cuisiner royal et bourgeois ou cuisiner moderne, 1748, volume I, page 483.
©2005, 2014 Peter Hertzmann. All rights reserved.
omelette au fromage
4 extra‑large
eggs
fine salt
freshly ground black pepper
freshly ground nutmeg
25 g (2 T)
finely grated Parmesan cheese
2 T
butter
60 g (14 c)
grated Gruyere cheese
1. 
Break the eggs into a bowl. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the Parmesan cheese. Beat the eggs with a fork until just mixed.
2. 
Heat a large frying pan over medium‑high heat. Add the butter and allow it to melt and color slightly. Add the beaten eggs. Use the flat side of the fork to stir the eggs until they start to set. Smooth the top and leave the eggs to cook. Strew the Gruyere cheese over the surface. Fold the omelet into thirds and flip it onto a heated serving plate.
Yield: 2 servings.
Ref: Urbain Dubois & Émile Bernard, La Cuisine classique, 1864, page 327.
©2005, 2014 Peter Hertzmann. All rights reserved.
omelette au lard
110 g (14 lb)
bacon, cut into 3‑mm (18‑in) strips
4 extra‑large
eggs
fine salt
freshly ground white pepper
freshly ground nutmeg
2 T
unsalted butter
1. 
Place the bacon in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Place the saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. Drain. Place the drained bacon in a small frying pan and fry it until starts to brown.
2. 
In the meantime, break the eggs into a bowl. Season the eggs with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Beat the eggs with a fork until just mixed.
3. 
Heat a large frying pan over medium‑high heat. Add the butter and allow it to melt and color slightly. Add the beaten eggs and bacon. Use the flat side of the fork to stir the eggs until they start to set. Smooth the top and leave the eggs to cook. Fold the omelet into thirds and flip it onto a heated serving plate.
Yield: 2 servings.
Ref: Marie Antonin Carême & Armand Plumerey, L’Art de la cuisine française aux XIXe siècle, 1844, page 383.
©2005, 2014 Peter Hertzmann. All rights reserved.
omelette au naturel
3 extra‑large
eggs
1 T
whole milk
fine salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 T
unsalted butter
1. 
Break the eggs into a bowl. Add the milk and season with salt and pepper. Beat the eggs with a fork until just mixed.
2. 
Heat a medium frying pan over medium‑high heat. Add the butter and allow it to melt and color slightly. Add the beaten eggs. Use the flat side of the fork to stir the eggs until they start to set. Smooth the top and leave the eggs to cook. Fold the omelet into thirds and flip it onto a heated serving plate.
Yield: 1 serving.
Ref: Ali‑Bab, Gastronomie pratique, 1928, page 270.
©2005, 2014 Peter Hertzmann. All rights reserved.
omelette au rhum
2 extra‑large
eggs
pinch
fine salt
2 T
granulated sugar
1 T
unsalted butter
granulated sugar, for dusting [optional]
30 ml (2 T)
dark rum
1. 
Break the eggs into a bowl. Season with salt and add the sugar. Beat the eggs with a fork until well mixed. If some of the egg white is visible, strain the mixture through a fine strainer.
2. 
Heat a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add the butter and allow it to melt and color slightly. Add the egg mixture. Use the flat side of the fork to stir the eggs until they start to set. Smooth the top and leave the eggs to cook. Roll the omelet onto a heated serving plate.
3. 
Optional: sprinkle the top of the omelet with sugar and brown the top under a broiler.
4. 
In the meantime, place the rum in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Carefully ignite the rum and pour it over and around the omelet. Serve immediately.
Yield: 1 serving.
Ref: Jules Gouffé, Le Livre de cuisine, 1867, page 293.
©2005, 2014 Peter Hertzmann. All rights reserved.
omelette aux confitures
2 extra‑large
eggs
pinch
fine salt
1 T
granulated sugar
1 T
heavy cream
1 T
unsalted butter
2 T
jam or marmalade
granulated sugar, for dusting
1. 
Break the eggs into a bowl. Season with salt and add the sugar and cream. Beat the eggs with a fork until well mixed. If some of the egg white is visible, strain the mixture through a fine strainer.
2. 
Heat a medium frying pan over medium‑low heat. Add the butter and allow it to melt and color slightly. Add the egg mixture. Use the flat side of the fork to stir the eggs until they start to set. Smooth the top and leave the eggs to cook. Spoon the jam or marmalade across the center of the omelet. Roll the omelet onto a heated serving plate.
3. 
Sprinkle the top of the omelet with granulated sugar.
Yield: 1 serving.
Ref: Antoine Gogué, Les Secrets de la cuisine française, 1856, page 356.
©2005, 2014 Peter Hertzmann. All rights reserved.
omelette aux crevettes
200 g (12 lb), 40‑50 count
shrimp tails
5 T
unsalted butter
1 T
all‑purpose flour
125 ml (12 c)
fish stock
fine salt
freshly ground white pepper
pinch
cayenne pepper
4 extra‑large
eggs
1. 
Peel the shrimp, reserving the shells. Devein the shrimp and cut each tail into half. Set aside.
2. 
Chop the shrimp shells and place them in a small saucepan along with 3 T butter. Place the saucepan over low heat and cook the shells for about 5 minutes. Strain to remove the shells from the butter. There should be about 1 T of butter remaining.
3. 
Place the shrimp butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook for a while without allowing the mixture to color. Slowly whisk in the fish stock. Bring to a boil while continuously whisking. Season with salt, white pepper, and cayenne pepper. Add the shrimp‑tail pieces. Cook just until the shrimp pieces turn color. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
4. 
In the meantime, break the eggs into a bowl. Season the eggs with salt and white pepper. Beat the eggs with a fork until just mixed.
5. 
Heat a large frying pan over medium‑high heat. Add the remaining 2 T of butter and allow it to melt and color slightly. Add the beaten eggs. Use the flat side of the fork to stir the eggs until they start to set. Smooth the top and leave the eggs to cook. Using a slotted spoon, place about two‑thirds of the shrimp in a line across the center of the omelet. Fold the omelet into thirds and flip it onto a heated serving plate.
6. 
Spoon the remain shrimp pieces and the sauce over the omelet.
Yield: 2 servings.
Ref: Jules Gouffé, Le Livre de cuisine, 1867, page 652.
©2005, 2014 Peter Hertzmann. All rights reserved.
omelette aux épinards
3 T
unsalted butter
100 g (14 lb)
fresh spinach leaves
fine salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 extra‑large
eggs
1. 
Melt 1 T butter in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add the spinach, season it with salt and pepper, and fry it quickly until it just starts to wilt. Immediately remove it from the heat and set aside.
2. 
In the meantime, break the eggs into a bowl. Season the eggs with salt and pepper. Beat the eggs with a fork until just mixed.
3. 
Heat a large frying pan over medium‑high heat. Add the remaining butter and allow it to melt and color slightly. Add the beaten eggs. Use the flat side of the fork to stir the eggs until they start to set. Smooth the top and leave the eggs to cook. Place the spinach in a line across the center of the omelet. Fold the omelet into thirds and flip it onto a heated serving plate.
Yield: 2 servings.
Ref: E. Saint‑Ange, La Bonne Cuisine de Madame E. Saint‑Ange, 1929, page 78.
©2005, 2014 Peter Hertzmann. All rights reserved.
omelette aux fines herbes
4 extra‑large
eggs
fine salt
freshly ground black pepper
20 g (23 oz)
chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, chives, chervil, thyme, parsley, etc.
2 T
unsalted butter
1. 
Break the eggs into a bowl. Season the eggs with salt and pepper. Beat the eggs with a fork until just mixed. Add the herbs and mix again.
2. 
Heat a large frying pan over medium‑high heat. Add the butter and allow it to melt and color slightly. Add the beaten eggs and herbs. Use the flat side of the fork to stir the eggs until they start to set. Smooth the top and leave the eggs to cook. Fold the omelet into thirds and flip it onto a heated serving plate.
Yield: 2 servings.
Ref: Antoine Gogué, Les Secrets de la cuisine française, 1856, page 354.
©2005, 2014 Peter Hertzmann. All rights reserved.
omelette aux fraises
150 g (13 lb)
strawberries, hulled, sliced lengthwise into 5‑mm (14‑in) slices
100 ml (312 T)
kirsch
6 T
granulated sugar
2 extra‑large
eggs
pin
fine salt
2 T
heavy cream
1 T
unsalted butter
powdered sugar [optional]
1. 
Place the strawberries into a small saucepan along with the kirsch and 4 T sugar. Place the saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Ignite the liquid, lower heat, and cook the strawberries until they start to soften. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside.
2. 
Break the eggs into a bowl. Season with salt and add 2 T sugar and the heavy cream. Beat the eggs with a fork until well mixed. If some of the egg white is visible, strain the mixture through a fine strainer.
3. 
Heat a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add the butter and allow it to melt and color slightly. Add the egg mixture. Use the flat side of the fork to stir the eggs until they start to set. Smooth the top and leave the eggs to cook. Spoon about half the strawberries down the center of the eggs with a slotted spoon. Roll the omelet onto a heated serving plate.
4. 
Optional: Sprinkle the top of the omelet with powdered sugar and brown the top under a broiler.
5. 
Spoon the remaining strawberries and some of the liquid over and around the omelet. Serve immediately.
Yield: 1 serving.
Ref: Prosper Montagné, Larousse Gastronomique, 1938, page 398.
©2005, 2014 Peter Hertzmann. All rights reserved.
omelette aux pistaches
1 medium
lemon
white wine
1 or 2 T
granulated sugar
soft unsalted butter
4 extra‑large
egg yolks
250 ml (1 c)
heavy cream
pin
salt
40 g (313 T)
granulated sugar, plus additional sugar for dusting
30 g (14 c)
chopped pistachio nuts
1. 
Cut off the ends of the lemon just until the flesh is showing. Place the lemon on one end on the cutting board. Cut the peel from top to bottom, rotating the knife a small amount of flesh is attached to the pith. Rotate the lemon and remove another slice. Continue until the lemon is all peeled. There should be 6 or 7 oval‑shaped, thick pieces of skin.
2. 
Squeeze the juice from the remaining lemon flesh into a bowl and set aside.
3. 
Cut each piece of skin into thick strips, 4 or 5 strips from each piece of skin. Place the strips in a small saucepan. Cover with wine. Add some granulated sugar. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Continue cooking the lemon strips until the white pith is translucent and the liquid has reduced to a thick syrup, about an hour. Set the lemon strips aside on a plate to cool.
4. 
When the lemon strips are cool, mince and set aside.
5. 
Preheat the oven to 180°C (355°F). Butter an oval baking dish or individual mini‑quiche dishes and set aside.
6. 
Whisk the egg yolks, cream, salt, and sugar together. Add the minced lemon peel and the chopped pistachio nuts. Pour the mixture into the baking dish.
7. 
Bake the omelet until cooked through and the edges are golden, about 25 to 30 minutes.
8. 
Remove the cooked omelet from the oven. Sprinkle the top with some sugar and a little of the reserved lemon juice.
Yield: 2 servings.
Ref: Pierre de Lune, Le Cuisiner, 1656, in L’Art de la cuisine française au XVIIe siècle, page 401.
©2005, 2014 Peter Hertzmann. All rights reserved.
omelette aux pommes
1 small
apple
2 T
unsalted butter
2 t
granulated sugar
2 extra‑large
eggs
pinch
fine salt
12 T
whole milk
granulated sugar, for dusting
1. 
Preheat oven to 180°C (355°F).
2. 
Peel, quarter, and core the apple. Slice each quarter crosswise into 3‑mm (18‑in) thick slices.
3. 
Melt the butter in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the apples and 1 t sugar. Cook the apples until they are tender.
4. 
In the meantime, break the eggs into a bowl. Season the eggs with salt and 1 t sugar. Add the milk. Beat the eggs with a fork until well mixed. If some of the egg white is visible, strain the mixture through a fine strainer.
5. 
When the apples are cooked, spread them evenly across the frying pan and slowly pour the eggs over the top. If necessary, smooth out the apples and place the frying pan in the oven. Bake until the eggs are set, about 5 minutes.
6. 
Flip the omelet over onto a heated serving plate. Dust the surface with granulated sugar and serve.
Yield: 2 servings.
Ref: E. Saint‑Ange, La Bonne Cuisine de Madame E. Saint‑Ange, 1929, page 293.
©2005, 2014 Peter Hertzmann. All rights reserved.
omelette aux rognons
4 T
unsalted butter
250 g (12 lb)
veal or beef kidney, cleaned, 4‑mm (316‑in) dice
fine salt
freshly ground black pepper
75 g (5 T)
demi‑glace
4 extra‑large
eggs
1. 
Melt 2 T butter in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add the diced kidney, season it with salt and pepper, and fry it quickly until it starts to brown. Add the demi‑glace and reduce. Remove from the heat and set aside.
2. 
In the meantime, break the eggs into a bowl. Season the eggs with salt and pepper. Beat the eggs with a fork until just mixed.
3. 
Heat a large frying pan over medium‑high heat. Add the remaining butter and allow it to melt and color slightly. Add the beaten eggs. Use the flat side of the fork to stir the eggs until they start to set. Smooth the top and leave the eggs to cook. Spoon two‑thirds of the cooked kidney in a line across the center of the omelet. Fold the omelet into thirds and flip it onto a heated serving plate.
4. 
With the spatula, make a cut most of the way down the center of the omelet. Spoon the remaining kidney into the cut.
Yield: 2 servings.
Ref: Auguste Escoffier, Le Guide Culinaire, 1921 (1982 translation), page 178.
©2005, 2014 Peter Hertzmann. All rights reserved.
omelette de champignons
4 T
unsalted butter
125 to 150 g (14 to 13 lb)
mushrooms, one or more types, sliced
1 T
chopped, fresh flat‑leaf parsley [optional]
fine salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 extra‑large
eggs
freshly ground nutmeg
lemon juice
1. 
Melt 2 T butter in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook until tender. Add the parsley and stir to mix [optional]. Set aside.
2. 
In the meantime, break the eggs into a bowl. Season the eggs with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Beat the eggs with a fork until just mixed.
3. 
Heat a large frying pan over medium‑high heat. Add the remaining butter and allow it to melt. Add the beaten eggs. Use the flat side of the fork to stir the eggs until they start to set. Smooth the top and leave the eggs to cook. Arrange the cooked mushrooms in the center of the eggs. Fold the side of the omelet up to form it into a triangle. Transfer to a heated serving plate, sprinkle lightly with lemon juice, and serve.
Yield: 2 servings.
Ref: Pierre de Lune, Le Cuisiner, 1656, in L’Art de la cuisine française au XVIIe siècle, page 400.
©2005, 2014 Peter Hertzmann. All rights reserved.
omelette de jambon
175 g (13 lb)
lean, cooked ham, cut into 3‑mm (18‑in) cubes
4 extra‑large
eggs
fine salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 T
fresh flat‑leaf parsley
2 T
unsalted butter
1. 
Place the ham in a small frying pan over medium heat. Cook it just enough to heat it up.
2. 
In the meantime, break the eggs into a bowl. Season the eggs with salt, and pepper. Beat the eggs with a fork until just mixed. Add the parsley and half the ham.
3. 
Heat a large frying pan over medium‑high heat. Add the butter and allow it to melt and color slightly. Add the beaten eggs. Use the flat side of the fork to stir the eggs until they start to set. Smooth the top and leave the eggs to cook. Strew the remainder of the ham in a line across the center of the omelet. Fold the omelet into thirds and flip it onto a heated serving plate.
Yield: 2 servings.
Ref: François Massialot, Le Nouveau cuisiner royal et bourgeois ou cuisiner moderne, 1748, volume I, page 481.
©2005, 2014 Peter Hertzmann. All rights reserved.
omelette Du Barry
12 order
purée crème de chou‑fleur [optional‑see note]
125 g (14 lb) small
cauliflower florets
2 T
unsalted butter
4 extra‑large
eggs
fine salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 T
minced fresh chervil, plus a sprig or 2 for decoration
1. 
If using the pureed cauliflower, prepare it first and keep warm.
2. 
Preheat oven to 200°C (390°F).
3. 
Blanch the cauliflower florets in salted, boiling water until barely tender, about 3 minutes. Drain well.
4. 
Heat the butter in medium, nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Fry the cauliflower florets unto golden,
5. 
Place the eggs in a bowl along with the salt, pepper and chervil. Beat the eggs with a fork until barely mixed and pour over the florets. Use the flat side of the fork to stir the eggs until they start to set. Even out the florets, smooth the top, and place the frying pan in the oven. Bake just until the top is set, about 3 minutes.
6. 
Slide the omelet onto a heated serving plate. Decorate the top with the pureed cauliflower and the chervil sprigs.
Note: The original recipe called for a sauce made from reduced bechamel sauce and cream. In the above, pureed cauliflower has been substituted for the sauce. The omelet can also be served with any sauce.
Yield: 2 servings.
Ref: Prosper Montagné, Larousse Gastronomique, 1938, page 392.
©2005, 2014 Peter Hertzmann. All rights reserved.
omelette Grandval
fine salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 extra‑large
eggs
2 T
unsalted butter
1 extra‑large
egg, hard‑cooked, 4‑mm (316‑in) slices
fondue portugaise:
1 t
olive oil
30 g (1 oz)
finely chopped onion
120 g (14 lb)
peeled, cored, seeded, diced tomatoes
1 small clove
garlic, peeled, germ removed, pureed
fine salt
freshly ground black pepper
sauce tomate:
1 T
unsalted butter
40 g (1+ oz)
smoky bacon, cut into 3‑mm (18‑in) strips
50 g (scant 2 oz)
diced onions
300 g (34 lb)
peeled, cored, seeded, shredded tomatoes
1 small clove
garlic, peeled, germ removed, thinly sliced
fine salt
freshly ground black pepper
pin
crusted red pepper flakes
6 medium leaves
basil, chiffonade
1. 
For fondue portugaise: Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft but not colored. Add the tomatoes and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Once the tomatoes start to shed some water, lower heat and cook the mixture, stirring frequently, until soft and dry. Remove from the heat and set aside.
2. 
For sauce tomate: Place the butter and bacon in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook the bacon until soft but not brown. Add the onions and continue to cook until the onions are soft. Add the tomatoes and garlic. Season with salt, pepper, and the pepper flakes. Stir to mix. When the tomatoes start to boil, reduce the heat and cook until the tomatoes are soft and much of the liquid has evaporated. Set aside until the omelet is ready.
3. 
In the meantime, break the eggs into a bowl. Season the eggs with salt and pepper. Beat the eggs with a fork until just mixed.
4. 
Reheat the fondue portugaise and sauce tomate.
5. 
Heat a large frying pan over medium‑high heat. Add the butter and allow it to melt and color slightly. Add the beaten eggs. Use the flat side of the fork to stir the eggs until they start to set. Smooth the top and leave the eggs to cook. Spoon the fondue portugaise in a line across the center of the omelet. Fold the omelet into thirds and flip it onto a heated serving plate.
6. 
Spoon the sauce tomate over the omelet and arrange overlapping slices of hard‑cooked egg on top.
Note: The original recipe for the sauce tomate was a strained, roux‑thickened, long‑cooked tomato sauce.
Yield: 2 servings.
Ref: Auguste Escoffier, Le Guide Culinaire, 1921 (1982 translation), page 9, 49, and 176.
©2005, 2014 Peter Hertzmann. All rights reserved.
omelette lyonnaise
3 T
unsalted butter
150 g (13 lb)
onion, peeled, very finely shredded
fine salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 extra‑large
eggs
1 t
minced, flat‑leaf parsley
1. 
Melt 2 T butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion, season it with salt and pepper, and fry it quickly until it starts to color..
2. 
In the meantime, break the eggs into a bowl. Season the eggs with salt and pepper. Beat the eggs with a fork until just mixed. Mix in the parsley.
3. 
Add the remaining butter to the frying pan and allow it to melt. Add the beaten eggs. Use the flat side of the fork to stir the eggs until they start to set. Smooth the top and leave the eggs to cook. Fold the omelet into thirds and flip it onto a heated serving plate.
Yield: 2 servings.
Ref: Auguste Escoffier, Le Guide Culinaire, 1921 (1982 translation), page 176.
©2005, 2014 Peter Hertzmann. All rights reserved.
omelette soufflée à l’orange
1 medium
orange
60 to 90 g (5 to 7 T)
granulated sugar
soft unsalted butter
2 extra‑large
eggs, separated
1 T
powdered almonds
pinch
salt
1. 
Using a vegetable peeler, remove the skin from the orange. Reserve the orange for other uses. Using a large knife held parallel to the cutting board, remove the white pith from the back of the skin and discard it. Cut the skin into thin strips and combine with 60 g (5 T) of granulated sugar. Massage the mixture with your hands to release the essential oil from the orange skin into the sugar. This takes 3 to 5 minutes. The sugar will stick to the orange strips. Carefully scrape the sugar from the strips with your fingers. Save the strips for use as decoration for another dish. Weigh the oil‑filled sugar, and add additional sugar to increase its weight to 60 g (2 oz).
2. 
Preheat the oven to 180°C (355°F). Butter an oval baking dish, or individual baking dishes, and set aside.
3. 
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together. Whisk in the almond powder. Whisk the egg whites with the salt until firm peaks form. Fold the egg‑yolk mixture into the whites. Pour the combined mixture into the single, large baking dish or divide it between the individual baking dishes.
4. 
Bake the omelet until golden and it has risen substantially, about 15 minutes.
5. 
Remove the cooked omelet from the oven and serve immediately.
Yield: 2 servings.
Ref: Marie Antonin Carême & Armand Plumerey, L’Art de la cuisine française aux XIXe siècle, 1844, page 395.
©2005, 2014 Peter Hertzmann. All rights reserved.