An Omelette and a Glass of Wine (For Dinner)


Elizabeth David has a famous book called An Omelette and a Glass of Wine that, I’m embarassed to say, I’ve never read. Still: I’m aware of it.

So aware, in fact, that last week when I came home from the gym, exhausted, I decided to put that title into action. I had eggs from the farmer’s market in the refrigerator. I had half a bottle of red wine leftover from the previous night’s dinner. I also had some celery and walnuts. Ok, Elzabeth David, let’s do this thing.

Now I need to tell you something important about my omelette making. First of all, I prefer to spell it “omelet” because there are fewer letters. Second of all, I learned how to make an American omelet in this video a few years ago:

While I still really love that video (especially my sad attempts at flipping eggs), a reader at that time took exception to this style of omelet-making. She felt that a far superior omelet to make is the French omelet which she demonstrated here:

At the time, I was offended at the idea of this video: I learned how to make an omelet from an accomplished chef-in-a-box, why would I use a technique someone posted as a rebuttal on YouTube?

But then I started watching old Julia and Jacques episodes on PBS and the technique demonstrated in the 2nd video is pretty much the technique Jacques uses when he makes a French omelet. As the woman in the video explains, by cooking the eggs quickly you get a creamy, decadent center that far surpasses the dry eggs you get when you brown the omelet and stuff it like they do in American diners.

So on this particular night, I made my first French omelet. My non-stick pan has a sticky spot–I really need a new one–but I worked around it. Essentially, I just melted a tablespoon of butter in my nonstick skillet, whisked up 3 eggs with salt and pepper, poured it into the hot foamy butter then shook the pan aggressively while moving things around with a rubber spatula. As she shows in the video, you make little holes which you fill up with egg. As the omelet begins to set, let it sit until the whole thing slides. Then you can top with cheese (I didn’t use any) and fold it up in the skillet before unloading it on to a plate.

To balance things out, I made a quick salad of leftover celery and toasted walnuts which I dressed with olive oil and lemon juice. And though this dinner would’ve been way better with a glass of crisp white wine, the red wine I had worked fine.

All-in-all, even if you make an American omelet, this is a very satisfying and sophisticated way to feed yourself at night without spending a lot of money. Elizabeth David and Julia Child and the woman from that YouTube video would agree.