Here in the states, we think of our omelets as the typical omelet, maybe different fillings referring to different regions but essentially all the same. But, what if you were to find out that the American omelet is a very different style than that the European way of cooking an omelet was the "traditional". This isn't just about what the Europeans put in their omelet, though admittedly that is part of it, but how the eggs are rolled and cooked. It's a distinct style very separate from the American way and also difficult to find unless a restaurant is familiar with the French or European form of an omelet. Let's get into some of the differences between our omelet and the European omelet.
1) The Way the Eggs Are Cooked
In the states, we're fond of thoroughly cooking our eggs till they are more firm but you may find this hard to find across the Atlantic. The eggs are continuously whisked while the pan is shaken so they don't stick to the bottom nor do they achieve that golden color we associate with cooked eggs. The eggs in a European omelet are more on the wet side and just firm enough to roll over. When cutting into this kind of omelet, prepare for the center to flow out rather than stay firm. Think of it as rolling up an egg more over-easy than well-done. But, unlike American omelets, the European brand is much more moist in texture and fluffy. Don't think of runny eggs that flood the plate with little more than butter, just a softer and creamier texture than you're accustomed to. You may find that you prefer this style of eggs than the one you're used to.
2) What Is in the Omelet?
The American omelet is defined by what it's stuffed with. For example, a southern style omelet would have beans, corn, cheese, and would probably be on the spicer side of food. A western styled omelet or a Denver omelet is known for being filled with ham and bell peppers. European omelets are far more simple and besides being more akin to a sunny side firmness of eggs, another difference is that they're often filled with nothing but cheese and some herbs. Now, of course, this can change depending on the country or on someone's personal tastes but the herb and cheese filling is the more traditional way.; a German omelet may have sausage added into the center, for example. But, you don't have to be bound to the basic European omelet, it's a rich region with many food cultures to explore. So, don't be afraid that you're violating some sacred omelet code. It's really the way the eggs are cooked as well as how it is presented that is the difference between American and European omelets.
3) How the Omelet Is Formed?
Omelets in America are usually folded once over and cooked thoroughly, but the European way is to roll it up. Before being fashioned into an egg cylinder the omelet is filled with cheese and choice herbs, assuming it's a traditional omelet of course. Remember that European omelets are fluffy and the center flows out when cutting the omelet, so don't say the omelet is undercooked because the chef will look at you funny. Again, a primary difference between American and European omelets is the texture of the eggs. American omelets are more on the crispy side and firm while European is softer and fluffy.
Our beloved dishes change shape and their melodies of flavor can sing different tunes around the world. Why be enriched only to find a glass ceiling due to exposure? Let your taste buds travel the world and explore every manner of omelet, from European to the Far East. Eggs are a wonderful item to cook and we know there are many styles of cooking them, and so it is with omelets. It isn't just about the variety of items you can fold or roll into them: the herbs, meats, vegetables, and cheeses. The texture of the egg itself has diversity. So when looking for a breakfast out with the family or friends and you see "Traditional European Omelet", not only will you know the things to expect, but you'll know it's something that'll enrich your palette. Taste the beginnings of the omelet, in all their fluffy glory.
Have a delicious morning!