Breakfast is often a rushed affair. But with this dish, you’re going to want to slow it way down.
A French omelet is almost a delicacy. While it takes mere minutes to make, the results are a rich bounty of fluffy, yet creamy eggs.
What you have likely been eating in American diners and at buffets all these years is a mere shadow of what the French have concocted. Never overcooked or overstuffed, careful preparation and a proper cooking technique are all that is required to elevate simple ingredients into something grand.
Okay, that’s a lot of fancy talk for what is, in essence, a side order at brunch. But we’ve all grown accustomed to overcooked eggs.
You know the kind – rubbery, a little too brown, and sometimes way too oily. The cooking instructions here alleviate any risk of all that nonsense, and make for a delightful and classy dish.
The traditional French omelet is usually prepared with just eggs, without any other ingredients. Sometimes it will be garnished with a selection of fines herbes – chervil, chives, parsley, and tarragon – that have been finely chopped, and beautifully arranged.
In my case, I need to try and get as many greens into my family’s diet as I can, and sneaking them into my meals in a no-brainer.
From soups to salads, I chose asparagus because it’s quick to cook. Especially for breakfast with eggs! It doesn’t leech out a lot of liquid, which would completely ruin the eggs. Plus, asparagus goes very well with the lemon zest that’s used as a garnish.
I opted for shredded mozzarella, also to minimize the quantity of liquid added to the dish. The center of the omelet is creamy perfection, and I didn’t want to upset the balance.
Before you add the asparagus and mozzarella, make sure the eggs are still a bit undercooked on the surface. The residual heat will continue to cook them before serving.
Don’t shy away from the butter called for in this recipe. It does double duty in not only preventing the eggs from sticking to the pan, but also providing a nuanced layer of flavor that only real butter can deliver.
Also, watch your heat level. Try to stay at medium-low heat throughout the cooking process. You’ll need time to melt the cheese and fold over the eggs. Don’t risk burning your masterpiece by going too high.
A final word on technique: you won’t have a classically trained French chef with his raised eyebrow standing behind you as you attempt to fold the omelet (I assume you won’t, at least). So, if it slides out in a slightly awkward way, don’t sweat it. I promise you – it will taste just as divine.Print
For a delicate start to any morning, try sauteed asparagus and creamy mozzarella enveloped in a fluffy, buttery French omelet.
- 1/2 pound thin asparagus, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
- 6 large eggs
- 1/3 cup half and half (or 4 tablespoons heavy cream)
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives (optional)
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest (optional)
- Using a vegetable peeler, peel the bottom ends of the asparagus spears about 2 inches from the bottom. Discard shavings. Cut asparagus into 1/2-inch slices.
- Add eggs, half and half or heavy cream, salt, and pepper to a blender. Blend on high for 30 seconds. Set aside to rest.
- Add vegetable oil to a 10-inch nonstick pan, and place on low heat for 2 minutes.
- Swirl vegetable oil around the pan until fully coated.
- Add unsalted butter to pan and swirl to coat thoroughly. Turn heat up to medium-low.
- Add sliced asparagus and cook for 30 seconds, stirring occasionally. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Place the pan back on the stove and return to medium-low heat. Add the egg mixture, swirl the pan to coat it with the mixture all the way to the edges, and allow it to cook undisturbed for 1 minute.
- Sprinkle grated mozzarella and asparagus on one half of the egg.
- Turn off heat and allow cheese to melt for 3 minutes.
- Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg over in quarters, repeating until folded into a flat roll.
- Set aside in the pan for 30 seconds. Cut in half.
- Garnish with chopped chives and/or lemon zest. Serve immediately.
- Category: Eggs
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Breakfast
Keywords: omelet, eggs, asparagus, mozzarella, cheese, chives, lemon, breakfast, brunch
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep Filling and Garnishes
Wash the asparagus well, to remove any dirt and grit. Wash the herbs and lemon as well, if you’re using them.
Using a vegetable peeler, peel the bottom ends of the asparagus spears starting about 2 inches from the bottom. Discard the shavings. Trim the bottoms of each spear if needed, and discard.
Cut the asparagus into 1/2-inch slices.
You can buy store-bought shredded mozzarella to save time, or shred it now, using your box grater.
If you want to garnish the omelets, finely chop 1 tablespoon of chives. Using a microplane or zester, grate a lemon until you have about 1 tablespoon of zest.
If you don’t have a microplane, a box grater will also work for this. Use the smallest opening.
You can use both of these garnishes, one or the other, or skip the garnish altogether. But I highly recommend using at least one! It adds a nice touch of fresh flavor that complements the asparagus really nicely.
Step 2 – Prep Egg Base
You can also use white pepper instead of black, as tradition calls for. The French prefer not to see black specks in their eggs.
White and black peppercorns come from the same plant, with the white variety being the inner seed only, after the black outer shell is removed.
Some spice enthusiasts claim white pepper has a less pungent, earthier flavor, while others claim there’s little difference. Either way, it’s a nice way to add some peppery flavor in disguise, without any unwanted flecks in your meal!
Step 3 – Cook Asparagus
Add the vegetable oil to a 10-inch nonstick pan, and heat on low for 2 minutes.
Make sure your nonstick pan’s surface is entirely intact. Any scratches or rough areas can make the eggs stick and ruin the omelet.
Swirl the vegetable oil around the entire pan until the surface is fully coated.
Add 1 tablespoon unsalted butter to the pan and swirl it around to coat thoroughly. Wait for the butter to foam, approximately 30 seconds.
Turn up the heat a little. Add the sliced asparagus to the pan and cook for 30 seconds on medium-low. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Step 4 – Cook Eggs and Serve
Place the same pan back on the heat, and add the egg mixture. Allow to cook for 1 minute.
With a rubber spatula, gently push down the flaky edges, pulling the egg away from the sides of the pan. This will make folding the omelet easier.
Sprinkle shredded mozzarella and asparagus on one half of the egg mixture.
Turn off the heat, and allow the cheese to melt for 3 minutes.
Using a rubber spatula, gently fold one-quarter of the egg mixture over the filling, and repeat until the omelet is folded into a flat roll. Tilt the pan in the direction that you are folding to help roll the omelet over.
Ideally, the seam should be on the bottom, creating a smooth, pillowy top that’s perfect for garnishing.
Allow to sit for 30 seconds in the pan, then cut in half.
Garnish with chopped chives and lemon zest.
Breakfast Is Served
Delicate and soft, cooked lovingly in a hot, buttered pan, and flavored with fresh herbs and citrus zest, this breakfast is perfect for enjoying on a weekend morning in the spring, when fresh asparagus is in season.
Whenever you choose to enjoy it, this airy delight will make a welcome addition on your breakfast table. Simple, yet elevated, it’s light, fresh, and just a little bit cheesy.
The classic French omelet’s American cousin is usually thicker, chock-full of vegetables and breakfast meats, and browned on the outside. It also takes a bit longer to prepare, and it’s not exactly light.
It has its place. But trust me when I say that you’ve got to try this delicacy at least once. And it’s easy enough to prepare at home.
How did this omelet turn out for you? Did you garnish yours with lemon zest and herbs, or did you enjoy it as is? Leave a comment below, and share the details.
Can’t get enough eggs at breakfast? Check out these savory dishes that are perfect to enjoy in the morning for more ideas:
- The Perfect Eggs Benedict with Magical Blender Hollandaise
- Kale and Eggs: An Easy, Nutritional (and Super Tasty) Breakfast
- Breakfast Toast Cups with Bacon and Eggs
Photos by Katherine and Eddie D’Costa, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on May 4, 2009. Last updated: May 1, 2020 at 18:49 pm. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
Eddie and Katherine D’Costa are a married professional chef and journalist duo from Atlanta, where they cook up a variety of international dishes, tested for the home cook. Katherine holds an MA in journalism from Northeastern University and Eddie’s professional experience spans 20 years working with Wolfgang Puck, Jean George Vongerichten, and Todd English.