Should You Pre-Cook The Fillings For Your Omelet?

You'd be hard pressed to find a meal that is as satisfying and delicious as an omelet. Folded over on it own with some herbs and spices or stuffed with cheese, veggies, and meat, an omelet is so simple yet, when done right, so exquisite. 

There's a reason that when Julia Child appeared on the public television show "I've Been Reading" in 1961, to promote her book "Mastering the Art of French Cooking," she made a simple French omelet on a hot plate — and absolutely wowed host Albert Duhamel (via WGBH). That appearance was the catalyst for Child's long-running show, "The Art of French Cooking," which devoted many an episode to the omelet. Her omelet skills even inspired the hashtag #JuliaChildChallenge, where home cooks are encouraged to replicate Child's classic 14-second French omelet.

Mastering the omelet is not easy — even when you have more than 14 seconds with which to do it. And if you prefer your omelet packed with lots of ingredients, there is even more nuance to the dish. 

Cook the other ingredients first

Unlike a basic omelet with just some fresh herbs, stuffing an omelet with lots of ingredients requires more steps. Adding meats and veggies to your omelet is not a matter of just throwing them in with the raw eggs. As Serious Eats notes, eggs cook fast — much faster than the ham, mushrooms, onion, and more that you put in your omelets. That's why you need to cook those ingredients first — and add them in later. If you're worried about over-cooking some ingredients, then simply par-cook them (cook them most, but not all the way) so they will finish cooking when they are mixed in with the eggs. If you want perfectly melted cheese in your omelet, Serious Eats recommends adding the grated cheese of your choice to the warmed ingredients — mixed in with your cooked pieces of ham, for instance — so that the cheese will be slightly melted when added to the eggs.

A good example of an omelet stuffed with ingredients is the classic Denver omelet: bell pepper, ham, onion, and cheese. In this case, you would sauté the bell pepper, ham, and onion in a pan, then place the ingredients in a bowl. This is when you would mix in the cheese with your warm ingredients to get the melting started. Next, add more butter to your skillet, pour in the egg mixture, and allow to cook. Then, simply add your pre-cooked filling to one side, fold, and serve.

Making the perfect omelet takes practice — but is well worth having in your culinary repertoire. And Julia would be proud.