When I flipped to a recipe for a sweet omelet, sweetened with sugar and seasoned with vanilla extract and vanilla bean, in The Perfect Omelet: Essential Recipes For the Home Cook ($12) by John E. Finn, I couldn't wait to try it. I've heard of adding orange juice to scrambled eggs and I love soufflés, but I've never once seen seasoning omelets with anything other than savory ingredients.
First, butter is browned in a nonstick pan before the whipped mixture goes in. Browning butter means a blazing-hot pan, so the eggs start to form curds quickly!
The recipe calls for browning the exterior of the eggs slightly and letting the sugar caramelize, similar to an American omelet, so don't be alarmed if your eggs turn a slightly darker shade.
I couldn't wait to dive into this buttery, caramel-smelling omelet. I couldn't believe how good it tasted — like a warm vanilla custard. Sometimes, I grow weary of eating savory eggs, and this version has reinvigorated my love of eggs for breakfast. Since vanilla beans can be very expensive, I may turn to vanilla bean powder as a more affordable, more convenient alternative, particularly for weekdays when no one wants to go through the trouble of scraping out the seeds from the vanilla bean.
This is a simple and easy dessert omelet and a fitting place to begin our exploration of sweet omelets. Because it cooks on the stove and employs an equal number of yolks and whites, this is not, strictly speaking, a soufflé omelet, but rather a mousseline omelet; most of the soufflé omelet recipes in this chapter can be adapted to this style. Unlike most French omelets, dessert omelets call for a little color, so it is okay, indeed, advisable to let them brown a little. I like to let the butter begin to brown, too, because it imparts a slightly nutty taste to the omelet. Do use a very good vanilla — vanilla does all the work in this recipe and is vital to its success. For an especially elegant touch, surround the omelet with crème anglaise.
Variations: I like to make this omelet with extract of almond, or with orange juice, and even with maple syrup. Maple syrup also makes a nice glaze under the broiler, but take care that it does not burn. A wonderful, spirited version of this omelet replaces the vanilla with a tablespoon of a sweet dessert wine and pairs it with a fine cheese on the side.
A tip from my mother: My mother liked to say that any recipe could be improved by doubling the amount of vanilla in it. It is not a bad rule, but I think it overwhelms this recipe.
- 2 eggs, mixed
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Seeds of 1 vanilla bean, husk reserved
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Mint sprig for garnish
- Preheat a nonstick 8- or 9-inch skillet over medium to medium-high heat.
- Whisk the eggs, vanilla, vanilla bean seeds, and sugar with a fork until just combined.
- Melt the butter in the skillet, swirl to coat the pan, and when the butter just begins to turn brown, pour the eggs into the pan.
- Let the eggs sit undisturbed for about 5 seconds. With a fork or a spatula, move the eggs in a circular pattern, moving the eggs from the outside of the pan to the inside. At the same time, using sharp, short, and controlled motions, keep the skillet moving back and forth.
- Remove the pan from the heat and use the fork to "roll" the eggs from the far side of the pan to the side closest to you.
- Grab underneath the handle of the pan with the palm of your hand, thumb on top of the handle, and invert the omelet, seam side down, onto a warm plate.
- Garnish with a sprig of mint and the reserved vanilla bean husk.
- North American
- Serves 1