MANY PEOPLE shy away from making omelets, feeling that they involve difficult techniques and a special pan. It is true that until the advent of nonstick surfaces, it was essential to have a well-seasoned omelet pan. Often the mere description of the seasoning process was enough to discourage a prospective omelet maker. But with a nonstick pan and the simple technique used here, omelet making should not be intimidating.
There are numerous approaches to omelet making, but I find that the technique that produces the best texture in the eggs is something I call the “stir-and-shake” method. The object is to keep the eggs moving (if the egg is allowed to sit too long over heat, it becomes hard and tough). When the eggs first hit the hot pan, I rapidly stir them off the bottom of the pan (as you would in making American-style scrambled eggs), at the same time shaking the pan gently. Then when the eggs are nearly set, I stop stirring and let the bottom of the omelet set, shaking the pan once or twice to keep it from sticking.
Everyone seems to have his own “secret” for making a light omelet. Some chefs add water or milk. (I know one who adds Tabasco sauce and swears by it.) I find that water or milk makes the eggs thinner, which might seem to be lighter, but to me, the only “secret” is working rapidly so the eggs do not toughen.
An omelette aux fines herbes is one of the most popular omelets in France and one of the finest omelets I have ever eaten, but only when fresh herbs are used. It serves one as a main course or two as a first course.