I've got a thing about omelettes at the moment. The "runny" variety, as made in France. I'm not sure if I'm a bona fide Francophile (I veer between a wild enthusiasm and an Anglican suspicion), but I do think that, apart from the Euro, there are many things that the French get right, and omelettes are most certainly one of them.
This is classic, Sunday night food: you take a non-stick, lightly oiled heavy saucepan, and heat it on a medium flame. Three eggs are beaten up with a dollop of crème fraîche, a pinch of salt and a pinch of white pepper. Add a knob of butter to the hot pan, turning the heat down to low. Swirl the butter around the pan as it froths.
In goes the egg mixture. Shaking the pan as you work, draw the runny mixture into the centre of the pan with a spatula or a fork. As the omelette cooks, the liquid egg will fill in the empty spaces. Carry on shaking the pan to make sure the edges don't stick.
I like my omelette to be soft- and that is indeed the aim of the Baveuse. To serve, fold over the omelette from both sides towards the middle and turn out on to a plate.
That's how to make a classic omelette. The secret is to use a lowish heat, work with speed, and keep it runny. Once you've mastered the technique you can start experimenting with fillings- chopped tomatoes, bacon, herbs and of course, cheese.
Incidentally, I'm currently experimenting with grated cheese and a dash of cognac; both added to the egg mixture before the beating stage. I like the sophisticated combination of cognac and eggs, although I appreicate that this is not going to be everybody's cup of tea.
There's also the question of when to add the salt. In researching this post, I found a video on Youtube featuring a certain Mr Gordon Ramsay teaching Joan Collins how to make an omelette. There was a scary frisson between the two of them, the "bat's squeak of sexuality", as Evelyn Waugh put it so brilliantly in Brideshead. Gordon reckons that if you add salt to the egg mixture it will turn the omelette "a bit grey". I'm definitely not convinced by this- and bet my bottom dollar that in a blind tasting (or indeed viewing) he wouldn't be able to tell the difference.
If you're interested in classic recipes and how to get them just so, may I recommend to you Felicity Cloake's Perfect- 68 Recipes for Every Cook's Repertoire. Ms Cloake writes a column for "The Guardian". The book does exactly what it says on the tin.