whole food ~ well made

The Omelet Project–Free From Nonstick

A plain omelet that rolled right out of the pan proved that a simple seasoning technique is worth its salt.

There is nothing I enjoy quite so much as when someone cooks for me.

It doesn’t happen very often, so the pleasures are great no matter what is served–a simple soup, some pasta or beans and rice. But, when I am hosted with largesse and graciousness as I was last night at Mellie & Tim’s, then I’m over the moon.

I also can get carried away and eat and drink a little too much. Oh, that Cuban pork and macaroni and cheese and all that imported wine was so very good! Today, I needed to institute some austerity measures to fully recover.

All day I couldn’t stomach much more than green tea. But by 4 o’clock, I felt in need of some sustenance, something wholesome and gentle on the system. Ah yes, the perfect day to test-drive my new omelet pan.

After many shopping trips to the Internet (time consuming but it sure does save a lot of gas), I ended up clicking the “buy” button for a black steel French omelet pan from Matfer that cost only $30.

When I hefted the long-handled 8 5/8 incher from the box late last week, I felt good about my decision. Some of the other pans I had considered were not as solid as this, and I knew that I wanted one that would heat evenly and insulate the delicate egg from the flames.

The first challenge was removing the label adhesive from the cooking surface and trying to interpret the seasoning instructions, which were a garbled translation. (Perhaps you only thought that happened on products manufactured in Taiwan and China.) They involved frying a potato in oil and salt and then throwing it all out.

I didn’t know what magic the fried potato might have for seasoning my new pan. But instead of trying it out, I employed the technique I use to scrub my cast-iron pans when they’re really messy and in need of a tune-up.

I heated the omelet pan on the burner on medium high and added a good quantity of canola oil–nearly 3 tablespoons. Then, I dumped in nearly 1/4 cup of salt. It was a bit excessive, but I wanted to make sure that I could get all traces of the adhesive off the pan and rid it of anything the egg could stick to.

Once the oil and salt were hot, I removed the pan from the flame and used a papertowel to rub the salt all around. (My own body could have used such an invigorating warm sea salt scrub!) The pan gleamed and appeared willing to receive some beaten egg.

Still quite warm, this cheap French-made pan was very kind to those two beaten eggs. It sizzled when I poured them in and let them swirl around the pan freely before gently setting them without any browning on the bottom. It practically escorted the omelet onto the plate and held nothing back.

Voila: a cooked omelet and a clean pan sans nonstick. It was just like a dream.

So before each and every use, I will repeat the hot oil and salt technique, one that can be applied to any non-non-stick pan for similar results–but I’ll be more judicious in the quantities next time. And, unless absolutely necessary, I’ll keep it away from any dishsoap.

I enjoyed that plain omelet sprinkled with some sel gris and a salad dressed with pesto vinaigrette in the early spring sunshine on the back deck. It was quite restorative and satisfying and readied me for the many omelet-making techniques I’m going to try and report on in future posts.

All that was missing, I thought, was a nice glass of wine.


  1. Jane

    And did you also try the crepe pan from Wms Sonoma? Which should I get? Both? Make both omelets and crepes? Did you realize someone was paying close attention to your omelet experiment and is hanging on your every culinary word?

  2. Lynne

    I did try to buy the crepe pan, but in the course of the purchase I experienced transaction/connectivity problems and never got back to it. In the meantime, I got this omelet pan, which I love and think will work *great* for crepes, too. I'm making socca (chickpea crepes) tonight and will let you know how it goes.

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