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Let's face it — even for those of us who truly love to cook, there are those days when we would just rather not. It's an unfortunate situation, to be sure, particularly when duty calls and we have to come up with something that looks like a decent meal. At those times even deciding what to cook can be a challenge, and when it happens to me, on that rare occasion, I head for the fridge and grab a carton of eggs.
Like butter, eggs are a perishable staple that should always be on hand. Scrambled, fried, poached or boiled, nature's most perfect food offers endless possibilities. How about an omelet for one of those lazy days? You have a choice of three distinct types: namely, an American omelet, in which the filling is mixed with the eggs, has some wrinkles and is lightly browned; a classic French omelet, where the filling is added after the eggs are set, has no wrinkles and is not browned; or an Italian Frittata, which differs from the other two in three significant ways:
- American and French omelets are cooked very quickly over moderate high heat whereas a frittata is cooked very slowly over very low heat.
- American and French omelets should be moist and creamy, though not runny, whereas a frittata is well set and firm, but certainly not dry.
- American omelets are folded in half and French omelets are rolled or folded into a tapered cigar-like shape whereas a frittata is flat and perfectly round.
- A well-made frittata, accompanied by a simple salad, is perfect for lunch or a light supper, or even for snacking. And it's just as good served at room temperature as it is right out of the pan. An endless number of fillings can be included, such as cheese, ham, cooked vegetables, and various herbs. Search your fridge; there's bound to be some leftovers to incorporate in your frittata.
- But remember: no matter what filling you choose, it's all about the technique, which will always remain the same. Here's how to do it.