Welcome to L.A. Week on First We Feast. As part of our continuing initiative to devote more coverage to Los Angeles, we’ll be running special features all week to explore the city’s ever-evolving food scene—from its most vaunted chefs, to its gritty underbelly.
Chef Ludovic Lefebvre never thought his restaurant Petit Trois would become renowned for something as simple as an omelette. “When we opened Petit Trois last summer, if someone told me we would be successful for an omelette, I’d tell them they were crazy,” he says. Yet the no-frills, Boursin cheese-filled egg dish has become the chef’s signature dish, and Angelenos have become French-omelette obsessed.
What’s Ludo’s trick? He’s got a few. “An omelette for me is about texture, so I like to fill it with just cheese or ham—something very soft. I will not put red pepper [in it]. There’s a time and a place for Southwestern omelets, don’t get me wrong, but what we’re making here is a very classic French omelette.” For the filling, Ludo uses creamy Boursin cheese, which he calls the “French Velveeta.”
Tip number two: Don’t cook your omelette too quickly. “Make sure to be gentle and to take your time, especially in the beginning,” says Lefebvre. “Make sure your heat is not too strong. It’s better to go slowly, and to be patient.”
And even with something as basic as an omelette, ingredients matter. “You must use fresh eggs,” explains the chef. “And when I say fresh eggs, I mean from the farm. You don’t want to get eggs with a watery egg white. You want an egg with orange yolk and thick egg white.” Besides that, secure some high-quality, unsalted butter (treat yo’ self), a good nonstick pan, and a rubber spatula.
“The omelette is like sushi. You know, it’s very simple, but it’s all about technique.” But at the end of the day, Lefebvre reminds us, “It’s just an omelette guys, okay?” In other words, relax and have fun.
How to Make a French Omelette at Home
- 3 fresh eggs
- Pinch of fleur de sel
- Pinch of white pepper
- Unsalted butter
- Black pepper Boursin cheese
- Chives, chopped
1. Crack three eggs into a bowl. Using a whisk or fork to beat the eggs. Lefebvre notes, “Some people use a whisk, some people use a fork. Grandmas use forks, but I use a whisk.”
He explains that you want to beat the eggs until the yolk is thoroughly mixed with the white, which will take “a good one minute.” When you cook the omelette, you don’t want to see little pieces of egg white—which will happen if you don’t beat the eggs enough.
2. Add a pinch of salt and touch of white pepper to the eggs. Whisk to incorporate.
A note on pepper: “No black pepper,” says Lefebvre. “I don’t want to take away from the omelette, and I think black pepper is too strong. Black pepper is good for steak, not for eggs. Use white pepper. Voila.”
3. Heat a 9-inch nonstick pan over medium-low heat. (Make sure your pan is clean before you begin.) If you can hold your hand directly above the skillet and your palm feels warm, your pan is ready.
4. Drop a heaping tablespoon of unsalted butter into the pan.
If your heat is at the right temperature, your butter will start to foam slightly, but no coloration will occur. You don’t want to end up with brown butter.
5. Pour your eggs into the pan. “If the pan is too hot, your eggs are going to cook right away, and that’s no good,” says Lefebvre.
A note on taking your time, and cooking the omelette gently: “It’s like when you cook a steak. It’s better to cook the steak less, and then you can fix it,” explains Lefebvre. “If you cook it too much, there’s nothing you can do. Same thing with the eggs.”
6. Now, this part is just like making scrambled eggs. Stir the eggs quickly with a rubber spatula while shaking the pan back and forth. Curds will begin to form.
Keep your eggs moving to prevent coloration. The eggs towards the sides of the pan will cook more quickly, so scrape them down from the sides and fold them in towards the middle, shaking the pan to make sure they cover the entire surface of the skillet.
7. Once the eggs are set but still a little liquid on the top, you’re ready for the filling. Give the pan a little shake to smooth the bottom of the omelette.
8. Run the spatula along the sides of the omelette to loosen the eggs from the skillet.
Here’s what you’re looking for with the eggs: See how they’re cooked, but still a little bit soft and runny on top?
9. Squeeze Boursin cheese down the center third of the omelette. Don’t have a piping bag? Make one out of a Zip Lock bag.
10. Place a little piece of butter next to the omelette before you roll it—this will make it pretty and shiny on the outside.
11. Place the spatula under the right side of the eggs, and begin to roll the omelette gently towards the opposite side of the pan.
12. Grab the handle of the pan with one hand (grab it from underneath, so your wrist is facing up), and hold a plate with your other hand. Tilt the skillet and let the omelette roll onto the plate.
13. Sprinkle with chives, et voila.
Go see Ludo (along with other internationally-renowned chefs) at the second annual All-Star Chef Classic on March 11-14 at L.A. LIVE. Tickets to the four-day culinary event are available here.