This past March, we had to make about 360 omelets to serve during our weeklong launch of Modernist Cuisine in New York City. We made all of them ahead of time at The Cooking Lab, in a single 19-hour day. In six of those hours, we churned out more than 300 omelet “skins.” Ive never been as delirious as I was then…that’s a lot of omelets!
To be certain the omelets would keep well during the trip, we ran perishability tests in advance on all of the components, and we then used the test results to time our production carefully. You don’t want to be guessing when you’re carrying a whole bunch of vacuum-sealed eggs across the country! We found that the omelets and the scrambled egg foam keep pretty well for two to three days, but they really are best after no more than one day. After four or five days, the eggs start to get sticky. Nobody wants four-day-old eggs.
Needless to say, you need a lot of eggs to make 30 dozen omelets. Its always fun to see the expressions on store clerks faces when we buy a lot of one thing: in this case, four cases of eggs at Whole Foods. That’s not unusual for us. When we prep for events, well often buy 20 pounds of pig skin or all of the beef fat that the butcher trims in the morning. Restaurants typically use purveyors, who deliver large amounts of various products right to their door. When we show up at suburban supermarkets, they just never know what hit them.
Johnny Zhu, Development Chef
Tips and Substitutions:
- Try substituting truffle concentrate (see page 2·427) for the mushroom puree.
- Stripes of mushroom puree are visually stunning, but skipping the stripes altogether saves nearly an hour of prep time. Omitting the stripes does not detract from the remarkable texture, which is what makes this omelet truly special.
- If you don’t own a combi oven, you can cook the omelet in a nonstick pan, covered with a tight-fitting lid, in a hot oven. If you are making the striped version, the nonstick coating on the pan is not likely to be sufficient, so line the pan with sheet of nonstick material, such as a silicone mat, magic paper, or even wax paper. A silicone mat shaped in a circle the same circumference as the pan is ideal.
- The Omelet Base recipe calls for 145 g of eggs, which equals about three eggs; the 12 g of egg yolk is about one egg yolk.
- Pour the egg base over the stripes with a spatula in order to disperse the liquid gently without disrupting the mushroom stripes.
- To make the mushroom marmalade, saute 80 g of mushrooms, 60 g of shallots, and 30 g of clarified butter over low heat until the liquid has evaporated, about 25 minutes. Add 20 g of brown chicken jus, and then season to taste with salt and pepper. Finely mince 2 g each of fresh chervil, chives, and parsley, and 1 g of tarragon, and then stir the herbs into the marmalade. The marmalade keeps in the refrigerator for several weeks. It goes great with a variety of foods, so you might want to make a big batch!
- If you don’t have any brown chicken jus on hand, or if you want to make a vegetarian version, substitute some soy sauce and a little bit of honey. This combination creates the same intense umami flavor as the jus does.
- If you don’t want to use the mushroom marmalade, simply sauté some mushrooms to your liking and serve those as an accompaniment.
- You can cook the omelet base and the scrambled egg foam a day ahead of time. We cooked the eggs in advance and then heated them ever so gently back up to 55 °C, where we held them for two hours to pasteurize them. At that point, you can just load them back up and siphon them out.
- Add a sprinkling of chopped fine herbs to the omelet before rolling it up.
- Brush the plated omelet with a little bit of clarified butter just before serving.