I taught myself how to make French-style omelets during pandemic lockdown, and then mostly forgot about them — to me, they denoted exquisite French cooking a la Jacques Pépin or Daniel Boulud, not something I’d whip up before my 9 to 5 or to curb a case of the munchies.
But then I watched Sydney Adamu (Ayo Edebiri) make a pillowy French omelet topped with chives and crushed-up potato chips for a hangry Natalie “Sugar” Berzatto on the penultimate episode of The Bear. Apart from bringing a decidedly Gen Z energy into the kitchen, Sydney’s dish paid homage to a timeless classic. While Marcus’ savory cannoli tugged at viewers’ heartstrings and the kitchen’s take on “deep dish” resembled something out of a Rei Kawakubo exhibit, I couldn’t stop thinking about that damn omelet. As a lover of custardy eggs and cheesy chips, I knew I had to immediately make one.
The adaptable recipe calls for a handful of ingredients and lets them all shine. I began with three of the freshest eggs I could find and cracked them into a bowl before giving them a thorough whisk. Unlike Sydney, I didn’t strain them (sorry, chef!), a sin for which I will atone on judgment day. I then heated a 10-inch nonstick skillet over low-medium heat and tossed in a tablespoon of butter. When it melted — but before it began to bubble — I poured in my eggs. Using a heat-resistant spatula, I swirled them into a scramble, intermittently shaking the pan in a circular motion to ensure that the eggs didn’t stick to the bottom or brown. I folded one edge of the omelet onto itself, about an inch, and then Googled to double-check how many times to fold a French omelet as fast as I could. The answer? Three.
Next I added a pat of butter to the pan, spreading it to the folded edge of the omelet to help lift it off the pan. I repeated this process two more times. After the first tuck, I exchanged Sydney’s carefully piped line of herb-speckled Boursin for a heaped tablespoon of scallion cream cheese (which was the closest thing I had in my fridge), added it to the center of the omelet, and then folded the edges over it. Upon tucking in the omelet’s final seam, I lightly pushed the omelet to the edge of the pan, which helped seal it. Then I gently tipped the cloud-like mass onto a plate, and swiped the top of it with a butter wrapper.
After that, I grabbed a handful of chips, “the kind with the ridges,” as Sydney tells Carmy. I crushed them directly over the plate, marveling at my creation.
My scallion cream cheese wasn’t the only variation from Sydney’s dish, which also calls for sour cream and onion chips. I also tried the recipe with a pimento cheese filling and jalapeno Kettle chips, chevre and barbecue-flavored chips, ricotta and garlic Parmesan chips, and feta and pickled dill chips. While Boursin eventually emerged as the superior cheese to use, the ridge factor of the potato chips didn’t do much for me — because they’re crushed up, the ridges don’t add that much to the dish. As a Kettle truther, I prefer Kettle-style chips, which are generally thicker and more potato-like — they create a perfect textural contrast with the soft omelet.
All of my experimentation taught me that with a reliable nonstick pan and a little attention to detail, it’s possible to achieve a bouncy French omelet with a sinuous center whenever you feel like it. Could Sydney’s recipe be a gateway for more elaborate creations? Sure. Could it benefit from a blanket of crispy mushrooms or curls of sauteed salami? Sure. Could it be the platonic ideal of a summer lunch, paired with a side of roasted tomatoes and a dirty martini? Definitely. But for now, it’s plenty.
Mehr Singh is a food and culture reporter based in New York. Her work appears in Bon Appétit, Food52, MR Magazine, and other publications.