I think I’m the only person I know that not only doesn’t gripe when a sushi chef includes tamagoyaki (a thinly layered Japanese sweet omelette) in a selection. I actually order the stuff. Lately, I’ve been enjoying cooking my eggs this way – I really like the texture it creates. OK, so it it may not be tamagoyaki in the true sense of the word, but it’s still made the same way.
Tamagoyaki with tomato and smoked salt
Plus, it’s a hell of a lot easier than making a proper French omelette – you don’t need all of the butter, excessive beating of the eggs or the constant jiggling of the pan and fretting over the heat (maybe I just suck at it).
In my opinion (the only one that matters here), the secret to making good tamagoyaki is in creating as many thin layers of egg as possible. You don’t need a special square pan – any non-stick pan will do. And you don’t have to season it with sugar, mirin and soy (but it’s really good if you do. Sometimes I’ll brush the layers with kecap manis – Indonesian sweet soy sauce). Most of the time I simply beat the eggs with a bit of salt and pepper.
Pre-heat the pan over medium heat, and add just a small amount of butter or oil. Then, wipe the pan with a paper towel to remove all but a thin film of the fat. Next is the easy part – just pour in a small amount of the beaten egg (better too little than too much – you can always add more) and swirl around the pan until you have created what is essentially, a paper thin crêpe. The egg will cook quickly. Before it becomes brown and crunchy on the bottom, simply fold it onto itself (thirds or fourths) and slide it back to the far side of the pan. Repeat until you run out of egg. After folding, you can wipe the pan with the paper towel to add a bit more fat to the pan if you feel it’s necessary. I obviously got all Denny’s on this one and folded in some paper thin tomato – but I think the addition of coarse smoked salt negated that factor…
(Sorry about the poor picture quality – it’s hard to cook and hold a Blackberry over the stove before you’ve had your coffee in the morning…)