The classic Western omelette is a delicious fusion of flavors, combining the richness of eggs with the smoky notes of ham and the sweetness of sautéed onion, and bell peppers. This is an herbal jazzed up version that incorporates the flavors of fresh chives and Italian parsley. You can omit them, of course, but the extra flavor they provide is well worth the effort!
If you have a big day ahead, a hearty omelette will give you a great start. It's also the perfect option for a leisurely weekend brunch!
Table of Contents
The ingredient list is very simple. You can save yourself some time in the morning by prepping everything in advance.
- Large eggs.
- Salt and pepper to taste. Since the ham is salty enough, you really just need a pinch of salt and even less pepper. This omelette already has a ton of flavor!
- Fresh parsley. Curly leaf. This is an optional ingredient to be used as a garnish. Curly leaf parsley has more mild flavor than flat leaf, or Italian, parsley. I strongly recommend sticking to curly leaf parsley. Flat leaf parsley will be to too overpowering.
- Fresh chives. Same comment as above. Dried is fine, but use about half the amount called for in this recipe.
- Diced ham. I like to buy the pre-diced packets that you can often find in the breakfast meats section of the grocery store. It's a bit pricier, but the convenience is worth it if you you're pressed for time like I usually am.
- Bell peppers. Diced. Any color. Green is classic, but for a fun and festive omelette, use red, yellow, orange, and green. Make ahead tip: Dice it the night before and store it in an airtight container in the fridge.
- White onion. Diced. Some may argue with me on this and say that dicing by hand is best, but I love to use my food processor for this purpose. I really, really, really don't like crying over my onions! 😀 Those crazy tricks like chopping under running water don't work for me, so the food processor it is!
- Shredded cheddar cheese. It's worth the effort to buy block cheese and grate it yourself. Pre-grated cheese contains an additive that prevents it from clumping in the bag. Unfortunately, it also prevents it from melting evenly. The food processor comes in handy for this as well!
- Butter. Salted.
See recipe card for quantities.
Here are some substitutions you can consider for the ingredients in this Western omelette:
- Protein Substitutions: Instead of ham, you can use cooked bacon, turkey, chicken, or even vegetarian options like tempeh, tofu, or mushrooms.
- Vegetable Substitutions: If you're not a fan of bell peppers, you can substitute them with other veggies like diced zucchini, mushrooms, or cherry tomatoes. Replace onions with shallots or scallions for a milder flavor.
- Cheese: If you're not a fan of cheese or are lactose intolerant, you can omit the cheese altogether. The omelette will still taste amazing!
- Herb Substitutions: If you prefer different herbs or don't have parsley and chives on hand, you can try using basil, cilantro, thyme, rosemary, or oregano to add a unique flavor to your omelette.
- Spice Substitutions: Customize the flavor by adding spices such as paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, or dried herbs like thyme or rosemary to give your omelette a different dimension.
Remember, substitutions can vary based on dietary restrictions and personal preferences. Don't be afraid to get creative and tailor the recipe to your liking. Enjoy exploring new flavors and textures in your Western omelette!
If you don't mind tinkering with a classic, here are a few variations to try with your Western omelette:
- Southwestern Twist: Add a touch of spice by incorporating diced jalapeños or green chilies into your omelette. Sprinkle a touch of cumin or chili powder for some Southwestern-inspired flavor.
- Cheesy Mushroom: Sauté sliced mushrooms along with the bell peppers and onions for a hearty and earthy twist. Use a combination of cheeses like Swiss and Gruyere to complement the mushroom flavor.
- Smoky and Spicy: Boost the smoky flavor by substituting the diced ham with smoked sausage or chorizo. Add a pinch of smoked paprika or chipotle powder for an extra kick.
- Tex-Mex Fusion: Infuse Tex-Mex flavors by incorporating diced cooked chicken or ground beef seasoned with taco spices like cumin, paprika, and chili powder. Serve it with salsa, guacamole, or sour cream on the side.
- Non-stick Skillet: A medium-sized non-stick skillet is ideal for cooking the omelette. It ensures even heat distribution and prevents the omelette from sticking to the pan.
- Whisk or Fork: You'll need a whisk or fork to beat the eggs and combine them with the milk/cream, salt, and pepper. This helps to incorporate air and create a fluffy texture. A blender on low for a few seconds does a nice job but it may not be worth the trouble to dirty your blender jar for such a simple task.
- Cutting Board and Knife: A cutting board and a sharp knife are essential for dicing the ham, bell peppers, and onions.
- Food Processor: While it's not strictly necessary to make this recipe, it sure does come in handy for finely chopping the onion and grating the cheese!
- Spatula: A spatula, preferably a heat-resistant and non-stick spatula, is useful for gently lifting and folding the omelette during cooking.
- Cheese Grater (Optional): If you're using block cheese, a cheese grater will come in handy for shredding the cheddar cheese. We used our food processor for this task. It gets the job done in no time, but a box grater will work just fine. Pre-shredded cheese is fine in a pinch, but it won't melt as well because it contains an additive that prevents clumping.
- Mixing Bowl (Optional): While not essential, a mixing bowl can be useful for whisking the eggs and other ingredients together before pouring them into the skillet.
- Serving Plate: Finally, have a plate ready to transfer your cooked omelette for serving.
It's best to consume this omelette immediately after cooking it. To save time in the morning, chop the vegetables the night before and store them in a food storage bag in the refrigerator.
Tips and Ideas
- Sautéing Veggies: Sauté the ham and vegetables until they are tender and slightly caramelized. This step enhances their flavor and adds a delightful texture to the omelette.
- Cheese Choice: While cheddar cheese is commonly used in Western omelettes, feel free to experiment with other cheese varieties such as Monterey Jack, Swiss, or a blend of cheeses for different flavor profiles.
- Seasoning: Adjust the amount of salt and pepper according to your preference. Remember that the ham and cheese also contribute to the overall saltiness, so less is more!
- Garnishing: After transferring the omelette to the plate, sprinkle some additional fresh herbs on top for a vibrant presentation and an extra pop of flavor.
- Side Dish Ideas: Serve your herby Western omelette with a side of crispy hash browns, breakfast potatoes, buttered toast, or a fresh salad to create a well-rounded and satisfying meal.
- Personalization: Don't be afraid to customize the recipe to your liking. You can add diced tomatoes, jalapeños for a spicy kick, or even a dollop of sour cream or salsa on top for added zing.
To achieve a fluffy omelette, be sure to whisk the eggs together until well beaten and foamy. A blender on low speed works great. This helps to incorporate air into the mixture. The color of the uncooked eggs should be uniform throughout.
Additionally, when cooking the omelette, gently lift the edges with a spatula and tilt the skillet to allow the uncooked egg to flow underneath, promoting even cooking and a light, fluffy texture.
Cooking time can vary depending on your stove's heat (whether you are using an electric or gas stove) and the thickness of your omelette. The smaller the pan, the thicker the omelette. A thicker omelette will take longer to cook. Generally, it takes about 3-5 minutes to cook on medium heat. Make sure the cheese has melted, and the eggs are fully cooked (165 F or 74 C) before serving.
Absolutely! To make a vegetarian version, simply omit the ham or substitute it with vegetarian-friendly alternatives like mushrooms or plant-based bacon or sausage.
While it's best to enjoy a Western omelette fresh and hot, you can prepare the ingredients ahead of time and store them separately. When ready to serve, assemble and cook the omelette for a quick and convenient breakfast.
It's generally not recommended to freeze cooked eggs as they can become watery and lose their texture upon thawing. It's best to enjoy the Western omelette when it's fresh and hot for the best taste and texture.
Watch How to Make It
- 3 large eggs
- Salt and pepper to taste Just a pinch
- 2 teaspoons Fresh chives Chopped. Divided.
- ¼ cup diced ham
- ¼ cup bell peppers Diced. Any color.
- 3 tablespoons white onion Diced. About ¼ medium onion.
- ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ¼ teaspoon fresh curly leaf parsley Chopped. Used as a garnish. Optional. See Note 1.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of butter or oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.2 tablespoons butter
- Add the diced ham, bell peppers, and onions to the skillet and sauté until the vegetables are tender and the ham is lightly browned, about three minutes.¼ cup diced ham, ¼ cup bell peppers, 3 tablespoons white onion
- Remove the ham and vegetable mixture from the skillet into a bowl and set it aside. Wipe skillet with a paper towel.
- Crack the eggs into a small bowl large enough for whisking. Add salt and pepper (just a pinch!) and ½ of the chopped chives. See Note 2.3 large eggs, Salt and pepper to taste, 2 teaspoons Fresh chives
- In an 8 to 9 inch diameter skillet, add the remaining tablespoon of butter and let it melt over low heat. Tilt the pan to move the melted butter around to evenly distribute it. (You want to have all of that yummy butter throughout!) Pour the beaten egg mixture into the skillet making sure it spreads evenly.
- As the omelette starts to cook, gently lift the edges with a spatula and tilt the skillet to allow the uncooked egg to flow underneath.
- Once the omelette is mostly set but still slightly runny on top, sprinkle the ham and vegetable mixture evenly over one half of the omelette. Top with the shredded cheddar cheese.¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Fold the other half of the omelette over the filling, creating a half-moon shape. Cook for another minute or until the cheese has melted and the omelette is cooked through. Carefully transfer the omelette to a plate and garnish with the rest of the chopped chives and parsley (if using).¼ teaspoon fresh curly leaf parsley
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