Beat the eggs: Soak 3 large eggs for 5 minutes in hot-not scalding-tap water. This will ensure that the omelet cooks faster, and the faster an omelet cooks, the more tender it's going to be. Crack the eggs into a small bowl or large bowl-shaped coffee mug. Season with a pinch of fine salt. Beat the eggs gently with a fork.
TIP: I prefer a fork to a whisk for omelets because I don't want to work air into the eggs: Air bubbles are insulators and can slow down cooking if you're not careful.
Heat the pan: Heat a 10-inch nonstick saute pan over medium to high heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon room-temperature unsalted butter. Once melted, spread the butter around the pan with a basting brush to ensure coverage.
TIP: Heat your pan empty for a few minutes before adding the butter: Even a nonstick surface is pocked with microscopic pores that eggs can fill and grab hold of. Heat expands the metal, squeezing these openings shut.
Add the eggs: Pour the eggs into the center of the pan and stir vigorously with a silicone spatula for 5 seconds. (Actually, it's not so much a matter of stirring with the spatula as holding the spatula relatively still and moving the pan around to stir the eggs.)
Let them cook: As soon as curds begin to form (that's the stuff that looks like scrambled eggs), lift the pan and tilt it around until the excess liquid pours off the top of the curds and into the pan. Then use the spatula to shape the edge and make sure the omelet isn't sticking. Move the spatula around the edge of the egg mixture to help shape it into a round and loosen the edge. Then walk away. That's right-let that omelet sit unaccosted for 10 long seconds so it can develop a proper outer crust. Don't worry: Your patience will be rewarded.
Finish the omelet: Time for the "jiggle" step: Simply shake the pan gently to make sure the omelet is indeed free of the pan. Lift up the far edge of the pan and snap it back toward you. Then use the spatula to fold over the one-third facing you.
Change your grip on the pan handle from an overhand to an underhand and move to the plate, which you might want to lube with just a brief brushing of butter to make sure things don't bind up in transit. Slide the one-third farthest from you onto the plate and then ease the fold over. Imagine that you're making a tri-fold wallet out of eggs-because that's exactly what you're doing. And just ease the pan over. There, that wasn't so hard.
Photograph by David Malosh
Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown from Good Eats: The Middle Years Copyright 2010 by Alton Brown for Food Network Magazine