From Season 10: Best Weekend Breakfast
What’s the best pan for making an omelet? Most brands of cookware offer an 8-inch nonstick “omelet” pan, but these are usually just smaller versions of their full-size skillets, with upright sides that make it difficult to turn and roll out a perfect omelet. Traditionally, a French omelet is made in a shallow, curved pan of black steel, which becomes seasoned and increasingly nonstick over time. We began our search by testing a black steel pan, which heated quickly and held its high temperature, turning out two-egg omelets with precision. Unfortunately, this pan didn’t work with our French Omelet recipe, which calls for a tight lid to help cook the eggs through—the pan’s sharply sloping handle made it impossible for lids to fit. Another disadvantage: Black steel pans can never be washed with soap and must be dried completely or they lose the surface seasoning that makes them nonstick.
We also tested a pan made specifically for French omelets, created in 1963 when Julia Child asked The Pot Shop of Boston to design it, and where it is still sold today. Well-constructed of thick, heavy-cast aluminum, which maintains consistent heat, the curving shape and gently sloped sides are ideal for omelets. Time and again it produced flawless omelets that were perfectly golden with a creamy center, but the high price tag is a major drawback.
When developing our French Omelet recipe, we used the 8-inch version of our favorite nonstick skillet, whose stainless steel with an aluminum core produced steady, even heat, and its gently curving sides worked well for rolling out omelets, but again, the hefty price tag of $90 made us question whether we should revisit cheaper brands.
After testing three nonstick 8-inch pans (all under $25), we found that one of them—a gently curved model made of hard-anodized aluminum—came closest to replicating the performance of the pricier pans. It was thinner than the high-end pans, making it heat more quickly, but still was able to produce perfect French omelets—at a bargain price.
Victorinox (formerly Victorinox Forschner) 6-inch Straight Boning Knife: Flexible
The nonslip grip and narrow, straight blade let testers remove the smallest bones with precision and complete comfort. Perfectly balanced with enough flexibility to maneuver around tight joints. The low price was a bonus.
|★ ★ ★||★ ★ ★||$19.95|
Wüsthof Classic Boning Knife
Hefty in weight, this knife was a solid performer when removing poultry bones, and the handle was easy to grip, even when covered in chicken fat. Piercing silver skin was a challenge since the tip wasnt sharp enough and the long narrow blade produced slightly jagged cuts.
|★ ★||★ ★ ★||$99.95|
|Recommended with Reservations|
Mundial Boning Knife: Flexible
The sharp tip performed well when removing silver skin, but it was too flexible when maneuvering around poultry joints, leaving testers feeling a lack of control. The heavy handle was slightly unbalanced and became slippery once covered in poultry fat.
|★ ★||★ ★||$19.95|
Shun Gokujo Filet Knife
Designed to replicate a samurai blade, this expensive knife was a disappointment. It struggled to pierce the silver skin, although long cuts were smooth and even. Minimal flexibility and extreme curve got in the way when maneuvering around joints. The smooth handle was hard to grip and slippery.
MAC Boning KnifeChef Series
The large, cumbersome handle reminded testers of an outdoors knife for fishing and hunting. The blade was too wide to maneuver around joints and it struggled to pierce silver skin. Unlike other knives, this boning knife could only slice in one direction, making intricate cuts around joints difficult.
Messermeister San Moritz Elite Flexible Boning Knife
The blade was so flexible it led to erratic cuttings; testers said the knife was hard to control. The blade was not sturdy enough to maneuver around joints and the lightweight handle felt flimsy and unbalanced.