Basic Puffy (Souffle) Omelet

INGREDIENTS:4 eggs, separated*
¼ cup water
½ tsp. cream of tartar or lemon juice
¼ tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. butterDIRECTIONS:1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. In large mixing bowl, beat whites with water and cream of tartar at high speed until stiff but not dry, just until whites no longer slip when bowl is tilted.

3. In a small mixing bowl, beat egg yolks with salt at high speed until thick and lemon-colored. Using a rubber spatula, gently, but thoroughly, fold yolks in egg whites. No yellow streaks should remain.

4. In a 7 in.-10 in. omelet pan or skillet with ovenproof handle, heat butter over medium heat until just hot enough to sizzle a drop of water. Pour in egg mixture and gently smooth surface. Reduce heat to medium. Cook until egg mixture is puffed and lightly browned on the bottom, about 5 minutes. (Lift omelet at edge to judge color).

5. Place omelet pan in oven and bake until knife inserted halfway between center and outer edge comes out clean, about 10-12 minutes. Loosen omelet edges with spatula.

6. To serve folded: With a sharp knife, cut upper surface down center of omelet, but do not cut through to bottom of omelet. Fill, if desired. Tip skillet. With spatula, fold omelet in half and invert onto a warmed plate or platter with a quick flip of the wrist. Cut in half.

7. To serve open-faced: Invert pan over warmed plate or platter or slide omelet from pan onto plate. Spoon or sprinkle filling, if desired, over top. Cut in half or into wedges.SERVINGS: