Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Guardian Service Omelet for the "Duplex Utility" Pan

NOTE: This was our first ever post on cooking an omelet with the Duplex Utility Pan and we were still in the "discovery and experimentation" stage. For a revised and refine method, skip to our second blog post on preparing a Guardian Service omelet.

Hinged pans predate the "Guardian Service Duplex Utility Pan" (the predecessor "Silver Seal" brand, also made by the Century Metalcraft Corporation, included a hinged pan). But the original leaflet introduces it as "A New Star in the Century Family!" Maybe it was a later add–on to the Guardian Service line, released closer to the time the plant burned down and the company absorbed by Presto Industries. (Readers with insider history, please chime in with comments!)

While I most often see this item described as an omelet pan or fish poacher, the pan is designed to be a quick preparation pan with multiple functions:
"A handy unit with a score or more wonderful uses... that's the DUPLEX UTILITY PAN. It fries omelets, liver and bacon and chopped steak. It bakes man-pleasin' meat loaf, loaf cake, quick breads and hot biscuits top-stove without an oven. it's your first aid for "dolling up" left–overs... for preparing "quickie" meals in a jiffy with canned foods. It prepares two foods at the same time over a single burner so it's a fuel saver. And, there's only one unit to wash!"
We admit that preparing omelets in this pan remains a bit of a mystery (UPDATE*). Part of the trouble may be our range's burner size (there's no position that allows us to heat both sides of this pan on one burner, so cooking or warming the unit while open requires constant monitoring and maneuvering).

I started with the omelet recipe from the original Duplex Pan leaflet and met with disastrous results. The pan may not have been hot enough (though I did wait until the butter began to brown):

Plain Omelet
4 eggs
4 Tbsp. cold water
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. butter

Add water to eggs and beat until light. Add seasonings. Melt butter in Duplex Pan over "medium"
 heat. When it starts to brown, pour the egg mixture into one side only. When edges brown, close pan gently and reverse. Open at once and complete browning (For variety, add 1 cup chopped vegetables—asparagus, peas, ham, bacon, etc.).

We've tried several different methods with this pan (and ours is still a work in progress) but here's one that usually proves successful:

Guardian Service Cheese Omelet
4 eggs
4 Tbsp water (or half and half, sour cream, cottage cheese)
1 Tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste
Filling (leftovers, veggies, cheeses, cold cuts, smoked fish, dips or spreads... the possibilities are endless. Raid the fridge and pantry for that bit of leftover something).

Butter both sides of the Duplex Pan. Warm the open unit, alternating sides over a medium flame, until the butter begins to brown. Pour half the egg mixture into each side of the unit and continue to cook over medium heat, alternating each side until the edges begin to crisp (the aluminum retains heat well enough that both sides continue to cook, but alternate ever 30 secs or so to keep both sides working).

Add the filling (pictured: peppered bacon, chevre and chopped Kalamata olives). Run a spatula along the outside edge of the omelet to discourage it from sticking and then, in one quick motion, close the unit. Cook for 1-2, flip the unit and continue to cook for 1 minute, then open (scraping off whatever bits may have stuck), turn onto platter, et voilà: Omelette du Chevre, Bacon et des Olives (pictured with salad burnett garnish).

We're going to keep at this until we find a fool-proof method, so look for future postings...

*UPDATE: I adapted my omelet technique this morning with improved results.  Heat seems to be the key for eggs in this pan; the pan should be hot enough for cold water to reach the "ball" stage (see below). If properly heated the butter will brown in seconds and the omelet will release from the pan just as easily as from the non-stick teflon variety—but it may take some practice.

1) Heat one half of the Duplex Utility pan over a medium heat until it passes the "water test" (I wrote about this test on the Griddle/Broiler in previous posts here and here--when hot enough, water droplets will retain a ball shape and "dash about like mad").
2) Add a Tbsp. butter and evenly coat the pan, working quickly so the butter browns but doesn't burn. Add egg/water mixture and heat until edges brown and pull away from the pan's edges.
3) Now: shift the pan and heat the empty side of the pan as you did the first, adding butter to coat the surface. In one quick, gentle motion, close the pan and flip it. Open at once and finish browning.

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