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The Denver Omelet

Perfecting this Western breakfast.

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The origins of the beloved Denver omelet may be a bit of a mystery, but the mixture of ham, eggs, peppers, and cheese conjures up images of chuck wagon cooks. Curtis Lincoln, executive sous chef in charge of Ellyngton’s at the Brown Palace, dishes on perfecting this Western breakfast.

Steel omelet pan Stainless steel cooks a lot faster than Teflon.

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Eggs Light fluffy omelets require an infusion of air into the eggs. Whisk with a fork or use a blender.

Ham Though Lincoln uses medium-cured ham, cowboys may have included heavily cured ham, which was easy to take on long trips.

Rubber spatula Employ this versatile tool to move the eggs around as well as sauté the veggies. Red onions Cook onions until they’re soft, as their consistency is a little less obtrusive on the palate that way.

Cheese Grate both white and yellow cheddar. Don’t grate too finely—it causes the cheese to stick together and makes for a lumpy omelet.

Clarified butter The high smoke point of clarified butter makes it ideal for sautéing peppers, ham, and onions.

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Mixed bell peppers Go easy on the boldly flavored green peppers and opt for more of the red, yellow, or orange, which are sweeter.

Denver Omelet

Whip eggs briskly until completely homogeneous, season with salt and pepper, and set aside. Cook the ham, peppers, and onion in half of the clarified butter in a small sauté pan and set aside. In an omelet pan, heat the rest of the clarified butter until just smoking. Pour whipped eggs into the omelet pan. Gently move the eggs around in the omelet pan with a rubber spatula, scraping the eggs from the side so as not to brown. When the eggs are still wet, but just beginning to set, place all of the omelet fillings (with grated cheese on top) in a line in the center of the omelet. Place the pan in a hot oven, under the broiler, or cover with another pan to melt the cheese. Gently fold the omelet onto a plate and serve.

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