French for pancake, crepes resemble very thin versions of their American namesake; omelets are simply eggs cooked in butter or oil in a flat pan until they are set and are served either flat or folded.
Although crepes and omelets are both eggy concoctions that have similar tastes and textures, the amount of flour they contain makes them different. The ratios of eggs to flour to milk change with each crepe recipe, and the ratio of eggs to milk or cream changes with omelets.
For a breakfast or brunch treat somewhere between crepes and omelets in terms of eggs and flour, try a Dutch baby, which looks like a puffy crepe, contains both milk and flour in addition to eggs and tastes eggy like an omelet.
Omelets never contain flour, an ingredient that crepes have in greater and lesser amounts. Chef Seen Lippert's recipe at the <atarget="_blank" href="http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/herbed-egg-crepes-filled-with-smoked-salmon"> </atarget="_blank">Food and Wine website eliminates flour altogether, yet still calls the creation a crepe. The ratio of flour to eggs in other crepes varies depending on what recipe you consult:
All crepes need liquid, in combinations of milk, water or cream, to achieve the runny consistency that allows them to spread out in a pan. A typical recipe contains 1 cup of milk and 1/2 cup of flour for every two eggs.
Omelets, on the other hand, don't need any liquid; they may contain any ingredients beyond the eggs themselves and butter or oil for cooking:
- Iconic cookbook author and celebrity Julia Child uses only eggs in her omelet recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
- The Fine Cooking website explains that 2 or 3 teaspoons of water, milk or cream make omelets fluffy but that the effect is not always noticeable.
- Bon Appetite food writer Danielle Walsh advises that you never use liquid when you make an omelet.
Effective crepe-making is much like making successful omelets, according to Child and Jacques Pepin, authors of Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home. They recommend quick swirling movements with a nonstick pan for either dish.