MAKES 1 ROLL OR 8 TO 10 PIECES

3 jumbo or 4 extra-large eggs
3 tablespoons Basic Sea Stock
1 tablespoon saké
2 teaspoons sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
Vegetable oil for seasoning pan
1-or 2-inch chunk daikon, about 2 ounces, peeled and grated to yield about ¼ cup (optional)
1 teaspoon soy sauce

Rolled Omelet, Tokyo Style
Atsu Tamago Yaki

(Reprinted with permission from the author) from Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen by Elizabeth Andoh (Ten Speed Press, 2005)

The Tokyo thick rolled omelet is robustly flavored, though rather sweet. Some cooks finish it with a caramelized outer surface, When it is served as part of a larger meal, in lieu of a grilled fish or a piece of meat, a mound of grated daikon, drizzled with soy sauce, helps tone down the sweetness.

Break the eggs into a bowl and remove the white squiggly clumps (called chalazae) that often cling to the yolk; if these are left intact, they make unattractive white streaks in an otherwise smooth, yellow sheet. Season the eggs with the stock, saké, sugar, and salt. Stir to mix thoroughly, but try not to incorporate air as you do so. Strain the mixture through a fine-meshed strainer. You should have a generous cup of the egg mixture.
A rectangular or square Japanese omelet pan will make it easier for you to produce thick rolled omelets than a small, round pan (5 or 6 inches in diameter) will, but I have provided instructions for the latter as well. With either shape, a pan with a nonstick surface will help you control the degree to which the omelet caramelizes.

Heat the pan over medium heat, and then season it with a thin film of oil: Use long cooking chopsticks to grasp an oiled wad of paper towel and brush the entire surface of the pan with it. Pay special attention to the corners. Alternatively, use a pastry brush to apply the oil.

Test the temperature of the pan by dipping the point of a cooking chopstick or the tines of a fork into the egg mixture and then touching the surface of the pan. Ideally, as the egg-dipped tip touches the hot pan, the egg will jump up and stick to the chopstick or fork, coming cleanly away from the pan. If the egg sticks to the pan, you need to heat the pan longer; if the egg browns, the pan is too hot and you need to remove it from the heat and let it cool slightly.

When the pan is ready, gently pour a scant ¼ cup of the egg mixture for the first layer, adding it in a steady flow. With smooth wrist motions, swirl the egg mixture to coat the surface of the pan evenly. Keep the egg mixture in motion, using repeated wrist action, until it no longer flows. Cook the egg for about 45 seconds, or until the edges dry a bit. Remove the pan from the heat and let the egg sheet continue to cook by retained heat for another 20 to 30 seconds before beginning to roll it up.

If you are using a rectangular or square pan, start at the back of the pan, flipping and rolling the egg mass forward. The Japanese use chopsticks to accomplish this, but a heat-resistant or flexible metal spatula also works well. After rolling the mass forward, swab or brush the back of the pan lightly with oil and then push the rolled egg to the back of your pan. Swab or brush the front of the pan lightly with oil.

To make the second layer, pour a scant ¼ cup of the egg mixture into the pan, adding it gently but all at once. Lift the rolled egg at the back of the pan to allow the fresh egg mixture to cover the front surface of the pan evenly. Keep the pan over medium heat until the edges dry a bit. Remove the pan from the heat, roll the egg mass to the front of the pan, and let it cook by retained heat for another 20 to 30 seconds. After rolling the mass forward, swab or brush the back of the pan lightly with the oil and then push the rolled egg to the back of the pan. Swab or brush the front of the pan lightly with oil. Repeat, making 3 or 4 more layers, until the egg mixture is used up.

If you are using a round pan, begin to make the roll by flipping in the sides of the first layer of the egg, both right and left, toward the center to create straight edges; the side flaps should be about ¼ to ½ inch wide. Using chopsticks or a spatula, roll the egg mass forward over these flaps. Swab or brush the back of the pan lightly with oil before pushing the rolled egg to the back of your pan. Swab or brush the front of the pan lightly with oil.

Continue to make several more layers, each using a scant ¼ cup of the egg mixture added gently but all at once to the pan. After each addition, lift the rolled egg mass to allow the fresh egg mixture to flow under it. With each layer, fold the sides, both right and left, toward the center to create straight side edges. If the egg mixture in the center becomes very loose, remove the pan from the heat and let the omelet cook by retained heat for another 20 to 30 seconds.

Whether using a square or round pan, carefully shape the final layer to make an even roll. If your omelet pan has a sloped edge on the far side, hold the rolled omelet against it for several moments to finish off the edge. In Tokyo, this outer surface is intentionally caramelized in spots. Flip the finished omelet out on to your cutting board or a flat plate.

If you want to create ridges on the surface of your omelet, transfer it while still warm to a sudare mat. Place the omelet across the mat, parallel to the slats, and at the center. Fold the edges of the mat over the omelet to enclose it. Flip, so that the seam of the mat now lies flat on your board. Place a small cutting board or plate on top of the mat to exert gentle pressure until the omelet has cooled. When you peel back the mat, ridges will have formed on the omelet.

If you are slicing the omelet without shaping it further, let it cool slightly before slicing it to avoid tearing. If you have made a roll or block that is more than 2 inches wide, slice it in half lengthwise before cutting crosswise 3 or 4 times to create 8 or 10 slices. If you have made a roll or block less than 2 inches wide, cut it crosswise into 8 or 10 slices.

In Japan, omelets such as these are typically served at room temperature, though you may prefer to serve them piping hot or chilled. A single portion is typically 2 pieces, unless the omelet is served as a main course, in which case it makes 2 servings of 5 pieces each. When the omelet is served as a main course, a mound of grated daikon, drizzled with soy sauce, is placed to the right of the omelet. Spread a bit of the grated radish on each slice as you eat.

The store the omelets, cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 4 days.