The Good Egg

FullSizeRender_4 (2)I may not have left home with a full culinary arsenal, being the youngest of five girls, but I knew how to make a good cake, an array of cookies, a pot of steamed rice, and eggs. Scrambled eggs to be exact. Perfect scrambled eggs to be even more precise. I would actually consider myself a scrambled egg snob. I have so rarely liked scrambled eggs when dining out, I gave up ordering years ago. Once in a blue moon, I will be tempted and snatch a bite off of someone else’s plate, but am always disappointed. What seems to be such a simple task, seems to allude most short-order cooks. What gives? More…

I may not have left home with a full culinary arsenal, being the youngest of five girls, but I knew how to make a good cake, an array of cookies, a pot of steamed rice, and eggs. Scrambled eggs to be exact. Perfect scrambled eggs to be even more precise. I would actually consider myself a scrambled egg snob. I have so rarely liked scrambled eggs when dining out, I gave up ordering years ago. Once in a blue moon, I will be tempted and snatch a bite off of someone else’s plate, but am always disappointed. What seems to be such a simple task, seems to allude most short-order cooks. What gives?

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Well it turns out that there are several issues; and while many are not in the hands of the cook, one is. But I will get back to that in a bit. As strange as it may seem, I am going to show you how I create perfect scrambled eggs; and while a recipe for this morning glory may seem obvious, it really takes a deft hand and quality ingredients to get egg’cellent results.

So let’s begin…with your egg supplier. Mine happen to live in my backyard and as long as I treat them well, feed them a good diet of organic feed and veg scraps, and allow them to free range as often as possible, they supply me with fresh, creamy eggs that have beautifully orange yolks.

Our girls: Winifred, Jane Erye, Daphne, Samwise Gamgee and George.

Our girls: Winifred, Jane Erye, Daphne, Samwise Gamgee and George.

So once you have a lead on a good source for your eggs and are ready to begin, its a matter of respecting the ingredient at that point. Only allowing all that comes in contact with your eggs to be as good in quality–from the pan you use to the salt you season with.

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To start, heat your pan over low heat; this is one of the keys to creamy eggs. If you cook your eggs over high heat, the result will be rubbery eggs. So low and slow are your best bet for soft eggs, but also remember that the pan you use will also have an effect how your eggs turn out. A good-quality teflon pan is the best bet here; hands down. If your eggs stick to the pan, you will get an off texture and/or dry flaky eggs. I take this a bit farther by having a specific pan that is only used to make eggs to ensure the non-stick finish stays intact as long as possible. Once the pan is up to temp, add your butter. Personally, I use salted butter. I know that most would say to use unsalted butter so that you can control the sodium level, but by this point in my life, I know how much salt is in there and season my eggs with salt accordingly. I recommend Kerrygold butter, but any good quality grass-fed butter will do.

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As the butter is melting, I whisk the egg whites and yolks with a fork until completely incorporated with each other and one uniform consistency. Be sure to not over-whisk either or there will be too much air in your eggs which could result in less creamy eggs. Again, both are key to the final texture. Once the butter is melted and the eggs whisked, add a pinch of stellar sea salt, stir, and pour the egg mixture into the pan. Now walk over to the sink and rinse out the bowl. By the time you get back to the pan, the eggs are probably ready for you to start stirring.

Stir the eggs with a rubber spatula, incorporating the butter while moving the egg mixture around to cook. Be sure to scrap the sides as well as the bottom of the pan. Slowly, the eggs will coagulate and firm up. If it is happening quickly, the pan is at too high of a temperature. This is normally where the cook at your local greasy spoon fails; the eggs are cooked too quickly in an effort to get the meals out quickly. But we don’t have to hurry this process, just lower your heat and lift the pan to cool it down before ruining the eggs.  When you can scrap the bottom of the pan and the mixture does not come back together quickly, it is time to start thinking about flipping the eggs.

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Once you have flipped the eggs, in sections or all at once, it is time to start breaking up the eggs into smaller parts. At this point, I also turn the heat off and allow the eggs to cook via a more gentle residual heat. I then transfer to a plate, sprinkle with a bit of finishing salt, and freshly ground pepper. And on those days when I want to change it up a bit, I garnish with fresh tarragon or thyme, or dried fine herbs.

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The result is a velvety, buttery protein-packed breakfast (or lunch) that takes less than five minutes to cook, but satisfies your hunger for hours! And if you want to, you can build on your eggs and make a hearty “scramble”. In our house that normally means looking in the fridge for some yummie leftover tib bits such as smoked turkey and broccoli, sausage and spinach, or smoked salmon and dill. The combinations are really endless.

If you have any hearty “scramble” combinations that are tried and true, please share. I would love to give it a go!