Saturday, 5 January 2008

Special Scrambled Eggs

For Mr A&N's birthday breakfast, he requested my special scrambled eggs with a bit of smoked salmon. Poor man, his birthday is two days before Christmas (Christmas Adam, as I've grown to refer to it - the day before Christmas Eve) and it's very easy for his birthday to become subsumed into the regular holiday runnings around. It was only this breakfast when he received his presents, and that night while laying in bed that either of us really realized it was his birthday, and it's like that most years. Anyone with birthdays around Christmas really do have my sympathy. I was only too happy to oblige him with these eggs, to make him feel the day had any aura of luxury about it.

I read about these scrambled eggs in the New York Times about ten years ago. I don't recall any of the details other than they were recommended by a French chef and promised to make the most glorious eggs ever. Although my memory for the details is lost, I've had no problem remembering the technique since the claim, I found, was correct. It produces eggs that aren't so much scrambled as an emulsion - moist, creamy, smooth, and free of the horrible lumps and runniness that scrambled eggs can produce. I love eating these on some nice crumpets, their butteriness seeping through the pock-marks of the bread. Since having them, neither Mr A&N nor I can go back to ordinary scrambled eggs.

Since this recipe concerns technique more than ingredients, I won't dwell on what should go into the eggs. I tend to make mine with 2 eggs per person, topped up with a bit of milk and a lump of butter; they reduce down quite a bit so don't be surprised if it looks like you're getting a smaller plate-full than usual. The important things to remember about the process is as follows:

  • You must, must, must keep stirring the eggs at all times; it will take a bit longer than normal eggs and therefore take a bit more work, but this is essential.
  • When stirring the eggs away from the heat, you want to see a fair amount of steam come off them before returning them to the heat. You should keep them off the burner for at least a minute each time, until the eggs have stopped cooking off the heat of the pan.
  • Don't over-cook the eggs. When they're done, they'll still look a bit moist (though not runny) - don't be tempted to cook until dry.
  • Any extra ingredients (like smoked salmon, in this instance) are added into the scramble when they are very nearly done cooking.
  • It is easy to become a bit obsessed about taking the eggs off the heat at the first signs of the them coming together. Understandable, but this will mean the whole process can take quite a long time. For the first couple of times, I usually take the egg beginning to coat the bottom or sides of the pan as a sign to remove it from the heat.
There's a good video of Gordon Ramsay showing how to make these eggs, if you're still in any doubt about them.

Special Scrambled Eggs
  • Allow 2 eggs per person, recommended with a lump of butter and dollop of milk in with the eggs (or whatever your preferred method of creating scrambled eggs is)
  1. Crack the eggs into a good saucepan or skillet - one that has good, even heat distribution.
  2. Place the pan onto a burner with a medium heat (if using a cast-iron pan like a Le Crueset pan, you'll want to turn the heat toward medium-low once the cooking gets started). Start stirring the egg mixture as you place it over the heat.
  3. Continually stir the eggs. Remove from the heat when the first signs of coagulation start in the pan.
  4. Stir the eggs while off the heat, so that all the coagulated bits get mixed in and absorbed into the egg mixutre. The eggs should be off the heat for a good minute, being stirred throughout; they should give off great puffs of steam when first pulled off.
  5. Return the eggs to the heat, still stirring throughout. Again, remove from the heat when the eggs start to solidify at the bottoms and sides of the pan.
  6. Stir away from heat until all the solid bits are well incorporated.
  7. Continue alternating between stirring on and off the heat, pulling away from the heat when the eggs start showing signs of solidifying in the pan.
  8. When approaching done-ness, the eggs will look to come together in something of a mass - they should still look quite moist (if adding extra ingredients, throw them in when the eggs begin coming together). Remove from heat when the eggs are still a little wet and finish them off while stirring off the heat.
  9. Serve as quickly as possible.


Emiline said...

I like to think I make good eggs, but I don't know. I never fix them for anyone else!
Smoked salmon sounds good.
I'm thinking some smoked gouda would go well, too.

Wendy said...

Like Emiline said, I love my own scrambled eggs but never make them for anyone else. Going to try this version this morning.
A friend of mine uses Bill Granger's method/recipe and produces some very velvety, creamy eggs. Lovely but too luxurious for my morning tastes. I like fresh eggs!

Suzana said...

I love scrambled eggs but it's usually my hubby who makes them (with cheese and herbs, mostly) - I guess I'll leave that recipe for him to cook!

Devil's Kitchen said...

Scrambled eggs and smoked salmon are quite delicious; I do like them quite runny, but I shall give your technique a go, I think.


Annemarie said...

Hi Emiline- I think cheese and eggs is always a winner. My brother once made scrambled eggs, mozzarella and cinnamon and I was shocked by how tasty it was.

Hi Wendy - Oh the pressure! Hope you at least enjoyed them, no expectations for them to change your scrambled egg world. :)

Hi Suzana - Yes, put the husband on the task. Hope you both find them worth while. :)

Hi DK - These eggs will still stay nice and moist, so there's no need to ditch your runniness altogether.

Elle said...

What an interesting technique for scrambled eggs. They sound like they come out creamy and tender...must try this, especially with the smoked salmon. MMM.

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

I didn't really like scrambled eggs. I could eat them once in a while but only if they were cooked until they were really dry. Then about a year ago I started to like it a little bit runny, then I tried Bill Granger's and fell in love so getting to the point......
though I would have thought your eggs not nice a year ago I think I'd really love your version now.