January 31, 2008

A Scrambled Eggs Experiment

A few years ago, after I bought Tyler Florence's Real Kitchen, I began making scrambled eggs the "French" way.

In his book, Tyler includes a recipe for "soft" scrambled eggs...about which he says: "I first tasted 'real' scrambled eggs while traveling through Paris as a starving college student. Cafe et des oeufs was just about all I could afford for breakfast. It was simple, but it was magic."

Julia Child also writes about French scrambled eggs in her memoir and includes the "master recipe" for Oeufs Brouilles in her cookbook. She says the chef at Le Cordon Bleu briefly beat eggs with a little salt & pepper, then poured them into a cold buttered skilled. The eggs were cooked over moderately low heat while being stirred slowly and continually. As the eggs thickened, the chef stirred rapidly, moving the pan on and off the heat. When the eggs reached the desired consistency, he removed them from the heat, then stirred in a bit of heavy cream.

So, I tried Julia's version of scrambled eggs yesterday morning. It took a long time--nearly 20 minutes--for the eggs to thicken. Even then, they had a consistency more like custard than scrambled eggs. Not for me.

While I have come to appreciate soft scrambled eggs more than the high-heated, puffy, over-cooked American kind of scrambled eggs, I think I'll stick to Tyler's recipe. It takes a bit longer than most people want to spend making eggs, but it's worth it.

Soft Scrambled Eggs

4 eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
freshly ground black pepper
sea salt
  • Crack the eggs in a bowl. Add the cream & whisk until the eggs look foamy & light.
  • Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Melt the butter until it foams, then turn the heat down to low & slowly pour in the eggs.
  • Using a heat-resistant spatula, slowly stir the eggs from the outside of the pan to the center. Once the eggs begin to set, stirring slowly will create large, cloudlike curds. This process takes about 10 minutes.
  • Season the eggs with a few cranks of black pepper and good salt...like fleur de sel.
  • Serve with a few slices of avocado & smoked salmon...maybe a little chopped chives.
Tyler writes, "It sounds easy, but perfect scrambled eggs that are soft and custardlike with no brown color are the sign of a really good cook. Once you perfect these, you'll never order eggs at a diner again."


Anonymous said...

This is how I cook eggs, though I'm usually making an egg sandwich, so I leave the heat up a little and fold the eggs from the edge of the skillet inward. The texture isn't as nice (think slightly browned omelette), but it holds together nicely as a bed for some slices of extremely sharp cheddar, and it won't fall out of a toast sandwich. I'll also sometimes substitute M&B Cajun Spice Blend (http://www.worldpantry.com/morton) when I have it for salt and pepper. There is something really nice about the simplicity of the salt and pepper, though.

Anonymous said...

Thanks much for your blog, I like all the recipes and thought I would throw something out at you. When using spices for a meal, have you ever considered using a really good leafy tea? I know it sounds a little much, but I made the best breakfast sandwiches with Black Breakfast Tea and Egss, Bacon, Ham, Sharp Cheddar, a good whole grain bread. The Tea added a whole new level....I got this one from Two Leaves and a Bud Thanks for the great recipes, now try some with a little Tea! Enjoy!