Scrambled Eggs Super!
January 09, 2013
One of my New Year’s resolutions is to cook more good food at home. By good food, I mean food from actual ingredients, not just highly processed convenience items. I consider myself a decent cook, but I realized that I had never approached cooking like an academic subject by starting with the basics and building up from there. As a result, I’ve been focusing on very simple recipes. What better place to start than that staple of breakfast, scrambled eggs? Crack some eggs, put them in a hot pan, and scramble them all up. That has to be simple, right?
Master chef and profanity enthusiast Gordon Ramsay says that one way he evaluates new cooks is by asking them to make scrambled eggs. Surprisingly, for such a simple dish, it’s very easy to make bad scrambled eggs, usually in the form of tiny pieces of rubbery egg. They’re not inedible, but they’re certainly not light, fluffy, and creamy. I’ve ended up with bad scrambled eggs occasionally, and I've watched the boys in my Scout troop make them on almost every campout.
So how do you get perfect scrambled eggs? While Dr. Seuss’ egg enthusiast Peter T. Hooper seems to think the best way to make great scrambled eggs is to round up eggs from various exotic birds, I decided to focus on technique instead. I'm familiar with Mark Bittman's method, but I know there are many others. So, I searched YouTube for “perfect scrambled eggs” and got over 1,000 results! I obviously didn’t watch all those videos, but those I did watch all emphasized the following factors:
- A small amount of a liquid like cream, milk, or even water added to a lightly beaten egg mixture.
- Low heat to prevent the separation of the liquid from the egg mixture.
Where all the differences in various recipes for the "perfect scrambled eggs" come from is mostly execution. First, many insist that salt not be added to the egg mix before cooking, but some don’t think it’s that critical. Some use a double boiler to control the heat, but most use a skillet or other pan directly on a burner. One big difference seems to be in the size of the egg curds created. Most call for gently scraping the eggs to the middle of the pan to get large fluffy curds, but others like Ramsay vigorously stir the egg mix and get much smaller curds. Either way, the product looks delicious and just goes to show that mastering and understanding basic techniques really pays off.
OK, now I'm really hungry for scrambled eggs,