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How do I get my scrambled eggs MOIST?

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  • Gypsy Boy May 27, 2004 08:03 AM
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A recent drive across the country to bring she-who-must-be-obeyed home with me forever (romantic, huh?) necessitated a bit of eating in places I might not ordinarily frequent. Not to mention more than a few towns I'd never thought to visit but greatly enjoyed. (After all, who'd have thought that I could combine Basque food with a visit to the Buckaroo Hal of Fame in one stop? Thank you, Winnemucca, Nevada!)

In any event, the journey and the food got me to recalling the great scrambled eggs of days gone by. Every once in a very great while, I find them again, but they are exceedingly rare. They are moist without being runny, smooth without being a uniform goo. Flavorful and nearly beyond words.

I have tried so many logical and/or illogical ways to juice up my eggs (pardon the mixed metaphor) that I have long since given up. But now, with this trip in mind, I find myself wondering: can anyone teach me how to create these wonderful things?

Thanks,

Gypsy Boy

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  1. Two words. Low heat. You just keep the heat very low, and move the eggs around. They make take 10 minutes to cook, but they will be very soft, moist, but not raw.

    1. The trick is to cook them very slowly over very low heat, stirring constantly. It can sometimes feel as though the eggs are never going to coalesce, but I promise you that eventually they will. You can then decide how well done you want them, but they stay soft and creamy for a long time. I'm including a link to a recipe that describes this technique in detail. Good luck! :-)

      Link: http://www.epicurious.com/run/recipe/...

      1. 1) Butter in medium heated pan before putting egg in - don't get it too hot, butter can't be burned - but pan can't be cold, either
        2) Stir tightly initially to bring in air, but then quit and don't overscramble - just make large folds (you don't want small curds) - quit folding once it begins to set
        3) Take off just as or even before the liquid (runiness) actually dissapears - it will finish cooking on the plate

        I never add any liquid to the egg for normal scrambled (I do for omelettes).

        On the other hand, a completely different way is to add a significant amount of milk (almost 1/2 the volume of egg) and cook in a small pot instead of a pan and continuously stir (slowly) over medium heat. This makes very small even curds which you can have on toast. If there is excess liquid, just pour it off. Putting in some grated cheese towards the end while still stirring to get it fully integrated into the curds is also good. I always called these British style scrambled eggs, but I don't know what the true origin is.

        1. This is an absoultely wonderful way to make scrambled eggs - nice and fluffy. Stay with them, they cook quickly. Just push to center as they cook - no need to scramble with a fork.

          From Cook's Illustrated:
          Scrambled eggs work great with high heat. The high temperature can produce big, pillowy curds. Try using four eggs, adding one tablespoon of milk or cream per egg and salt to taste. Whisk together eggs and milk, but not too much or it can toughen the whites. Pour eggs in a hot skillet in which two teaspoons butter is bubbling, but not brown. Four eggs will cook in about a minute (two eggs in around half a minute), so stay with them, pushing the eggs forward through the pan.

          1. Chowhounds Burke and Wells have an essay they've written about this very subject. Here's the link to that essay.

            Link: http://www.burkeandwells.com/archive/...

            1 Reply
            1. re: elmomonster

              That article is perfectly right. Patricia Wells also suggests making them in a double boiler over barely simmering water. It does take at least a half hour but oh so good!

            2. Your post is a bit confusing...do you want to know how to cook soft eggs, or how to get them when on the road? Cooking is easy...getting is almost impossible. My wife and I used to drive all over the US...and always order "scrambled soft". What did we always get? You got it. On one trip, as a joke, I told the waitress to tell the sorry cook if the eggs were hard, I would come back to the kitchen and thrash him. I am BIG. She said she would "personal see to it", and she did. They were perfect. But 9 times out of 10, they are overcooked. I have found that if you make an issues of it, they will try.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Jim H.

                Doesn't this seem like a pretty good way to ensure that they mess with your food in the back? God only knows what other fun 'ingredients' made their way into those eggs.

              2. Thank you one and all! The consensus is in--and I very much appreciate the links and advice. Sloooowwwwwww is the key. Can't thank you all enough.

                GB

                5 Replies
                1. re: Gypsy Boy

                  The real deal is to do it the way the French do, ouefs brouilles.

                  4 large eggs
                  6 tablespoons sweet butter
                  1/4 cup heavy cream
                  Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

                  Beat the eggs. Strain them into the top of a double boiler. Stir in the cream and butter. Bring the water in the bottom of the boiler to a bare simmer (do not boil), and make sure the top part is not touching the water. (If you don't have a double boiler, you can try using a heavy bottomed saucepan set over a flame tamer over low heat).

                  Stir the egg mixture with a wooden spoon (plastic and metal will conduct heat and get lumpy and ruin it), making sure to move the spoon over the entire bottom surface.

                  It will take about 10 minutes for thickening to begin. If you like them semiliquid, remove from heat and continue stirring off until they reach your desired doneness (they continue to cook). Or delay removing from the heat until a point you prefer.

                  Season with salt and pepper and serve as you like.

                  If this seems way too complicated (well, it did to me until I actually did it), believe me, it's well worth it. Just like proper risotto.

                  1. re: Karl S.

                    I have had dreams for years about the most perfect, rich, incredible scrambled eggs I had when I stayed at the Plaza Athenee in Paris. It was like an egg porridge, unbelievably rich and comforting. I've never been able to duplicate but now I can -- or at least I'll try. Merci beaucoup!

                    1. re: Karl S.

                      "would you like some egg with your butter and cream, Madame?"

                      1. re: Sharuf

                        That's why the French consider scrambled eggs to be a special treat, unlike omelettes, which are ordinary fare...the reverse of how Americans conceive of the two.

                      2. re: Karl S.

                        Yes! This is the best way I have found to cook scambled eggs. I generally modify the above by not using a double boiler but rather a non stick pan on the lowest heat my stove will render. The most important thing is to remove from heat just before the eggs reach their desired consistency. Oh, and stir.

                        I like to stir in some grated chedder to finish. Add truffles to bring it completely over the top.

                    2. Late as usual, I have to chime in on this topic anyway. I love soft scrambled eggs and would agree with MPD's technique. Remove them from the heat when they are almost cooked through--just a little runniness remaining. Keep folding them over, and the heat from the pan will finish cooking them. Serve immediately!

                      One variation I enjoy is to beat about 1/4 cup (maybe a little less) cottage cheese into 3 or 4 eggs with a balloon whisk, before scrambling. I still add salt to this, but no milk. You do need to cook this a little more slowly than regular scrambled eggs, on medium to medium-high heat. They will be the richest-tasting, creamiest scrambled eggs you've ever had.

                      1. Adding a bit of cream cheese helps keep it moist, and keeps it smooth and creamy.

                        1. My mother had the same problem with restaurants until she learned that she needs to instruct the kitchen to add some milk to the egg mixture. That's how we make 'em at home (sometimes bits of cream cheese go in, too). With milk, they stay soft and moist without being runny.

                          1. As much as I enjoy the minutiae of cooking, taking 30 minutes to scramble eggs does not appeal to me. I have found a shortcut, whereby even my husband (who scrambles eggs on high heat!) can't even ruin them; I add a HEAPING tablespoon of creme fraiche (to 8 lg eggs). Voila--soft, creamy eggs.

                            1. fwiw, my take on the consensus if you don't add milk -
                              1. a goodly amount of butter, melted over low heat, more butter than you think is right.
                              2. Beat the eggs and season them first in a bowl.
                              3. when you add the eggs, let them sit for a moment, and then with a wooden spoon, RATHER THAN STIR, use the spoon to scrape off the set egg from the bottom fo the pan and let the liquid reach the pan surface. This is done with back and forth motion over the surface of the pan, more and more often as the eggs set. Keep the heat low. Take it off about when you think it's about to be done.

                              To keep warm, put pan on hotplate and wrap the cover in a kitchen towel, then place cover back on pan. The kitchen towel will keep the steam from condensing and dripping back on the eggs making them watery.

                              1. I find that water works better than milk to get moist fluffy eggs.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: twinmommy

                                  The only problem is that for truly scrambled eggs, fluffy is not the goal (unlike omelettes): the less airiness the better. That's why water works well for a moist omelette (cooked quickly over medium high heat), but milk (or cream) seems to work better for scrambled (cooked slowly over low heat).

                                2. Actually, quite easily.

                                  Take your eggs, however many you want. Break them into a bowl and scramble with a fork. At this stage add nothing. Nothing.

                                  In your skillet, melt a little butter over low-moderate heat. Pour in your eggs, to which, I repeat, you have added NOTHING.

                                  Begin to scramble, moving your spatula constantly.

                                  Have at the ready an opened carton of whipping cream or half & half, but don't add it yet.

                                  Then, at the penultimate moment, when the eggs are just about set but not quite, pour in about 1/4 cup or more (depending upon how many eggs you have -- you just have to eyeball it -- but don't stint) of your heavy cream. Scramble furiously. The cream will combine with the eggs, forming a sort of cream sauce. It cooks the "stringy, gooey" bits, so that people who prefer their scrambled eggs well done don't complain.

                                  But your eggs will be fluffy and moist.

                                  The cream sorta stops the cooking process, but not entirely. Turn out as soon as the cream is incorporated and the eggs are at your desired consistancy.

                                  After the eggs are plated, season with salt, pepper, hot sauce, salsa, etc., or whatever seasonings you wish.

                                  This also works with evaporated milk, but the final product will obviously not be so rich and fully-flavored as with the cream.

                                  1. Most American cooks treat eggs like a red headed stepchild. They over beat/work them...they use too much heat (when cooking them in a pan)...and or they cook them too long. Results...really bad scrambled eggs that are dry, rubbery, flavorless, or so puffy the curds remind you of popcorn. For great scrambled eggs you just need basicaly two ingredients...EGGS & BUTTER! Forget all those tips like adding milk...water...flour etc. etc. Eggs are one of the most delicate of foods and should be treated with tender loving care. I learned all this from Julia Child when I caught an episode from the series of Julia & Jacques [Pepin] Cooking At Home. It was reinforced when I found this article "The Technique: The Perfect Scramble. Most scramble eggs suck. These don't." n a 2003 edition of GQ magazine I was thumbing throught while waiting, where else, in the doctors office. Here goes...'Slow-Cooked Scrambled Eggs: Serves 2. 2 tablespoons butter 6 eggs. Salt and pepper. 1) In a nonstick pan over low heat, melt the butter. Then crack the eggs directly into the pan. Let them sit for about 30 seconds. Season with salt and pepper [I part from this and season when plated] and then with a rubber spatula, split the yolks. Every now and then, slowly message the eggs around the pan. Don't overdo it - you want to keep the whites white and the yolks yellow. If you want to add cheese or herbs, do it while the eggs are still wet. 2) The eggs are done when they are still tender but not overly runny - just this side of underdone. The should take about two minutes. Serve with your favorite/usual 'breakfast' meal sides.

                                    1. I fast cook over very high heat both my scrambled and omletted (is that a word?) eggs, and if I do say so myself they're very light and fluffy. It's how I was trained. One of the big keys is to remember "carry-over" cooking. Many foods, including eggs, continue to cook after removing from the heat. It's part of what makes eggs too hard and watery in so many places dining out -- too long from the pan to you.