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Making perfect scrambled eggs [thread digression moved from General Topics board]

Btw, the way I learned the technique was James Peterson's "Glorious French Food" -- for that one recipe I was eternally grateful.

A short-hand approach would run something like:

Beat some very fresh, high-quality eggs loosely with a fork. Slide them into the top part of a double boiler (or a pan atop a pot) which is set above -- but not touching -- an inch or two of barely simmering water. Begin whisking immediately, breaking up the lumps that form. When the eggs have developed a thick, cottage-cheese-like texture, add slivers of cold unsalted butter (a few tablespoons is not unreasonable; the point is to slow the cooking down and capture bits of butter in the egg emulsion -- slow and steady wins the race), continue mixing until the eggs are about 80-90% cooked, remove from stove and continue mixing to nearly finish cooking them off the heat, and serve over hot buttered or dry toast (I prefer dry), garnished with good salt and garnishes of your choice. Make sure the plate is not cold (but hot would not been good either). If you find the cooking going too fast, you can also use some cold heavy cream to slow things down. Takes 20-30 minutes

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  1. I learned this technique from Richard Olney's classic, "Simple French Food." A way-underrated book, IMO.

    He suggests rubbing a wooden spoon with raw garlic, and using the spoon to stir the eggs while in a double boiled. This gives a very nice garlic essence. He also rubs the inside of the pan with butter.

    I like to top mine with some wild mushrooms sauteed in yet more butter.

    This method is also well described in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, v.1

    1. My "secret weapon" in making great scrambled eggs is adding sour cream to the beaten eggs. The sour cream imparts a velvety, creamy mouth-feel and makes the eggs fluffy.

      1. My Dad used to make Sunday dinner by making his special scrambled eggs.... take eggs an break into pa, stir it up with the spatula and cook. No milk, no water, no nothing... Gotta admit to doing this a few times myself. It's actually pretty good. Don't forget the salt and pepper.

        1. No oil/butter/fat in the pan first? Won't the eggs stick?

          3 Replies
          1. re: ricepad

            The opposite, actually. In the classic double-boiler method, I rub butter all over the bottom and sides of the pan, and then add little dabs of butter to the eggs. There is a ton of butter! Sorry I left that out.

            1. re: Darren72

              That's also why it's important not to have boiling water in the lower pot but barely simmering water. If you have a non-stick top pan and there is not tight closure of the top over the bottom pan, you can probably get away with hotter water.

            2. re: ricepad

              Sorry, we do put a pat of butter in the pan.

            3. I heard a new way of cooking scrambled eggs recently, and they come out really well.

              Scramble your eggs in a bowl, while a pan of water comes to a simmer. When the water is ready, pour the scrambled eggs in slowly, like you would a poached egg. Let the eggs sit until they are cooked thoroughly. Remove with a slotted spoon, and drizzle them with some high quality olive oil.

              The eggs are extremely fluffy, and not dry at all.

              1. Slow and low (heat) is what I was taught.
                And don't turn them too much.
                Treat them like fragile, bi-polar divas.
                And then hit them with wicked French grey salt.

                1. We always buy very good eggs...I prefer free-range. I beat them until they are foamy. I heat up a non-stick pan till med-high and then add some butter. When it begins to sizzle (not brown) I add the eggs and stir them around about 6 times or so and then plate them. Salt and pepper and ready to go. Low and slow it is not...but the eggs are fluffy,tender, and moist! I add hot sauce before I eat....sometimes.