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Great Scrambled Eggs? [Moved from General Chowhounding Topics]

fruglescot Mar 5, 2008 05:44 AM

Do you add anything unusual or do you have a trick for making great scambled eggs?

  1. Emmmily Mar 6, 2008 07:22 PM

    Whenever I steam artichokes (Marcella Hazan Roman-style) I save the extra liquid from the pot, and mixing a few spoonfuls of that into scrambled eggs instead of plain water. (Hell, I'll add a few spoonfuls of that to just about anything.) Either that or nice spicy salsa - I like Frontera jalepeno cilantro salsa.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Emmmily
      fruglescot Mar 7, 2008 04:13 AM

      I just happen to have a little leftover artichoke juice in the refridge. Should I heat it up a bit before adding to the SE mix? Emmmily.

      1. re: fruglescot
        fayehess Mar 7, 2008 07:19 AM

        I agree wtih going low and slow, lots of unsalted butter to start, but I don't bother with a double boiler--just be sure to use a saucepan instead of a frying pan. fayefood.com

    2. alanbarnes Mar 6, 2008 03:59 PM

      According to Gordon Ramsey:


      4 Replies
      1. re: alanbarnes
        egbluesuede Mar 8, 2008 05:30 AM

        This settles the debate for me. I made my eggs this morning exactly like GR in this video, and they were the best I've ever had. I will never do it any other way again. And my wife, who never eats eggs, loved them too. Check out some of the other clips from GR on youtube......some of them are hilarious!

        1. re: egbluesuede
          Karl S Mar 8, 2008 06:35 AM

          Understand that GR did this faster than is ideal - for the purposes of the camera (and is probably used to rushing it for restaurant trade). He compensated for the curds by adding the creme fraiche. But if you slow it down even further, you will get an even more supernal texture. GR compares this to risotto - which usually takes 20 minutes - and that is the gold standard for this too.

          GR is absolutely right that making proper scrambled eggs is a great test for a true chef. (Much more than making an omelet.) The other comparable test is watching how someone cooks fish. Both involve great simplicity, an understanding of how to protect proteins from coagulating too quickly with direct heat, and how to use the correct utensils and ingredients and PATIENCE off heat to finish the work.

          1. re: Karl S
            egbluesuede Mar 9, 2008 10:20 AM

            I was wondering about the time factor. He did his in about 3 minutes, but it took me more like 12-15, and it was really smooth. I didn't have creme fraiche, but I did add a dollop of sour cream.

            1. re: egbluesuede
              Karl S Mar 9, 2008 10:52 AM

              Understand that egg whites start cook at about 140F, while egg yolks start to cook about 10F higher. Scrambled eggs - when done correctly - are a way of coating (through non-aerated emulsification, as aeration is bad for this process) proteins with fats (both of the yolk itself and added dairy fats (cream, butter or cheese) that are themselves emusified - unlike pure oils) and gently playing with in this temperature range to thicken the eggs without curdling the proteins. It is only this process that produces such a sublime texture and rounded flavor. Omelets, however wonderful most of the time, are pedestrian compared to this.

      2. scubadoo97 Mar 6, 2008 10:50 AM

        If you are lucky enough to catch the episode of Chef's Story on PBS watch the one on Andre' Soltner. At the end of the interview the chef prepares a meal. Andre' did a classic french omelet. This is the technique you should be trying to copy. You can skip the part of making the fold and turn them out before they have set completely. He makes it look easy but the tapping of the pan to fold the omelet over is not as easy as it looks

        3 Replies
        1. re: scubadoo97
          Karl S Mar 6, 2008 12:04 PM

          Yes, but scrambled eggs are the opposite of omelets.

          1. re: Karl S
            scubadoo97 Mar 6, 2008 01:56 PM

            In the end there are differences but not at the beginning. The same technique of stirring is used in the beginning. Scrambled eggs are done at a lower temperature but you are still stirring to break up the curds. Unlike the omelet the scrambled eggs are turned out while still a little wet while the omelet is alowed to sit and set for a moment. The properly prepared omelet should be creamy but not runny when cut into nor hard and rubbery which is often the norm.

            1. re: scubadoo97
              Karl S Mar 6, 2008 06:10 PM

              Actually, in scrambled eggs, you are trying to prevent curds from forming until the very end - you are trying to hold the eggs at a thickening heat rather than curdling heat. Big difference.

              Again, though, most Americans make a broken omelet for scrambled eggs, instead of truly scrambled eggs.

              The texture of properly scrambled eggs is quite different.

        2. s
          swsidejim Mar 6, 2008 05:04 AM

          I use either some whole milk, heavy cream, or half and half(whatevers on hand), and whisk that into my eggs with some salt, and black pepper. I use a hot pan with melted butter, and use a rubber spatula to gently stir the eggs while cooking. Turns out fluffy, and perfect for my taste every time.

          1. m
            mmuch Mar 6, 2008 04:47 AM

            Always UNDER COOK them! Actually, slightly under scramble them when mixing then when they're in the pan, cook using a spatula and stir slowly to "scramble" until they are slightly undercooked. Then plate them. They cook after off the pan, so it should leave you with the loveliest softest scrambled eggs ever. I think I learned this reading Julia Childs book.

            1. linguafood Mar 5, 2008 06:24 PM

              I'm still trying to figure out what the cook at some Irish hotel did to the "scrambled eggs" that were served for breakfast. Very small curds, almost like ricotta, and hard, and ... just ... simply disgusting. I really wonder what went wrong there, since it's not really rocket surgery ---

              Scrambled eggs can be pretty awesome regardless of what you add, as long as you don't overcook.

              2 Replies
              1. re: linguafood
                southernitalian Mar 6, 2008 12:40 PM

                I'm wondering why you're having scrambled eggs in an Irish hotel versus having a fried egg with the traditional Irish breakfast! I could go for it right now.

                For a real treat, I make scrambled eggs that are about 1/3 shredded sharp cheddar.

                1. re: southernitalian
                  linguafood Mar 6, 2008 01:13 PM

                  Well, I generally really like scrambled eggs, and will only fry one up if it's going to land on my bread, ham & cheese concoction...

                  But whatever it was that was done to that particular scramble is beyond me. It looked like ricotta and tasted like .... crap. Kinda.

              2. dani_k Mar 5, 2008 04:36 PM

                anyone else use water instead of milk? ive always been told it makes the eggs fluffier and indeed, mine are usually better textured than most people who i know that use milk...

                3 Replies
                1. re: dani_k
                  egbluesuede Mar 5, 2008 09:28 PM

                  I stick to just a little water. I don't know if it's fluffier, but I don't see the need for milk. I add a little extra richness with either butter or a dollap of mayo to the finished eggs.

                  1. re: dani_k
                    Karl S Mar 6, 2008 01:21 AM

                    Not for scrambled eggs - both milk and water toughen the eggs - only things like cream, butter or cheese go into scrambled eggs.

                    1. re: dani_k
                      pilotgirl210 Mar 6, 2008 03:39 PM

                      Exactly! Count me in on the water issue. I was watching a cooking segment on Good Morning America several years back and I have been mixing my eggs with just a splash of water since and they always turn out perfect. I, too, take mine off the heat early, as they do continue cooking and I like mine moist and soft.

                    2. k
                      Kaisgraham Mar 5, 2008 04:27 PM

                      I think that using lots of unsalted butter and adding NO milk, cream or anything else to the eggs is the best. Also, I use the Trader Joe's extra rich yolk eggs. I like to sprinkle fresh grated parmesan cheese and fresh chopped basil on top at the end.

                      1. j
                        jlafler Mar 5, 2008 03:32 PM

                        I guess I'm in the minority in liking my scrambled eggs relatively firm.

                        But the key, as someone said above, is to realize that the eggs continue to cook after you take them off the heat. So, however you like your eggs done, move them from the pan to the plate before they're quite there.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: jlafler
                          JungMann Mar 6, 2008 05:13 AM

                          It's not that I don't like firm eggs. When I go out to brunch, I like getting fluffy and light scrambled eggs, basically an empty omelet. Although that's partially because I have a habit of treating restaurant eggs as a vehicle for ketchup and hot sauce delivery.

                        2. MeffaBabe Mar 5, 2008 11:17 AM

                          I love big curds of scrammbled eggs and I like to cook them a bit soft- they are still a little shiney or wet. Salt, pepper and bacon with toast... Heaven!

                          1. gini Mar 5, 2008 09:48 AM

                            I throw some butter and a couple cracked eggs in a pan and them whisk them over medium heat. I like that much better than premixing them in a bowl and heating the pan first.

                            i try and start with really good quality duck or chicken eggs from my sister - the yolk and richness is unbelievable when compared to store bought.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: gini
                              garfish Mar 6, 2008 05:57 PM

                              I'm a premixer. But I do agree that farm fresh eggs from birds that are allowed to forage are going to be much better in terms of both quality and freshness. A great way to up the wow factor in scrambled eggs.

                              Also am a huge fan of duck eggs. I like them better in scrambled eggs than the chicken version. Two of those done low and slow and served a tad moist with toast and some fresh fruit is one of my favorite breakfasts, lunches and dinners.

                            2. Rubee Mar 5, 2008 09:33 AM

                              Ever since the article "The Egg Master of Sydney " came out in the NYT a few years ago, that's how I make my scrambled eggs. It's quick, easy, and as the article says "they are divinely creamy, but they are also as light as the breath of an angel". Don't substitute whole milk or skim milk.

                              "They've been described as the best scrambled eggs in the world -- by The Times of London, no less -- but I make no such grandiose claim for the soft, luscious yellow clouds Bill Granger slides in front of you... "


                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Rubee
                                Miss Needle Mar 5, 2008 04:16 PM

                                This sounds really good! I'm getting hungry for some scrambled eggs. Still at work, but maybe I'll try this when I get home tonight! Thanks.

                              2. Karl S Mar 5, 2008 09:19 AM

                                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.

                                * * *

                                The much shorter approximation of this is to mix the eggs very gently (no whisk - you do not want air in these), and over very low heat in a non-stick pan, stir very gently for a couple of minutes, removing from the heat as needed to keep big curds from forming. As the eggs start to thicken, add slivers of cold butter (or cold grated cheese, or teaspoons of cold heavy cream - not milk - milk proteins would toughen) to slow down the cooking. Keep on tacking on and off heat to modulate the cooking. You want this to cloud more than curdle, as it were. You can do 2-3 eggs in 5-8 minutes. What you end up with is pillows of a glossy eggy beauty.

                                Spoon over dry toasted english muffins.

                                What this is not is a broken omelet, which is how most Americans do scrambled eggs. Omelets are easy; scrambled eggs are art.

                                1. b
                                  bite bite Mar 5, 2008 09:07 AM

                                  A bit decadent -- but for a special treat subbing truffle for regular butter butter pretty great. And maybe a splash of cream to push over the top...

                                  1. scuzzo Mar 5, 2008 09:03 AM

                                    Lately, I've been adding cayenne and fresh garlic to my scrambled eggs. For the positive health benefits.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: scuzzo
                                      Val Mar 5, 2008 03:26 PM

                                      Interesting...do you saute the garlic first or just throw chopped raw garlic into the eggs as the cook?

                                    2. louweezy Mar 5, 2008 08:45 AM

                                      Low & slow, & remember, if they look done in the pan, they're overcooked.

                                      1. linguafood Mar 5, 2008 08:28 AM

                                        I've never done the 'starting off in the cold pan and scrambling the egg IN the pan' thing -- perhaps due to my general lack of patience :-D

                                        I do add a splash of 1/2 & 1/2, or whole milk to the eggs when I scramble them. Put over medium heat, and *definintely* take out of pan before settled entirely. They continue to cook on the plate, so when it's still runny it's a good time to take 'em out. Add s&p and eat.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: linguafood
                                          Dmnkly Mar 5, 2008 08:33 AM

                                          Takes less time than you think. Definitely give it a try... I suspect you'll be impressed. And if they start to stick at all, just lift them off the heat and keep whisking.

                                          1. re: Dmnkly
                                            linguafood Mar 5, 2008 08:34 AM

                                            Yeah, but if I can get basically the same result in less time... why bother?

                                            1. re: linguafood
                                              Dmnkly Mar 5, 2008 08:39 AM

                                              Because it isn't the same at all. There's a richness and creaminess doing it this way that I've never gotten with a hot pan. The first time I tried doing is this way was the day I stopped adding anything other than salt, pepper and butter to my eggs. (Not that I have anything against the practice... I just couldn't bear to sully them so :-)

                                              (Don't skimp on the butter... I use about half a tablespoon per egg. I know, I know. And I think the whisk is also key.)

                                              1. re: Dmnkly
                                                Miss Needle Mar 5, 2008 11:32 AM

                                                Yeah, it is a totally different taste. It's very creamy and dense -- almost spreadable. DH really prefers eggs scrambled this way but don't do it often because it's really a pain in the butt. This is also another reason why I don't make risotto too frequently. I usually spend about 20-25 minutes in front of the stove stirring -- not my idea of fun.

                                        2. scubadoo97 Mar 5, 2008 08:04 AM

                                          First rule of thumb is to cook them at a low temperature. Stir often to keep the curds small and don't over cook. This will result in very soft tender curds of scrambled eggs. You do not have to add cream or cheese to get these results although I have nothing against adding those ingredients.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: scubadoo97
                                            JungMann Mar 5, 2008 08:10 AM

                                            Pefect advice. I do add a couple small knobs of butter as I stir with my spatula or whisk, but I do think soft-scrambled eggs respond well to a generous addition of creme fraiche or sour cream.

                                          2. s
                                            smartie Mar 5, 2008 06:26 AM

                                            a little sour cream, salt and pepper and not too scrambled.

                                            My dad used to fry sliced tomatoes in butter until they were soft and slightly burnt, then add the whisked eggs. Boy they were delicious. Brings back memories of Sunday morning breakfasts.

                                            1. p
                                              peanutbutter Mar 5, 2008 06:13 AM

                                              My boyfriend makes the bomb of all scrambled. Add cream cheese and Oregano. The combo is insane!!

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: peanutbutter
                                                Val Mar 5, 2008 07:58 AM

                                                Yep...adding small dabs of cream cheese is screaming good!

                                                1. re: Val
                                                  sweet100s Mar 6, 2008 06:12 PM

                                                  Does the cream cheese melt ? Or stay recognizable as cream cheese.

                                                  1. re: sweet100s
                                                    alex8alot Mar 6, 2008 06:57 PM

                                                    It does melt a little, but not into puddles

                                                    1. re: alex8alot
                                                      Val Mar 7, 2008 07:14 AM

                                                      Yes, it melts but like I said, small dabs help it melt and it's another reason to cook them slowly as so many others have pointed out. Ay, I'm definitely having scrambled eggs tomorrow morning!!!

                                              2. Dmnkly Mar 5, 2008 06:01 AM

                                                I'm of the school that likes to add eggs and copious butter to a cold pan, put the pan over medium-low heat, add salt and pepper and gently whisk until they curd up and just barely set. Small curds, nice and loose -- to each his own, I suppose, but I can't stand fully-cooked scrambled eggs.

                                                1. Robin Joy Mar 5, 2008 05:59 AM

                                                  I find that scrambling more than about 6 at a time produces inferior results. If you really like hard work, try scrambling them in a pyrex bowl over a simmering pan of water. Great results, but rather long winded. Lastly a wooden fork rather than spoon can produce a smoother texture.

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