Layered, steam-tray scrambled eggs at home?
I realize it sounds completely off to want to replicate institutional eggs at home. But the VA hospital cafeteria across from where I work makes these amazing scrambled eggs, not spongy or sulfury or dry, just all delicate layers folded together. Yes, they're horribly greasy. But I love them. The woman serving them answered my cooking questions with "I don't know, in a pan?", so I've given up trying to learn the secret recipe. Any ideas on how to get this at home? Maybe I should be using some weird bulk liquid eggs, vegetable oil and a huge griddle to get the texture right?
I'd suggest a large nonstick skillet (e.g. 12") and medium heat. Initially don't stir, giving the eggs time to start setting. Then stir slowly with a spatula, using more of a folding motion, and cleaning the pan surface completely.
Most days when I make scrambled eggs for me and Mrs. O, I start with 1/2 cup of Nu-Laid Reddi-Egg, which despite the corny name is actually a palatable eggwhite product. To this I add two whole eggs, S&P, and a dash or three of Tabasco. So: get a small iron skillet good and hot, pour in a little olive oil and a pat of butter or globbet of bacon fat, let that get hot, then pour in the egg. Let it sputter while you rinse out the egg bowl (to help you resist the temptation to start monkeying with it too soon). Then, using a silicone spoon/spatula, peel the cooked parts off the sides and fold over, repeating and adjusting the heat as necessary, until it can all be gathered into a mass in the middle. Use a regular steel spatula to turn that over and turn off the heat, allowing the egg to finish cooking from residual heat while you butter the toast.
This is exactly opposite from the "proper" scrambled-egg recipes, the ones mandating small soft curds, but we both like it very much as a regular semi-daily dish. Weekends is when we get fancy...
Ayup! "weird bulk liquid eggs, vegetable oil and a huge griddle to get the texture right?"
The huge griddle is the big part of the equation. Beat up the eggs, slather the griddle with butter & veg oil mixed, then our out the eggs and spread around with a flipper.
A non-traditional, almost cake-like structure, for scrambled eggs: beat eggs until foamy, pour into a small non-stick pan over low, let sit a moment, scrape off 1/3 of the unset eggs from one edge of the pan and then fold over. Let the remaining eggs fill the void and repeat until all the eggs are cooked and there is a roll of eggs. The key is to keep the pan low and not to handle the eggs too much otherwise they become tough.