Troubleshoot My Egg Dish
This turned out good-not-great, and I'd love to hear suggestions.
[Update: I'd forgotten how drastically (and senselessly) the photo upload function shrinks photos, so I'll link to a shot rather than upload one: http://imgur.com/Q3aUkuR]
Here's what I did:
Sauteed 1/4 chopped onion and 3 chopped scallions in 2 tsp butter for a couple mins.
Added a medium tomato (coarsely chopped), 1/2 chopped avocado, handful of baby spinach leaves. Cooked for a couple mins.
Added 3 egg whites, 1 yolk (beaten with a bit of milk + salt and pepper).
When eggs set, stirred in broken up pieces of a TJ's whole wheat tortilla (toasted till almost burnt, then lightly buttered).
1. Eggs wound up extremely non-fluffy.
Due to the water content of the tomatoes?
2. Tomatoes a bit dry
To fix this and #1, maybe I should add fresh chopped tomato after cooking eggs, or at least much later in the process
3. Lack of scallion flavor
Maybe they're overwhelmed by the onions? Maybe I overcooked the onion/scallion combo?
4. Tortilla pieces too soggy
Guess I need to add them later. Or find a thicker bread to use, that can stand up better to the moisture.
I think you had a number of things going on. First IMO your proportions of non-egg to egg ingredients is off. A half onion, three scallion, a tomato, half an avodaco and spinach with three egg whites and one yolk just seems like it's not going to work. I'd probably use half as much onion, one scallion, half a tomato. In addition I wouldn't add the eggs til the rest of it is REALLY cooked down. Especially the tomato and spinach need to exude a lot of liquid. Also egg whites can be quite watery so that exacerbates the sogginess. I just read an article on Serious Eats about poaching eggs and it was suggested that each egg be put in a fine mesh strainer to get rid of the extra liquid before cooking. And why not have the tortilla actually be chips that you use to scoop up the food? Was this some dish that you were trying to emulate?
I make a similar breakfast dish, and I add my (untoasted) tortillas just after the sauteed onions. This fries them a little. Then add your eggs and spinach, which should be quick. Add the tomatoes at the very end and fold them in. I agree with the don't cook the avocado suggestions. Put it on top on your plate along with the green onions.
I blend my scrambled eggs in an individual drink mixer(tiny blender)- it came with 2 cups that attach to blend and the plastic blades installed permanently, this way, the whole cup comes off top of machine and into dishwasher -no take apart like a blender. This is probably not necessary, however, it does whip a lot of air into the eggs, therefore, more inclined to fluff. I also use one side of the cracked egg as my measuring spoon to add milk -per egg-for traditional scrambled eggs- bit of pepper and salt- hit it- foamy, eggie goodness.
I would heat the oil very hot for the veggies- think WOK frying, but this would be a small fry pan. Sautee onions until almost translucent- remove. Next, I would add more oil if needed and reheat- just a tiny bit- I would have washed the spinach in a colander and just the water on the leaf is enough- put in pan and cover. It will wilt. Remove, set aside with onions. Last- move pan to lower heat- bit of oil, quick heat the tomatoes- heat, don't cook. Now put it all together- you have the veggie mixed.
I would have made the eggs in a separate tiny pan- scrambled- now combine to the veggies. You could have heated the tortilla in the oven, or make a stove top oven with a pan and a cover.
I would not heat the green onions- just cut them and use on top or mix in with dish at end, but do not cook. Avacado, same deal. I would not cook it.
I know this sounds labor some, but it really is easy, As I take out layers of veggies to stir fry, I put them on a paper plate. Then combine them very quickly at end.
If the eggs are not made in a separate pan, or made last in an empty pan you used for veggies, it is going to be hard to get them to be fluffy.
I am not a fan of one pan deals all at once- good flavoring comes in layers.
Thanks for posting a question. I found all the many answers all interesting. Mrs. Ratfire, The Kitchen Vixon
When I add tomatoes to an egg dish (or just about any dish where they're a vegetable instead of a sauce ingredient) I go for the meaty ones, take the tops off and scoop out and discard the runny pulp and seeds, then chop up the solid part. Yes, watery ingredients in stove-top egg will steam them dry. Sometimes that's okay (as in scrambled with cottage cheese), but it wasn't what you wanted here.
I think any wheat tortilla might be miscast here, too. Really dry corn ones stand up to this kind of treatment pretty well, even when thoroughly soggy - and they would not get soggy here. I would be tempted to fry them first, in fact …
Haven't a clue about the scallions; I cook with them a lot and they seem to default to Overwhelming. Maybe oil instead of butter? The lactic acid could be blunting the alkaloids in the scallions. But I am not Harold McGee …
Were you looking to end up w/ something more like this?
If so, as the recipe says, add tomatoes after eggs start setting and add scallions later. I usually add scallions near the end of the cooking process, not sauteed early.
Were you looking for the tortilla to stay firm/crunchy? If you dry it out then it'll just get soggy--think bread pudding. Dry bread absorbs the liquids. If you liked them pan dried/toasted, just mix that in after you're finished cooking, off the heat.
I'd do: onions, then spinach, then eggs, to set, then tomatoes/avocado, sprinkle w/ scallions. Remove from heat and add tortillas.
I'd add scallions and tomatoes later in the process. Avocado to top but not added for cooking phase. Once eggs are added, keep heat down low and don't over stir.
Your dish sounds like a riff on tex-mex style migas so I'd go with fried or baked corn tortilla strips or fragments for real crunch.
re: Jim Leff
cooking avocado is pointless in my book - you want to add it just before the end so it gets mixed but not cooked.
Do you want the tortilla to be crunchy? If so add it at the end. If you are really thinking migas, then don't toast it, but tear it up and saute it with the onions and tomatoes. The tortilla pieces will be pliable, not crunchy.
I'd add some grated cheese. And jalapenos.
re: Jim Leff
Good thoughts, boobiebaby. Click photo, though, for a sense of what I'm doing with the bread.
Don't really want to "top" the eggs....I want more of a big scramble here. But, sure, I can do that in skillet last minute.
I do like warming the avocado, and unifying it with the other flavors. But, again, it can certainly come later.
re: Jim Leff
Avocado isn't really something that will unify with the other flavors, such onion or jalapeno would, for example. You can mix it together, but the flavor wont' integrate with the other ingredients -- you'll taste the avocado where you have pieces of avocado.
If you don't want the tomatoes wilted/mushy, then add them at the end, just before the eggs have set fully. Definitely sprinkle the scallions raw at the end though -- either on top of the finished product, or just before the eggs are full set. Also, fold the eggs gently as they cook, instead of stirring, to keep the air in them after whisking. If you stir, the weight of your other items will just flatten them out. You could also sauté your onions, tomatoes, spinach, etc and use them as an omelet filling --- then your omelet can be nice and fluffy.
I do an egg white scramble with baby spinach, mushrooms, red bell pepper and either onion (cooked) or scallions, raw at the end. I cook the onions and mushroom, stir in the bell pepper and spinach, then the egg whites. Sometimes I'll fold in some feta cheese at the end. Sometimes I skip the feta and put it into a warmed whole wheat tortilla, and top with cheddar or Monterey cheese and Cholula.
Flour tortillas, by nature will get mushy when wet. Corn tortillas may hold up a bit better, but you would be better off using tortilla chips if you are trying to retain some texture.