Eggs are among the most versatile ingredients -- and among the least understood. They are complex packages of proteins, fats and emulsifiers, and scientists are just now beginning to unravel the details of how they do what they do in the kitchen. For everyone else, it's enough to know that eggs provide high-quality nutrition and are quick and easy to prepare.
About Scrambled Eggs
The legendary French chef Escoffier declared that the best of all egg dishes was a simple plate of scrambled eggs. Perfect scrambled eggs form large, soft curds, with a moist and creamy texture. They should never be dry or leathery. They take only minutes to make, so you can treat your family to a hot, sustaining breakfast on even the busiest of mornings. Allow two eggs per person as a rule, but you can always add more if you have big appetites to satisfy.
Modern technology has provided two wonderful tools that Escoffier would have appreciated: nonstick skillets to cook the eggs in and flexible silicon spatulas to stir them as they cook. Warm the skillet to a moderate temperature, a bit lower than you'd normally used for fried eggs. Eggs toughen quickly at high temperatures, so if the pan is warm enough to brown the eggs, that's too hot, and you'll need to cook at a slightly lower setting the next time. Salt will also toughen the eggs, so don't add any until they're nearly done.
A small amount of butter in the pan gives eggs a rich, creamy flavor. Alternatively, add cream directly to the eggs. If you want to make a more substantial breakfast, there are a number of additional ingredients you can add. Diced ham, pieces of sausage, crumbled bacon, diced cooked vegetables, sauteed spinach or other greens, caramelized onions, fresh herbs and ranch seasoning mix are all common choices, but your imagination and your taste buds are the only real limitations. Add cream or extra ingredients once the eggs are in the pan and partially set.
Ideally, the eggs should go straight from the skillet to waiting plates while they're fresh and hot. In practice, mornings don't always work that way. You can keep scrambled eggs warm in the oven at its lowest setting until it's time to serve them. Just put the eggs in a heatproof bowl and cover them so that they don't dry out. The eggs will look more attractive on the plate if you garnish them with a sprinkle of shredded cheese or fresh herbs such as dill, parsley or chives. Serve the eggs with toast or crusty fresh bread.
- "On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen"; Harold S. McGee; 2004
- "Professional Cooking"; Wayne Gisslen; 2003
- "The Complete Guide to the Art of Modern Cookery (Le Guide Culinaire)"; Auguste Escoffier; 1979
- Fine Cooking; The Best Scrambled Eggs; Brian Geiger; July 2009
- Mr. Breakfast.com: Perfect Scrambled Eggs
- Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images