Basic Cooking Skills-Scrambled eggs

I was just posting an update, and correcting some long-ignored punctuation errors, on a past blog post called “Let’s Talk About Eggs” when I realized that I forgot to mention the egg cookery method that is arguably the most popular–the scrambled egg! Wham. Hand against forehead. But actually now is the perfect time to add a method for scrambled eggs to the discussion of egg preparation. It is certainly a basic cooking skill that needs to be addressed. (My husband Gary calls this method the ‘penis default’ method of cooking eggs; meaning, something even guys who don’t cook can do. Hhhmm, the visual…)

Well, he’s got a point. It would seem that scrambling an egg is so simple, and so intuitive that a recipe is unnecessary. Yes and no. As I said in my previous egg post, there are million ways to murder an innocent egg, and scrambling an egg is no different. They can be overcooked, watery, or tough with clumsy handling. However, with a deft and light touch, scrambled eggs are fluffy and silky and absolutely delicious.

Probably the one thing I really had to learn about scrambled eggs is this: less is more. Less ingredients. Less tweaking. Great eggs need nothing more than a bit of fat and some salt and pepper. Nothing more. Here’s what I do:

Scrambled Eggs for two

  • 4 large eggs (Figure two eggs per person)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • salt and pepper

See? There is no mustard, no milk or cream to stretch the liquid, no extra herbs or spices. No added veggies. (A sprinkling of fresh chopped herbs, like chives, parsley, or basil, is lovely on top of the eggs at serving; not in the egg mixture.)

1. Place a non-stick skillet on a burner over medium heat. Add the butter and let melt, then tip the pan to let the butter cover the cooking surface of the skillet.

2. While the pan heats and the butter melts, crack the eggs into a medium sized bowl. With a fork or a whisk whip the eggs until well combined. You want to thoroughly mix the whites into the yolks.

3.Pour the eggs into the melted butter. Immediately start stirring the eggs with a whisk. Continue whisking the eggs as they coagulate, and cook only to the point that they become solid rather than liquid, and are fluffy and moist looking. They should NOT be browned and of one solid piece. If they are it means YOU got distracted and didn’t pay attention to the heat, the time, or the stirring.

Serve evenly onto two plates, salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with fresh chopped chives, or other chopped herbs, if desired.

There you have it, another basic cooking skill under your belt.

If your eggs look like this you didn't whip the eggs thoroughly, and you cooked them over too high heat for too long. Doh!

Wrong! If your eggs look like this you didn’t whip the eggs thoroughly, you didn’t constantly stir while cooking, and you cooked them over too high of heat for too long. While they may be edible they’re not the best you can do. Doh!

Variations:

Sauteed vegetables are delish with scrambled eggs, with not much more effort. What you need to do is chop the veggies into smallish bite-sized pieces and them saute them before adding the eggs. Some of my favorite veggie add-ins are onion or shallot or green onion, minced garlic, mushroom, tomato, broccoli, zucchini, red bell pepper, and spinach. If you want to add some protein consider roast chicken, deli ham, sausage, or bacon. Cheese is scrumptious too, just don’t add it until the very end as it has a tendency to melt and liquify its fat, making it harder to scramble your egg mixture. Try shredded cheddar, parmesan, or my favorite, crumbled feta or goat cheese.

So, a veggie cheese scramble might go together like this:

  1. Prepare your eggs as directed above for basic scrambled eggs;
  2. Chop veggies of choice, a handful or so of mixed veggies of your choosing;
  3. Grate cheese and set aside, or have a quantity of feta or goat cheese at hand

Prepare the pan as directed above, by heating 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. When melted, add the veggies to the pan, ‘hard’ veggies (like broccoli, onion, garlic, bell pepper, mushroom) FIRST, as they need a little more time to cook. Saute and stir the veggies until they begin to soften, then add your ‘softer’ veggies (tomato, spinach, or other veggies that really just need to get warm) to the same pan and cook and stir a couple of minutes more, until veggies are tender-crisp (bite one to see). If using spinach or other greens add them to the pan and cook them just to the point that they wilt.

Add the egg mixture to the pan of veggies and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly as directed above for scramble eggs, just until coagulated and thoroughly incorporated with the veggies. Sprinkle with cheese, if using, salt and pepper to taste, and serve it up!

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