The perfect scrambled eggs

Scrambled eggs are a no brainer, right? You just stir them a bit in a bowl or a hot pan with some butter and then voila — scrambled eggs! I used to think this was true. I thought that scrambled eggs were all alike and wasn’t really a fan. I always preferred a nice fried egg with a slightly runny yolk, or one poached or soft boiled. And then, about two years ago while reading Julia Child’s autobiography, My Life in France, my relationship with scrambled eggs was changed forever.

Toward the beginning of the book, Julia is attending Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. Instead of the culinary program she eventually joins, she starts out in a layman’s program with a bunch of U.S. GIs. Her teacher, a man who eventually becomes a respected colleague and friend, asks the group how to scramble an egg. Julia, who by this time is in her late 30s and married, thinks the question is a bit silly and steps forward to throw a few eggs in a bowl, add some butter to a hot pan and quickly scramble some eggs. I mean, what could be simpler, right? What she learns, however, is that technique is everything. Those same ingredients, when cooked with more care and thought, go from hard and lumpy to creamy and rich. She realizes that the art of cooking isn’t simply heating food, but cooking it in a way to bring out its essential flavor and texture.

After reading this passage one evening, I put the book down, determined to experiment the next morning with my own scrambled eggs. When I got to the kitchen, however, I modified Julia’s instructions a bit. I just couldn’t bring myself to add that extra pad of butter at the end as it seemed a bit much and went against my mantra of using butter in moderation. The extra butter seemed an indulgence that I might use on Christmas, but not on a regular Saturday.

I then whipped up my eggs. By the time the meal was over, I had gone from being somewhat ambivalent toward the dish to a lover of scrambled egg. I could now see why the French incorporate them into their lunches and dinners instead of treating them as a morning-only meal. I’ve since made them for friends and family and each time I am asked how I make the eggs so creamy and light. Well, here’s my secret (or rather Julia’s discovery). I hope the next time you make this simple meal, you’ll try it!

Scrambled Eggs

2 eggs

1 pad of butter

1 Tbsp (or thereabouts) of whole milk or cream

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Heat a medium pan (preferably nonstick) over medium-low heat.
  2. In a separate bowl, scramble your eggs enough to break the yolks and mix the whites in, but not enough to make the mixture frothy. In other words, don’t over mix.
  3. When the pan is heated, reduce the heat to low and add the butter. Once the butter melts along the bottom of the pan, add your eggs and let them sit for a bit in the butter. Don’t stir too quickly. You want the heat to permeate the bottom of the eggs and start to cook them.
  4. When you can see that the bottom of the eggs have begun to heat through, stir the eggs and then add the cream or milk, which will instantly froth a bit. Mix the milk or cream into so it integrates into the eggs and makes them custardy.
  5. Continue cooking on low heat until the eggs are slightly firm (but not so long that they are actually firm).
  6. Remove from the pan and serve immediately with salt and pepper to taste.

You can vary this recipe a bit by adding some cheese or chives toward the end (just after you add the milk) or starting out with some bacon or ham in the pan. Better yet, cook some onions in the butter first and then scramble the eggs. Or top with some caviar if you want a luxurious meal. The world is really your oyster when it comes to scrambled eggs. Eat them plain or with your favorite topping, just be sure to cook them with care.

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6 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    tiina said,

    i tried this technique this morning and the eggs turned out great. flavor was better and we liked the consistency. of course, i overcook everything but tried to control that impulse. thanks for the tip!

  2. 2

    […] Perfect Scrambled Eggs Scrambled eggs are a no brainer, right? You just stir them a bit in a bowl or a hot pan with some butter and then voila — scrambled eggs! I used to think this was true. I thought that scrambled eggs were all alike and wasn’t really a fan. I always preferred a nice fried egg with a slightly runny yolk, or one poached or soft boiled. And then, about two years ago while reading Julia Child’s autobiography, My Life in France, my relationship with scrambled eggs was changed forever… […]

  3. 3

    […] Perfect Scrambled Eggs Stuffed Challah French Toast with Berries Blueberry Muffins Nut and Fruit Steel-Cut Oatcakes and Strawberry Oat Squares […]

  4. 4

    Thanks for sharing!! I stumbled upon your blog through a google alert this morning. I absolutely agree about the perfect technique for cooking eggs. I don’t even remember how I figured it out…..but I knew I liked a “soft” scramble and not the rubbery choppy texture I grew up on.

    This is a bit different than what I do, but in ways probably similar. I also use butter & on med heat. I let the eggs heat through and then start to scrape the bottom of the pan while letting the uncooked eggs flow over to the exposed pan. Hard to explain, but they come out a creamy goodness. Now I am a bit of an egg snob. You can imagine that my kids/hubby cooking me a egg breakfast on Mother’s Day would be a bit hard to choke down. Hubby does not have the technique.

    It looks like you have a lot of good stuff here, and I like your writing style. I’ll visit again.

  5. 5

    P’rudhomme book on his aunt Julia child certainly tells many recipe surprises for Americans…thank goodness she found her passion in Paris and shared with the world! Husband Paul’s mutual love of mealtimes plays a major role as well in her career. Her life story of years in France is special, written by her relative.

  6. 6

    carole said,

    thanks for posting! i do seem to remember in the book, she said the hardest thing was to wait 2-3 minutes after putting the eggs in the hot pan before stirring them at all.
    onward!


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