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October 12, 2006

Scrambled (Egg) Secrets

Donald Pittenger writes:

Dear Blowhards --

I don't want to turn this into a foodie blog, but ...

I do like to mix topics as best I can. And I have a long list of subjects plus a pile of digital photos from my Central European trip that shouldn't be dumped on you all at once. So I've been reduced to dealing with The Art and Science of Cooking Scrambled Eggs.

My wife thinks I do a top-notch job of scrambling eggs. I simply thought I was just doing an ordinary task.

What's my secret?


I don't get distracted.

I'm not dashing around the kitchen, the rest of the house or even the yard. I'm not over on the family room couch reading the sports page. I'm standing right there by the stove keepin' those eggs movin'.

That's it.

Oh, I also keep the electric burner set at the high end of the "Low" range. And I stir with one of those rubber-tipped cleaning spatulas -- the curved part of the spatula allows me to sweep around the edge of the frying pan, avoiding egg-film build-up.

Scrambled eggs are easy. What I need to figure out is how to do a decent job of frying three or so eggs at a time when the frying pan tilts due to the weight of the handle. Those #@*&&@! eggs just run into each other.



posted by Donald at October 12, 2006


I love scrambled eggs. I typically cook them in butter, and add scallions, a little salt, pepper and basil.

Posted by: Alec on October 12, 2006 2:53 PM

Another trick is to take them off the burner while they're still slightly runny: the residual heat will finish cooking them while you're getting ready to serve them. You want to avoid the horror of sweating scrambled eggs, which happens when they overcook.

Posted by: Intellectua Pariah on October 12, 2006 3:46 PM

Right-on with the rubber spatula.

Scrambled eggs are a favorite dish of mine, and I've spelled out my method of preparing them in this post from 2004 that may be of some interest to other scrambled egg aficionados:


Posted by: A.C. Douglas on October 12, 2006 3:51 PM

What I need is a way to open soft-boiled eggs without risking burned fingertips or nasty bits of shell. (I prefer the runny eggs over rice with cheese and hot sauce.)

Posted by: J. Goard on October 12, 2006 3:54 PM

Ok, THIS I know something about.

To make the best scrambled eggs on planet earth, get eggs from grain fed or free range chickens so they don't have that fishy taste that I detect from the mass production egg factories.

In a small whipping bowl break three or four eggs. Pour in about a quarter cup of raw goat milk. Add a few shakes of medium ground sea salt (Alessio). Whisk the contents briskly for about a minute until you see small bubbles consistently throughout. Now this is important. In a mediuam size TEFLON coated pan, pour in enough virgin olive oil to cover the bottom just barely. Empty the bowl of whisked eggs into the pan and turn to medium heat. Make sure you have a plate handy. After you pour the eggs into the pan, start stirring the eggs immediately with the plastic spatula and do not stop until the eggs are ready. They will begin to congeal on your spatula, but keep moving the eggs around. After you have to start picking up parts of the egg and fold them over or turn them, you're almost there. As soon as the last of the liquid parts have congealed, take the eggs out and put them on your plate. LET THEM REST FOR A FEW MINUTES. By the time they have cooled off enough to eat, they have also cooked a little more. Always keep that in mind. An egg's worst enemy is excessive cooking. So take them off BEFORE they're finished and they will be perfect by the time you dip your fork into them. Don't bother to thank me.

Posted by: Charlton Griffin on October 12, 2006 3:55 PM

Melt some butter in a non-stick pan, pur in the egg, flip ONCE with rubber spatula, take off of heat just as the last bit of liquid is almost congealed. Serve 2-4 minutes later.

My scrambled eggs rock. Restaurant quality.

Posted by: the patriarch on October 12, 2006 4:36 PM

To keep fried eggs from running into each other, cook them at first inside crumpet rings or use small, tuna-sized tin cans -- thoroughly cleaned out, opened on both ends, buttered on the insides.

Posted by: Aliena on October 12, 2006 6:57 PM

The key is definitely low heat, rubber spatula, constant stirring (spatulizing?) and a couple tablespoons butter. If done right they should be glossy and have the texture of cottage cheese.

Posted by: Spungen on October 12, 2006 8:01 PM

Why would you spoil a perfectly good omelette by constantly stirring the eggs?!?

You Americans never cease to amaze me.

Posted by: Tat on October 13, 2006 11:53 AM

Tat, you try my scrambled eggs and I guarantee you're not going to like them any other way.

Posted by: Charlton Griffin on October 13, 2006 2:11 PM

A challenge?
I promise to try your scrambled eggs, Charlton, if you try my (or, rather, Escoffier's) omelette with herbs. (to illustrate, see here)

Posted by: Tat on October 13, 2006 2:46 PM

Tat, done! However, keep in mind that my method is extraordinarily simple. Four ingredients: eggs, goat milk, olive oil, salt. You're talking about an entire cuisine whereas the point of this article is not how complex your recipe is, but how to cook scrambled eggs. Once you begin to add other ingredients, you are suddenly involved in an entirely different level of cooking. Actually, you could follow my advice without the milk and still end up with a superb scrambled egg. And by the way, scrambled eggs and omellettes are quite different. Bon appetite!

Posted by: Charlton Griffin on October 13, 2006 5:43 PM

And by the way, scrambled eggs and omellettes are quite different.

Make that, entirely different. Like comparing the proverbial apples and oranges.


Posted by: A.C. Douglas on October 13, 2006 6:39 PM

What could be simpler than that:
"The eggs are beaten, seasoned and poured in an omelet-pan containing very hot butter, stir briskly with a fork in order to heat the whole evenly, and if the omelet is to be garnished it should be done before rolling up."?

If you look up the recipe, down the list @the link, you'll see it has 3(three) ingredients: eggs, butter, herbs. That's it. Salt and spices to taste.

I add some fresh milk or sour cream, my grandma used to add wee bit of flour when whisking the eggs. The whole "cuisine" is in the ability to fold in the edges at exactly the right moment.

Posted by: Tat on October 13, 2006 6:42 PM

Mmm. Scrambled eggs. I must admit, I'm a terrible egg scrambler. And even worse at making omlets. But I do pretty good deviled eggs!

Posted by: sya on October 14, 2006 2:31 PM

And - A.C - it's an exaggeration of operatic proportions.

Posted by: Tat on October 15, 2006 5:55 PM

Yipes! Non-stick pans! Can't yuo taste even a bit of the Non-stickness? To each his own.
Two heaping tablespoons of olive oil heated up in a well seasoned wok. Intensely whisk 3 jumbo eggs with sea salt and a few grinds of a pepper mill with this. Frothy is one of the keys.
The heated oil should be just on the verge of smoking.
Drop in a slice of butter.
Wait for the pat to melt.
Pour the frothy eggs in.
Leave the heat on HIGH. They should be jumping from the edge of the wok.
Let the eggs seize slightly, then gently rake them with a fork.
In 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, the scrambled eggs should be finished with just a slight hint of brown.

Some crusty bread and a smile.

Posted by: DarkoV on October 16, 2006 11:46 AM

..oh, and why is this tool needed to make scrambled eggs?
Because, as every man knows, if any new activity or enterprise doesn't need a new tool, it's an activity/enterprise not worth considering.

My baka (grandmother), on the other hand, made 10 course meals using one wooden spoon. She also beat laundry clean with it. I just haven't been able to find that manufacturer. Maybe it was her prayers to St. Agnes of Prague that did the cooking trick.

Posted by: DarkoV on October 16, 2006 12:13 PM

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