12 September 2010

Slow Eggs

Until today, I'd always scrambled eggs in a hot skillet—fast. Today I loosely followed Mark Bittman's recipe for Best Scrambled Eggs and found that this (much) slower version—an estimated 40 minutes—over low heat, produces a much softer and creamier scramble. By the way, this recipe is from the original How to Cook Everything, or The Big Yellow Book. It has been rewritten and is now The Big Red Book.

I used to follow recipes religiously. If I didn't have all of the ingredients or equipment exactly as specified, I wouldn't do it. But one of my roommates, who makes cookies without an electric mixer and substitutes this for that has inspired me to be more flexible. For this recipe, because I was cooking for one, I used 3 eggs instead of 5, kosher salt because I love it, skipped the tarragon because I don't have it and used a tablespoon of milk instead of 2 tablespoons of cream because I don't have that either.
Best Scrambled Eggs
Makes 2 servings

2 to 4 tablespoons butter
5 eggs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon leaves or 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
2 tablespoons cream

1. Place a medium skillet, preferably non-stick, over medium heat for about 1 minute. Add the butter and swirl it around the plan. After the butter melts, but before it foams, turn the heat to low.
2. Beat the eggs with the remaining ingredients and pour into the skillet. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. At first nothing will happen; after 10 minutes or so, the eggs will begin to form curds. Do not lose patience: Keep stirring, breaking up the curds as they form, until the mixture is a mass of soft curds. This will take 30 minutes or more. Serve immediately, with lots toast.
Did you misread "toast" as "roast" like I did? Mark Bittman's writing sounds like a friend in the kitchen: "At first nothing will happen," "Do not lose patience."

The time it takes for the eggs to form curds is good for pan frying a few slices of Trader Joe's organic polenta with some olive oil on a neighboring burner. 4-5 minutes on each side is sufficient. A dollop of sour cream goes well with both the polenta and the eggs, and a sprig of basil looks good in photos.

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