Monday, May 24, 2010

scrambled egg toast

scrambled egg toast with goat cheese

Let me get this out of the way from the get-go: I cannot believe I’m discussing scrambled eggs today. I like to think of myself as somewhat particular in vetting out what I think is worthy or not worthy of your humble click over here, and I can’t say that scrambled eggs would normally make the cut. In fact, if you are happy with your scrambles, if you’re pretty sure you’ve got that whole moving the egg around the pan thing down pat, I won’t even be offended if you come back next time, when I figure out what to do with the four pounds of strawberries in my fridge. Or last time, when we made rhubarb tarts.

egg pretties

But this is for the rest of us, myself even, who do not let anyone else, not restaurant, not short-order griddle guy at the bodega, nobody, make our scrambled eggs. Because they are, almost without fail, terrible: dry, stiff and overcooked with a telltale brown spot where they stuck to the pan, forgotten. Shudder. Scrambled eggs are best made at home, and where their path from frying pan to plate to fork to your belly is as short as possible. Scrambled eggs should have a short lifespan.

fork beaten

That’s my first tip. The next one is that they should always be taken out of the pan before they are done — I look for about 85 to 90 percent doneness, they should look a bit wet, enough to make you a little nervous. Don’t be. These blazing hot eggs continue cooking on the plate and I guarantee that by the time you get them from counter to table, fork to belly, they’ll be dreamy: cooked but not overcooked. Not even a little, thank goodness.

start with butternudgepullpushchoppy choppybreaking up the big bits

Last, and look, I’m sure this isn’t Proper Egg Scrambling Technique or anything, but to make them the way I like them, I go easy on the scrambling. I do a pour-pause-nudge-pause-push-pause-pull thing, lots of letting them set for a second or 10 before moving them again. I get them in a ribbony pile in the middle of the pan, break it up a little with my spoon or spatula, and eat them quickly. I guess I like a few pieces to bite into, to feel like I’m consuming something more than coddled mush.

softly scrambled egg, toast, chives

And with that, that “coddled mush” remark, I think my real secret is out: you see, I am not a scrambled egg person which means I’ve got some gall advising you on yours. But when I started making them this way — plus a thick piece of toast, smear of goat cheese and sprinkle of garlic chives — I became one. I started making up for lost time; they have been breakfast, lunch and dinner in the last week; even my Sunday bagel was no longer deemed acceptable. Don’t you hate it when that happens?

breakfast

One year ago: Tartar Slaw
Two years ago: 30 Ways to Be a Good Guest [This could easily be 60 now, but 30 isn't a bad place to start, right?]
Three years ago: Cellophane Noodle Salad with Roast Pork

Scrambled Egg Toast

For 1; scale as needed

2 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk, half-and-half or cream
1/8 teaspoon salt
Few grinds black pepper
2 teaspoons butter or olive oil
A 1-inch thick piece of bread
1 tablespoon goat cheese, softened a bit (though cream cheese is a great swap here)
1 teaspoon chives or scallion greens, thinly sliced

Set your table and pour your coffee. I am an absolutely nut about eating my eggs the second they come out of the pan, and to do this, your table needs to be ready for you; your troops should be gathered. Toast your bread, then smear it with the goat cheese and sprinkle it with half the chives. Set it aside. (P.S. If you decide to butter it before adding the goat cheese, I will not tell anyone.)

Beat eggs with milk, salt and pepper in a small bowl, with a fork, until combined, with a few big bubbles. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-low heat; once hot, add butter. Once butter is melted and foamy, add eggs and pause; count to 20 if you must, but let those eggs begin to set up before you start nudging away at them. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, begin push your eggs once from the outside to the center of the pan and pause again; count to 5 if you must, before continuing with another push. Continue in this manner around the pan as if you were trying draw spokes of a wheel through your eggs with your spatula, pausing for 5 seconds after each push. Go around the pan as many times as needed, until your eggs in the center are ribbony damp pile — it should look only 75 percent cooked. Use your spoon or spatula to break up this pile into smaller chunks — to taste. Your eggs should now look almost 90 percent cooked.

Immediately remove the pan from the heat and pile the scrambled eggs bits high on your goat cheese toast. Sprinkle with an additional grind of black pepper and remaining chives. Eat immediately.


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