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Monday, March 23, 2009
When I found out that my CSA provider, Wholearth, had farm fresh eggs available, I immediately ordered two dozen Jersey Giant eggs. Oh eggs... one of the reasons why I could never become a vegetarian (as noble as it is....) Perhaps I could give up eating chicken or fish under the threat of death... but a life without eggs? That would be unfathomable. Eggs can do so many things and I have always loved their versatility (think scrambled, over easy, sunny side up, soft-boiled, hard-boiled, coddled, poached….) and their flavour.
Of course, you can get eggs from ducks, quails, ostriches (!) among others, but the eggs I am referring to come from that ubiquitous farm yard animal, the humble chicken. These little ova are high in protein, minerals and vitamins and low in saturated fats.
There was a phase, I think, in the nineties where people stopped eating eggs because of high levels of cholesterol and then started eating them again when it was found that it was “good” cholesterol versus “bad” cholesterol. Then Omega-3 eggs came out & those eggs tasted tasted oddly fishy. (They have corrected this now!) Well, like gladiator shoes, eggs are back.
In our house, eggs never left the kitchen. (We never even dabbled in those cartons of egg substitute products. Not saying they are not good, but compared to the real thing? There are few simple pleasures as cracking an egg onto a hot sizzling skillet.) I see them as a fundamental part of how I cook... Just think, how would I get my meatballs to stick together? And how would I ever make a smooth velvety custard again? Or even eggs as a dish unto itself? Deviled eggs, anyone?
I know everyone has a way of making scrambled eggs and to be honest, this is a dish I prefer to eat at home. In fact, they have been cooked to my exact liking only once and that was in a hotel in Kathmandu. But that seems like a long way to go for such an easy dish.
Here is my complaint with most scrambled eggs: almost always overdone thus producing a rubbery and dry curd. If you develop one kitchen skill this year, please let it be how to make a proper scrambled egg with pale yellow, moist and glossy curds. If you do this, I will be right over to breakfast and you will be loved and exalted by your friends and family for your culinary mastery.
Admittedly, the recipe below is a bit fancy. Yes, it's Gordon Ramsay's recipe. They are out of this world, but no, you don’t always have to make eggs this way. Consider this a special occasion scrambled egg. This is the dish you pull out if you are trying to warm your way into someone’s heart.
If you don’t have crème fraiche, leave it out or try a tablespoon of sour cream. (It won't taste the same, but is still very nice.) However, the principles of making good scrambled eggs stand regardless: take your time, do not use a high heat (regulate by taking it off the burner if you have to), and stop cooking before your eggs are fully cooked. The residual heat will continue to cook the eggs even after you have removed it from the burner (this is called cross-over cooking time) and scrambled eggs should be soft, pillowy and should easily yield under your fork.
Gordon Ramsay’s Scrambled Eggs
Admittedly, I have made eggs in a more conventional and straight-forward manner, but having made these eggs several times now, it is worth the extra effort if you have the time to make it this way. The result is a very tender and glossy curd and is an excellent way to begin a morning.
3 tbsp butter, cut into chunks
1 tbsp crème fraiche
snipped chives & sea salt for garnish
1. Crack the eggs into a small saucepan. Add butter pieces and heat slowly under medium-low heat. Stir continuously with a spatula until eggs are fully incorporated and butter begins to melt.
2. Remove off heat for a moment and continue to stir, gently turning and flipping over the curds. Return to heat again turning and flipping the curds. (It is important not to rush this step, the eggs are cooking slowly through this process. Turning them over ensures that there are no hot spots and the result is evenly cooked, glossy eggs.) This process should take about 5-7 minutes.
3. Once eggs are no longer runny, but not dry (glossy but distinct mounds of egg are visible), turn off heat. And fold in crème fraiche and chives.
4. Spoon onto toasted wholegrain bread and finish with a sprinkle of sea salt.
5. Serve immediately.