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Simple Pleasures: How To Make Perfect Scrambled Eggs

Written by the YesChef staff

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Francis Mallmann Teaches his Open-Fire Grilling
Francis Mallmann Teaches his Open-Fire Grilling
Francis Mallmann
Teaches his Open-Fire Grilling
Scrambled Eggs. Breakfasts don’t get much more basic than scrambled eggs. Or do they? In fact, there’s actually a science to the process, and a variety of tricks, that you can learn to help you cook scrambled eggs much better than you do now. Making scrambled eggs comes with some pitfalls but also so many opportunities and possibilities, as scrambled eggs can be prepared in all kinds of cool ways and in a broad range of environments. In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about how to make the best scrambled eggs. And you will learn how to master an easy egg recipe – including both a classic scrambled eggs recipe and a broken scrambled egg recipe – from the great Argentine chef Francis Mallmann, who will explain and demonstrate some of his most important tips involving scrambled eggs while warning against some of the dangers.
Francis Mallmann
Teaches his Open-Fire Grilling

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What Are Scrambled Eggs?

“What are scrambled eggs?” This might seem like a question that is silly or obvious. But how often have you actually thought about how a small and solitary egg, upon being cracked open and rapidly manipulated and exposed to heat, expands and transforms into a fluffy dish full of flavor? Probably never. So here you go, with an explanation. 

  Scrambled eggs are a dish that is created when egg yolks and egg whites, along with seasonings like salt and pepper and sometimes a dairy product such as milk or cream, are whisked together and cooked in a pan. Scrambled eggs are served in a diverse array of settings, from all-night greasy spoon diners and urban street corners to buffet brunches and upscale restaurants – and as such, scrambled eggs are prepared and presented in many ways.

What’s the Difference Between Scrambled Eggs, Fried Eggs, Poached Eggs, and Hard-Boiled Eggs?

There are numerous ways to cook eggs. Scrambled eggs typically differ from these other methods because making scrambled eggs involves mixing the yokes and whites together into a single liquid. Here is a description of some of the other main egg dishes.

Fried Eggs: Fried eggs are made when you crack whole raw eggs into a frying pan or skillet. The fried egg, also sometimes known as a sunny-side-up egg, is then left cooking in the pan with the yolk still whole. Fried eggs are not flipped, and the egg yolk is left as a liquid while the egg white sets to some degree. An over-easy egg is a sunny-side-up egg at first, but unlike with an over-easy egg it is flipped over onto the yolk side, which cooks a little but still retains its runny texture.

Poached Eggs: Poached eggs are a bit of a different story. The poached egg is made after you crack an egg open and cook it in a boiling liquid like a broth, water, or sauce. If you enjoy Eggs Benedict, you might know that this particular brunch staple consists of a poached egg that sits atop an English muffin – and that it includes Hollandaise sauce along with bacon or ham.

Hard-Boiled Eggs: Hard-boiled eggs are placed, whole and in the shell, into a pot with boiling water. They are left alone while cooking and then removed when both the egg yolk and the egg white have set completely. (A soft-boiled egg is approached the same, at first, but is removed from the pot earlier so that the yolk remains runny.)

Of course, there are many other types of cooked eggs too, from shirred eggs (baked in a ramekin, with liquid yolks and set whites) to omelets (eggs cooked in a frying pan and folded over with ingredients inside) to frittatas (omelet-like but left unfolded).

How to Make Perfect Scrambled Eggs

Follow these tips to make the best scrambled eggs:
  1. Use Low or Medium Heat: Using high heat risks drying out and / or burning your scrambled eggs. Scrambled eggs are much better consumed with happiness than eaten disappointedly or tossed into the trash bin.
  2. Constant Turning: With your spatula, repeatedly turn over your eggs – with a scooping technique – from top to bottom of the pan. This nonstop motion will help ensure that your scrambled eggs do not cook unevenly.
  3. Finish with Milk or Cream: Adding dairy at the end (if you decide to use it), rather than before cooking, will yield the best flavor and texture for your scrambled eggs dish. If you put milk or cream into your mixture too early, prior to cooking, there is a risk your eggs will dry out or overcook because dairy products can make the consistency of the mixture too thin.

When Are Scrambled Eggs Ready?

You know your perfect scrambled eggs are ready when the texture of your eggs is creamy and fluffy but not runny or dry. But be aware: even after you remove your scrambled eggs from the heat, they will keep cooking for a brief period in the pan. So take your eggs off the heat about 30 seconds to a minute before they are completely ready.

This tactic is very important, Francis warns, to avoid overcooking. To ensure you don’t mess it up, watch the scrambled eggs closely while they are cooking and then remove them from the heat while they still look a little raw and runny. By the time you plate your eggs – adding any seasonings or toppings, putting the dish on a table, and waiting for your guests (or yourself) to sit down – the perfect scrambled eggs should be ready and waiting.

Uses for Scrambled Eggs

A list of the uses for scrambled eggs could fill a scroll that unfurls to the floor. Scrambled eggs can be consumed alone or with potatoes or set upon toast. They can be eaten in a sandwich, such as between slices of bread or a bagel – or stuffed amid fillings into the thick of a breakfast burrito. Francis makes his special scrambled eggs recipe with crispy pancetta on top. “It’s not very lean; it’s not very healthy,” Francis said recently with a chuckle, in reference to sliced a slab of smoked pork he was frying in butter in his kitchen in Patagonia, “but it’s very delicious.” The places in which you can eat scrambled eggs are diverse. Scrambled eggs are a staple dish of working class diners, where the eggs are cooked in pools of butter and / or bacon grease and served alongside bacon and buttery potatoes. Scrambled eggs are featured on the brunch menus of the world’s fanciest restaurants, where they are paired on plates with the finest herbs and ingredients. They are theatrically cooked, on the city streets of South Asia, amid the honking of auto horns and the plumes of spice-scented smoke. And at hotel buffets in Las Vegas, scrambled eggs are eagerly consumed with bacon – for the sole purpose of curing a rotten hangover – after a night of gambling and drinking at the casino and at a string of bars, respectively (Uhh, or so I’ve been told.)

Types of Scrambled Eggs

Even within the scrambled egg category, there are variations on the dish and thus choices you will need to make related to the consistency and appearance of your scrambled eggs. Do you want soft scrambled eggs? Creamy scrambled eggs? Fluffy scrambled eggs? Spiced scrambled eggs? Yes, the subject of scrambled eggs keeps getting more interesting!

Fluffy Scrambled Eggs: Make your scrambled eggs fluffy by whisking them, along with milk and seasonings, in a medium bowl. Add butter to your skillet or frying pan, pour your beaten eggs in, and – cooking over medium heat (not low heat this time) – wait before turning your egg with the spatula. Once the bottom of the solution sets, and puffs of egg form, you can mix away.

Soft Scrambled Eggs: To make soft scrambled eggs, beat your eggs and then put them in a frying pan or skillet over low heat or medium-low heat. Continue stirring as the eggs slowly cook. With some patience, the result will be a plate of extremely rich and creamy scrambled eggs.

Spicy Indian Scrambled Eggs: Spicy Indian scrambled eggs are more colorful, fragrant, and fun than classic scrambled eggs. Known as anda bhurji, these eggs – which are eaten as a street food in India –  are cooked with spices as well as onions and tomatoes.

Classic Scrambled Eggs vs. Broken Scrambled Eggs

In his YesChef lesson, Francis describes and demonstrates the difference between making classic scrambled eggs and making broken scrambled eggs.

To make classic scrambled eggs, Francis whisks eggs in a bowl and then puts the mixture into a pan over medium heat. With broken scrambled eggs, he breaks eggs on the side of the frying pan and puts them directly into the pan without whisking the eggs first. Inside, he breaks them up a little – but not too much – so that “you can see a little bit of white and a little bit of yellow,” Francis says with a fond smile. “I love that.”

Both with classic scrambled eggs and broken scrambled eggs, Frances adds salt and pepper after taking them off the stove and putting them on a plate. He tops each version of scrambled eggs with a crispy piece of pancetta.

The Difference Between American Scrambled Eggs and French Scrambled Eggs

You might say that the difference between American and French scrambled eggs  parallels common perceptions about the American and French peoples, cultures, and cuisines at large. French scrambled eggs, or Oeufs Brouillés, are cooked extremely slowly over a very low temperature, resulting in a much silkier, more delicate, and custard-like consistency than American scrambled eggs, which have a harder texture due to the presence of solid, substantial curds. The result, in appearance and taste, is an American scrambled egg that is far less regal and refined than a scrambled egg made in France.

What Ingredients Do You Need to Make Scrambled Eggs?

Here are some ingredients for making scrambled eggs.

Eggs: Eggs are, of course, the most essential ingredient to cooking scrambled eggs. 

The fresher the eggs the better, but if you do not raise your own chickens (chances are you do not) or have the luxury of moseying on down to a local farmers market, you can still make excellent scrambled eggs from eggs you bought at the supermarket. 

Salt and Seasonings: You will be hard-pressed to find a scrambled eggs recipe that doesn’t include salt – and for good reason. (But salt your scrambled eggs carefully and wisely; as with so many foods, over-salting your eggs will ruin them.) Other common seasonings to help you make perfect scrambled eggs include salt’s slightly-rebellious sibling, pepper (black pepper or white pepper work), hot sauce, chili powder, dill, basil, garlic, chili powder, and tarragon, among tons of other spices.

Butter: Scrambled eggs are typically cooked in a frying pan or skillet that is coated with butter. If dairy is not your thing, olive oil can also be a great option with which to cook scrambled eggs.

Milk or Cream: This is an optional step and based on personal preference. Milk and cream will thin out your egg mixture and create more of a custard-like consistency.

Francis Mallmann's Scrambled Eggs Recipe

Serves:
|
Hands-on: 5 mins
|
Total: 10 mins

Ingredients

  • 100 grams Panceta
    Or bacon (3.5 ounces).
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Fresh ground pepper
    To taste.
  • Sea salt
    To taste.

 

GEAR

  • Chef’s knife
  • Cutting board
  • Cast iron pan
    Or nonstick pan
  • Decorative platter

Recipe

  • Heat a cast-iron pan at medium heat.
  • Cut the panceta into thin slices (4 millimeters).
  • Cut off a slice of the fat and add to the pan to melt.
  • Transfer to the cast-iron pan.
  • Grill the panceta until it’s crunchy and crispy.
  • Flip and continue to cook until golden.
  • Whisk the eggs in a bowl.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a non-stick pan at medium heat.
  • Transfer the eggs to the pan.
  • With a spatula, move the eggs while they are cooking.
  • After about 5 minutes, turn off the heat.
  • The eggs will be mostly cooked, but still a bit raw.
  • Once the eggs reach the table they will be cooked perfectly.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Serve with the panceta on top.
Francis Mallmann Teaches his Open-Fire Grilling
Francis Mallmann Teaches his Open-Fire Grilling

Francis Mallmann

Francis Mallmann, the pioneer of open-fire cooking, is South America’s most famous chef and is known for his rustic open-fire cooking style in wild and remote locations. Join the James Beard award-winning author and Chef’s Table star as he brings you on a journey into his kitchen in the Patagonian wild where he teaches you how to master the grill and his Argentine-style barbecue.

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