The Way to Cook: Eggs (scrambled)


“The Way to Cook: Eggs (scrambled)”

Is there really any better total protein than the incomparable egg? The debatable answer to that question I will leave to others. I would much prefer to enjoy that wonderful food in a most glorious yet simple way – scrambled! Yes, the basic scrambled egg that we grew up on is both a simple food to make and when made correctly, is glorious on an indulgent level! The absolute first cardinal rule to perfect scrambled eggs is very low heat! You cannot rush and cook wonderful scrambled eggs in a minute or so—just ain’t gonna happen folks! Think eggs; custard; eggs; custard –get the picture— it’s stirring and patience!

Whether I’m having them for breakfast, a light lunch, or my entrée for dinner, it is the technique of preparing them that makes all the difference in the world. In fact, I’ve become so finicky about my eggs that I am not at all hesitant about sending them back for proper preparation and presentation when dining out! So, let me tell you my way of cooking this creamy velvet of a dish.

First and foremost, I do like decadence when it comes to scrambled eggs! I want rich unsalted pure butter in them; I want no whites showing in the finished dish; and I want a small curd that’s oh-so-creamy. (The creaminess is not generated from adding milk; it’s the true creaminess of the egg itself that you want.) The reasons I use unsalted butter are twofold: There’s to be only one person in charge of the seasoning in my kitchen—that would be me, not the maker of the butter; as well as the fact that I like for the richness and quality of the butter to stand on its own!

One final quip before we are off to the kitchen: Unless I am making a sandwich that calls for it, I don’t want a scrambled egg that’s dry or with brown scorch spots as a result of overcooking! My goal every time is a creamy velvet-textured small-curd delight akin to a superb cottage cheese!

So, how do I achieve this end result? Well, as Aunt Emma T and Bunch would tell you: Consistency of technique brings learned perfection! So, let’s go to the kitchen and cook some “learned perfection” of scrambled eggs! (Note: You can read the story of these two fantastic cooks in volume one of the series – “Ham Bones: Memoirs of a Southern Cook!)

First, let’s get three large eggs; pull out a fork from the utensil drawer; a miniature hand-held whisk; a medium-size bowl; a small sauce pan; iodized table salt; and a stick of very high-quality European-style butter! Ah, the anticipation!

Though I keep my eggs refrigerated, I crack them and let them sit in a covered bowl for 20 minutes or so on the kitchen counter before working with them. Immediately afterwards, I turn on my stove to its highest setting and set my sauce pan on it for about 2 minutes—no more than that mind you! This is to temper my pan! Then, I move the pan to another eye on the stove where there is no heat happening; then turn my burner eye down to low! I now return my sauce pan to the burner that’s on low heat and put in two tablespoons of butter!
(Remember, I told you I like decadence in my scrambled eggs; but you can use one tablespoon of butter if you prefer. When I make these eggs for friends who have to watch their cholesterol, I actually use a margarine that is made with olive oil – and I call the finished dish ”Scrambled Eggs a la Olive Grove “– they are divine!)

Now, add to the eggs a liberal pinch of iodized salt (I use about ¼ teaspoons for three large eggs) and with great vigor, whisk the eggs profusely until well scrambled. (Now, now, boys and girls – don’t cheat! I do not want you to pull out your blender and blend the eggs, as blended eggs are not scrambled eggs! If you blend, you will not get the correct texture to which we are striving! Instead, you will get a fluffy soufflé-type omelet of an egg! I love omelet, but that’s another post at a later date—different technique!)

So, now that you’ve done your whole-arm exercise for the day, take a look at your sauce pan. Your butter should have slowly melted; a shallow sea of luscious yellowness with no browned butter. If your butter browned, you do not have your burner low enough. The butter should melt very slowly!

All at once, pour the entire bowl of salted eggs into the melted butter and turn your heat up — ONE notch only! Give the eggs about 30 seconds, and suddenly like a patient parent, use your fork to stir those eggs from center point out until you reach the outer edge of your sauce pan. Continue to do this from center point covering the complete circumference of the pan all of about 5 minutes. Keep stirring – do not let a flat skin set on the bottom of your pan – stir boys and girls, stir!!!

You should now begin to see small curds! Make sure you have the tines of the fork pointed downwards and from the center, start slowly stirring again – eggs will be wet (rather liquid yet) – but, take them off the heat completely and stir once more.  Finally, use the fork to now flip and flop the eggs within the pan then onto the plate and using the fork to finalize your curd size! If you removed the eggs from the heat timely, you will see a plate of soft creamy velvet-textured scrambled eggs that will be a love sonnet for your pallet! Enjoy!

All best wishes for good eating!


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The Way to Cook: Technique is Everything

HamBonesCookingTechniquesSo many times, what promises to be a fantastic dish to serve to one’s dinner guest, ends up being a disappointment. Something just didn’t go right in the preparation, but ya’ just can’t quite put ya’ finger on what went wrong! Over the years, I have found that it’s not so much what ya’ did, but how did ya’ do it!

Anytime I have a conversation about cooking techniques, I always refer readers to the first lesson I was taught on cooking technique – how to measure flour for a cake! That lesson was given to my mother by her sister, a home economist then passed on to me! Though the story is a bit of a comedy, it proves true in the baking world! I tell the story in the first volume of this series of Ham Bones cookbooks, (Memoirs of a Southern Cook).

I’m fielded quite frequently with telephone calls from friends adventuring in the kitchen with some new recipe. They usually want to know how I do a particular task to achieve something that they read in the recipe. As always, I am happy to share my techniques.

A particular feature in my “Ham Bones Blog” will be a frequent feature on cooking techniques. I am calling this feature “The Way to Cook”, with each post being a particular item/ingredient and proper methodology for preparing it for consumption.

In the next few days, be on the lookout for “The Way to Cook: Eggs (scrambled)”

All best wishes for good eating!


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