We all know how to cook scrambled eggs, right? Stir them up, put them in a hot pan and stir.
But eggs actually need a little TLC to be their best selves. And by TLC I mean gentle heat. Even fried eggs should be cooked at medium-low heat. Don’t think of them as being fried, as much as being “gently sauteed” — unless you like the metallic taste that comes from browned egg whites.
Much to my chagrin, two members of my family do indeed like that browned egg flavor. Heretics! So I have a two-step process for my scrambled eggs. First I cook them low and slow, stirring regularly, so they’re nice and soft and custardy. Not runny and raw, mind you, but tender and moist. They’ll keep cooking a bit after you remove them from the heat, so don’t be afraid to pull them off while they still look wet.
After I take enough out of the pan for myself and the one other member of my family who is in her right mind, I crank up the heat to medium-high and cook the remaining eggs until firm and beginning to get a little brown, for the heretics.
Aside from the medium-low temperature, I have another trick to ensure tender eggs: Add a little water or milk to the eggs before whisking. The liquid will help the eggs trap air bubbles while you whisk, which will result in fluffy eggs. This is how the French make their tender, light omelets.
Stirring regularly ensures the eggs cook evenly. And I always add the herbs and cheese at the end. The residual heat from the eggs will gently melt the cheese so it doesn’t break and get oily, and it warms the herbs while retaining their bright flavor.
I love locally made semi-soft cheeses in my scrambles, such as Mt. Townsend Creamery’s Off Kilter toma. It’s washed in Pike Brewing Company’s Kilt Lifter Scotch Ale. It doesn’t taste like beer, but it’s silky and earthy and the beer-wash gives it a slight sweetness.
Softly Scrambled Eggs With Chives and Semi-Soft Cheese
Makes 4 to 6 servings
Pasture-raised eggs from a local farm can be quite expensive, so I tend to buy supermarket humane/free-range eggs for baking, and reserve the truly free-range eggs from pasture-raised hens for times when the eggs are in the spotlight. In simple recipes like this, we can really appreciate their rich flavor and bright color.
1 dozen pasture-raised eggs
2 tablespoons water, milk or cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 to 3 ounces semi-soft cheese, such as a toma/tomme or taleggio, cut into nickel-sized pieces
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the eggs with the water, milk or cream, and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk vigorously for about 1 minute until it eggs begin to look frothy.
Place a large saute pan over medium-low heat. After about 1 minute, add the olive oil and tilt the pan to coat. Add the eggs and cook, stirring regularly, until eggs are cooked but still look a little wet. Remove from heat and add chives and cheese. Let stand for 1 minute to allow the hot eggs to heat the herbs and cheese, then gently fold them in and serve.