Perfect Scrambled Eggs

I took the day off from work today.

After mowing the lawn, watering the garden, and refilling the bird feeder, I decided to treat myself to one of the most basic, yet misunderstood, of food preparations – the scrambled egg.

If your exposure to scrambled eggs has only been in restaurants, or at brunch buffet lines, then you probably do not understand my enthusiasm for the dish.  After all, it’s only eggs and butter, something to be whipped up quickly and in mass quantities for a crowd, right?

But that’s the problem – our society has taught us to interpret scrambled eggs as a dish that’s to be made as quickly as possible.  Here’s the real truth – haste is the enemy of scrambled eggs.  High heat makes for tough, dried out eggs, and result in the short-order scrambled eggs that you find in diners, and the egg jerky that you find in buffets that’s been sitting over a sterno flame for an hour.

Preparing perfect scrambled eggs requires the exact opposite of the process to make an omelette.  When sauteing an omelette, you want to work quickly, tilting and swirling your pan to coat the bottom with egg, over the highest possible heat so that the egg sets and you can roll it around whatever filling you’ve chosen.

For scrambled eggs, you want to cook them as gently as possible, over the lowest heat possible, to yield the most delicate structure that you can.  Perfect scrambled eggs should take a long time to make, and should just barely hold together.  It’s a spot-on dish for a day off from work.

This is my recipe for Perfect Scrambled Eggs.  You can jazz it up a number of ways, which I am sure will show up here soon, but today we’re starting with the basic master recipe.  As with all recipes with fewer than five ingredients, the better the quality of your ingredients, the better the final product.  Find the best eggs and butter you can get your hands on.

Perfect Scrambled Eggs

3 eggs, preferably organic or at least free range
Freshly ground pepper

Take a nonstick pan and set it over medium heat.  Place about 2 Tbs of butter into the pan, and keep an eye on it while you whip your eggs up.  You want to let that melt, and tilt the pan so that it gets an even coat of butter.  Once your butter is melted, turn the heat to the lowest possible setting. [note - all of my recipes presume gas cooking; if you are working off of electric burners, have one set to low and transfer the pan over to that one]

Crack the eggs into a small bowl, and use a whisk or fork to stir them up until you have a uniform beaten egg mix.  Pour the eggs into the pan.

Take a nonstick spatula or spoon, and give the eggs a good stir.  Wait a bit.  Stir some more.  What you’re doing here is incorporating the bits of egg that have cooked into the bits of egg that haven’t yet cooked.  As the eggs heat up, they’ll start to slowly firm up – the key is to reach this point in as much time as possible.  Avoid the temptation to turn up the heat – the eggs will cook faster, but they will be nowhere near as delicate, and you will have missed the fun train.

When the eggs are done to your liking, tip them into a serving bowl and top with a fresh grinding of pepper and some salt.  Welcome to the world of real scrambled eggs.