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Practicing the basics: scrambled eggs

Scrambled eggs

Scrambled eggs are a breakfast mainstay. One of the nice parts about scrambling eggs is that you can cook a lot or a little; it takes about the same amount of time, and it’s possible to serve someone half a scrambled egg (good luck doing that with sunny-side-up fried eggs).

Scrambling eggs is easy; there are just three essential things to remember. First, eggs are a delicate protein that should be cooked over low heat. Second, stir a lot while they are cooking. Third, scrambled eggs are thick and dense enough to have some carryover cooking, so remove them from the heat while they are still a little wet.

You can scramble eggs in pretty much any pot or pan. Eggs like to stick, though, so non-stick pans definitely help.

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Time required: about 10 minutes (slightly longer for larger batches).

Ingredients:

  • Large eggs (roughly 2 per serving)
  • Milk, any fat percentage, 1 tbsp. per egg
  • Kosher salt, a dash per 2 eggs or roughly 1/8 teaspoon for every 4 eggs
  • Butter, margarine, or cooking oil to grease the pan: about 1 tsp. of butter or margarine or 1/2 tsp. of oil per egg

Combine eggs, milk and salt in a bowl. Beat with a fork or whisk until well combined and it runs freely off the fork or whisk when you lift it up. This will take 45-60 seconds. Don’t skimp on this; the consistency this gives you makes a difference in the resulting scrambled eggs.

Heat butter, margarine or oil in a pan over low heat. When butter or margarine sizzles, the pan is hot enough.

Pour the egg mixture into the pan.

When solid chunks start to appear, begin gently stirring with a heat-safe spatula. Don’t just stir in a circle; scrape off the bottom and fold it over the top as well to give it more fluff and thickness. Keep stirring and pay close attention: the eggs will solidify slowly at first and then suddenly very quickly.

When eggs have just a bit of moisture left, remove the pan from heat and scoop the eggs into a serving bowl or directly onto a plate. Even if you like your eggs dry, take them off the heat earlier because the carryover cooking will continue to try them out until they cool a bit.

Tips and suggestions:

  • You can substitute water for the milk. The water, like the milk, will boil off while cooking and the resulting steam will give the eggs more volume. But the milk gives the eggs a creamier flavor than water does.
  • You can add all sorts of additional ingredients to scrambled eggs. Chives, green onions, a dash of black pepper, diced bell pepper, crumbled bacon… in practice, there’s a very blurry spectrum between scrambled eggs and omelets, with a “southwestern scramble” and a “western omelet” somewhere in the middle. It’s your creation; do what you want.
  • If you want to add cheese, it’s probably better to sprinkle on shredded cheese right after you remove the cooked eggs from the pan and let it melt on top than trying to mix it in while cooking. Eggs have a habit of sticking; cheese sticks even more. Also, some cheeses (like cheddar) tend to break apart and leave a greasy mess if heated too much. (When adding cheese to an omelet, it’s usually done after the egg has mostly solidified, which avoids the problems when it’s mixed in with the egg while cooking.)