Okay! It’s day 3 in our 20-Day/20-Part series of blog posts titled “Tips, Tricks, and Secrets of Professional Chefs”.
We’re taking you inside the professional kitchen to show you the techniques that chefs use to make their dishes just a little tastier, a little easier, and a little quicker than the home chef has been taught to do.
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Yesterday, we talked about chefs use compound-butters to take steaks, chops, and chicken to the next level, in our post “Buttering Up”.
Today, let’s take a look at…
Secret #3: Perfect Scrambled Eggs
Scrambled eggs are one of my favorite foods. I mean, really, can it get much better that a good, farm-fresh egg, a little butter, and a kiss of sea-salt?
I think not.
After decades of scrambling eggs (my favorite preparation), I totally changed up my recipe about a year ago, when I learned, from the great Lady herself, Julia Child (well, from her cookbook, anyway) the secret to making the best scrambled eggs…e-ver.
It’s pretty simple…DO NOT STIR YOUR EGGS!
Instead, draw your flat-edge wooden spoon slowly across the bottom of the pan, from edge to center, reaching all over the bottom of the pan. Add the cream and continue, drawing eggs to the center every 10 seconds or so.
The fat in the cream coats the proteins in the egg white and yolk, preventing the loss of too much liquid and yielding light, fluffy eggs. (Cooking over low heat is key, as well.)
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Nothing will seem to happen for the first few minutes, and then suddenly the eggs will begin to thicken into a custard-like consistency. Now leave the eggs along, allowing them to cook until they have almost thickened to your desired consistency. (I like to leave them in until the bottoms just start to color).
A note on “farm fresh”: As you can see in this photo, there’s a striking visual difference in color between your typical store-bought eggs (top and bottom) and fresh, local eggs from a small farm. The key here is in the time elapsed from coup to plate, as well as the more natural diet that small-farm chickens typically have.
This richness in the color of the yolk is just as evident in the flavor of the cooked egg. Another trick that’s often used in restaurant kitchens, both to deepen the color and add a bit more flavor, is to add an extra egg-yolk, for every three whole eggs.
Personally, I’ve found that the recipe below is awesome enough that it doesn’t require a yolk-boost, but feel free to experiment!
Here’s how I make them…
French Scrambled Eggs
Adapted (by me) from “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” by Julia Child
Perfecting this recipe is as much (and maybe more) about the technique than it is about the ingredients.
Combine the eggs, pepper, and water in a mixing bowl, and beat lightly with a fork, just enough to mix, but not completely incorporate (you should still be able to define some of the whites from the yolks).
Sprinkle with a little sea-salt, to taste, and stir to coat the entire surface…preferably with a flat-edge wooden spoon.
Pour in the eggs, reduce heat to medium-low, and allow them to set, untouched, in the butter 20-30 seconds.
Slowly begin working your eggs toward the center of the pan (see the instructions, above.)
Nothing will seem to happen for the first few minutes, and then suddenly the eggs will begin to thicken into a custard-like consistency. Now leave the eggs alone, allowing them to cook until they have almost thickened to your desired consistency.
Sprinkle with cheese and remove from heat immediately (the eggs will continue to cook slightly.)
Re-season to taste, arrange on plates and garnish with parsley.
Oh, and (Julia forgive me)…I like my scrambled eggs with a little bit of spicy ketchup. Try it sometime!
Be sure to check back tomorrow for Secret #4 – Happiness is a Warm Plate
See ya then!