“Scrambled eggs have been made and massacred for as long as people knew about pots and pans, no doubt.” – MFK Fisher.
Whenever I want a simple but satisfying breakfast, I ask Paul to make scrambled eggs. Paul, who on other occasions is happy to play sous chef and wash dishes after a meal, takes over the kitchen like a Troisgros-trained three-star chef and produces – every time – the perfect scrambled eggs: moist, fluffy, and eggy.
He has been testing various methods for scrambling eggs since we were married five years ago. He doesn’t talk much about it and I don’t prod. But the other morning, when he made the single best plate of scrambled eggs I had ever eaten, I knew I had to get to the bottom of it.
So, after breakfast, I finally asked: What inspired his obsession with this dish?
Like a cooking instructor at the front of the class (he can expound on just about anything), he launched into a description of the various egg scrambling methods of Julia Child and MFK Fisher. Some of it I had heard before: Fisher’s recipe takes a half hour and produces wet, dense eggs; Julia’s recipe takes five minutes and produces wet and fluffy eggs.
What I didn't know was that he found a happy medium somewhere in between by accident one morning when he forgot to pre-heat the pan sufficiently so it was only medium-warm instead of sizzling hot. This produced eggs that were still fluffy but also eggy.
As a math major, jazz pianist, and business consultant, Paul has always been obsessed with puzzles and magic. Scrambling eggs, I believe, has an element of each. It blends chemistry with skill and chance to produce -- or not -- the perfect combination of elements.
Paul's Scrambled Eggs
1/8 cup milk
Separate the yolks in one large bowl and the whites are in another, smaller bowl. Add the milk to the yolk bowl.
Heat a heavy non-stick pan.
Whisk the whites vigorously for 30 – 45 seconds.
Gently whisk the yolks with the milk. Pour the yolks into the fluffed up whites. Season the mixture with salt and pepper.
Add a tablespoon of butter to the pan. The pan should not be so hot that it sizzles. Coat the bottom of the pan with the butter.
Before the butter is entirely melted, pour the egg mixture in. Let it begin setting. Very gently push it around with a spatula to create large folds. Let it set some more, and push it around again, striving to maintain large folds. After a minute or so, the egg touching the pan should be cooked while the egg on the surface should be wet. Immediately serve with warm buttered toast.