It’s taken me almost 40 years to learn how to make the best scrambled eggs. That ubiquitous breakfast food, the food that most tender tummies can handle, the very first comfort food I remember shouldn’t be so difficult to make.
In my 20s, I went through phases of adding – milk, heavy cream, sour cream, cream cheese. I tried them one at a time, but none of these really made the eggs taste better. So then I thought, it must be the pan I’m using – and promptly absconded with the small copper-bottomed skillet that my mom used to use. Nope. Not the flavor I was looking for, sad to say.
In my teens, I spent one memorable Spring Vacation at a friend’s beach house in Laguna Beach while my parents were in Oregon, and my friend’s older really cute brother made us scrambled eggs and he put everything in them. Cut up pieces of salami, cheese, onions, bell pepper, mushrooms, worcestershire sauce, and a little bit of mustard were stirred into a whole dozen eggs before they ever hit the hot, sizzling pan. That is still my second favorite way to have scrambled eggs.
In our first house, my husband found a small skillet in the dumpster behind our condo complex, a perfectly good pan that looked like it would be perfect for omelets. So for years, I made my eggs in that pan, and it served. And slowly, I forgot about my quest for the perfect scrambled eggs.
Then, this year I was talking with one of the geologists in my office about cooking, and he said to me, you know the secret to good scrambled eggs? My whole body sprang to alertness, like a hound dog on a scent. I begged him to tell me.
Fat. A good solid pat of butter or tablespoon of olive oil in the bottom of the pan, melted over high heat. Then once the eggs go in, cook them as fast as you can. The less time on the heat, the better.
I took his words to heart and went back to looking for the perfect scrambled eggs. But it wasn’t until, in desperation, I ended up using a cast-iron skillet about six inches across that I got closer to perfection. And once I just kept stirring the egg, dragging the fork through it again and again and never lifting that fork from the pan, that I got it even closer.
The last bit that sent the eggs to perfection? Taking them off the heat when they were still just a little bit shiny. I’d been so used to cooking them until they were dull that it never occurred to me that I was over-cooking them. The first time I served the eggs that way, my oldest son and I had an epiphany over them.
“Good eggs,” he muttered.
“Oh yeah,” I answered back. (Our epiphanies aren’t very eloquent.)
They were very slightly buttery, light, creamy and perfect. To recap – Good pat of butter + cast iron pan + high heat + quick cooking and lots of stirring = Nirvana Scrambled Eggs.
I discovered how to make the perfect scrambled eggs…and it only took me 40 years to do so. The lesson to be learned? In the words of Winston Churchill…”nevah, nevah, nevah give up”.
~ Until the next time, cheers – and remember to drink responsibly! ~
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Yes, that is the perfect way to scramble eggs. Hint: if you like your scrambled eggs fluffy, whisk in 1 teaspoon of room temp water with each egg before adding to pan. Helps keep them fluffy and tender. Try it and tell me what you think?
Oh, you know? I totally forgot about adding water – haven’t done that in decades. Thanks!
Hi Christine. Your friend was right. A pat of real butter and a high temp but we MUST get the eggs in before the butter burns.
You are completely right. Whenever I brown the butter, the eggs don’t come out the same. Thanks for the reminder!
I love scrambled eggs and you are so right about the over cooking. It is the key to take them off while they aren’t completely done. They keep cooking like all foods do from their own heat and if left in the pan, the heat of the pan.
Absolutely, Maria – which is why my eggs always turned out so dry. By cooking them until they were completely set, and then leaving them in the pan until the toast was done, I managed to turn them into not-quite-rubber eggs. Ick, in retrospect!
I love my cast iron, and cook most of the time in it. My mom had a huge collection of cast iron, which is still at my Dad’s. I’ve already put dibs on the crepe pan, and the humongous frying pan… (they’re kind of an integral part of the kitchen decor…). I have found that to keep the eggs from sticking that I need to have more olive oil than a tablespoon or two, and it needs to be swirled up the sides just before pouring the eggs in.
I like kitchen sink eggs, too! But even though I raise chickens and have about 10 eggs per day from my girls, I don’t eat eggs often. Mostly, I make frittata, but in the cast iron pan.
Old cast iron is gold! The new stuff isn’t anywhere near as good, in my opinion. And I LOVE frittata…yum yum!