Scrambled eggs often are the first dish we learn to cook but, as many a regular at American diners have painfully learned, they can be dreadful if cooked badly. Following are some tips on making excellent scrambled eggs.
o Don’t use old eggs – 1 week in the fridge is enough. Egg shells are porous and can absorb odors and lose moisture. The less time in the fridge, the better.
o Pick the right pan. Nonstick pans guarantee that the eggs won’t adhere to the bottom and sides of the skillet, making clean up easier. A well seasoned cast iron skillet will work, too. And pick the right size skillet for the number of eggs you are scrambling. Eight inches is good for 2 to 4 eggs, but if you’re scrambling six or more, choose a large pan with plenty of surface area.
o Avoid additions like milk and cream. Good, fresh eggs are really all you need, and added liquid could separate during cooking, resulting in wet, overcooked eggs. (Some can’t resist adding a pat or two of butter towards the end of cooking for luxuriously creamy eggs.)
o Don’t crack your eggs into the pan. Crack them into a bowl or measuring cup and whisk them vigorously to break up the yolks, create a uniform consistency and add air and volume for fluffy eggs. And whisk them just before you pour them into the hot skillet. Scrambled eggs cracked directly into the pan will be streaky.
o While a wooden spoon is classic, it won’t reach into the seam where the sides of the pan connect with the bottom. A silicone spatula works well here, and, unlike a metal spatula, it won’t scratch a nonstick surface.
o Some use oil for scrambled eggs, but butter is best. Heat should be at low to medium to maintain maximum control over the consistency of the scramble and avoid over cooking. If you worried the eggs are cooking too fast, take them off the heat and continue to stir them.
o For creamy eggs, stir often. If you want large, fluffy curds, use a sweeping motion with the spatula, covering as much surface area as possible. For smaller, finer curds, whisk in small, rapid circles. If you want a mousse-like consistency, whisk vigorously.
o Don’t overcook. Take the eggs off heat while they still look wet, but not runny. Remember that they will continue cooking after you remove them from the heat. If you must wait to serve them at table, transfer them to a platter because the skillet will continue to cook them.
o Additions like cheese should be added no sooner than halfway through cooking, allowing time to melt, but not to separate. Herbs should be added after the eggs have been removed from the heat, when they are nearly finished cooking. Salt and pepper should be added at the very end of the cooking process. Salt can break eggs down and leave them watery.
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