Scrambled Eggs

Appears in

Simple French Food

By Richard Olney

Published 1974

  • About

Correctly prepared, the softest of barely perceptible curds held in a thickly liquid, smooth, creamy suspension, scrambled eggs number among the very great delicacies of the table. They, like omelets, should be beaten but lightly with an addition of butter and, whether they be prepared over low, direct heat or in a bain-marie (their cooking utensil immersed in another containing nearly boiling water), they should be contained in a generously buttered heavy pan, preferably copper, which absorbs heat slowly and retains it for a long time. It is not only easier to precisely control the heat in a bain-marie, but also the cooking time is shortened, thanks to the heat’s being absorbed through the sides of the utensil as well as from the bottom. The eggs should be stirred constantly with a wooden spoon during their preparation, the sides and the bottom of the pan being repeatedly scraped, and they should be removed from the heat some moments before the desired consistency is achieved and stirred continuously for another minute or so, for they continue to cook from an absorption of heat contained in the pan. It is wise to remove them two or three times from the heat toward the end of the cooking to control more exactly the degree of creaminess and, once removed definitively from contact with heat, a small amount of heavy cream may be stirred in, arresting at once the cooking and underlining at the same time their caressing consistency. They may be served in butter-crisp containers carved out of crustless bread. Otherwise, if one is among friends, it is preferable to serve them directly from the cooking vessel onto warm, but not hot, plates and a wonderful additional garnish is the crisp, brown-butter note of croutons, either scattered over the surface or stirred into the eggs at the moment of serving.