I was in graduate school when I decided to master scrambled eggs. Like many students, I didn’t have a ton of disposable income. But I loved good food, and I took to heart this quote from James Beard: âIt’s a real economy to use the best ingredients available and not waste anything.
Eggs are cheap, but good, well-made eggs are almost divine.
Part of that depends, of course, on the technique. To this day, I still have “weekday scrambled eggs” and “weekend scrambled eggs” coming out of my kitchen.
Especially when I got to work, scrambled eggs on weekdays was about sustenance, cooked hot and quick and made slightly chewy, but good enough to slap a piece of toast as I walked out the door (five minutes of delay with wet hair that I prayed for it to dry if I drove with the windows down). The weekend scrambled eggs were – and remain – a whole different production.
RELATED: How to Brew Better French Press Coffee, According to Expert
This is a slow, slow process that requires a bit more butter and time than eggs on weekdays. Some cooks recommend a 20 to 30 minute process; others say 10 minutes is enough. I get up and stir gently until a soft, velvety curd forms. This simple change in heat and time results in a radically different end product.
Adding various supplements to my scrambled eggs also gave quite different results. There was something luxurious about splurging on the best dairy products I could afford. For months, my basket included rice, beans, chives, ten eggs and a precious bottle or jar of organic cream, whole milk, crÃ¨me fraÃ®che and sour cream.
I learned a lot. Steam from a splash of water, for example, gives you more springy eggs if that’s your thing. Some chefs, notably Anthony Bourdain, have avoided adding dairy products because, as he told “Tech Insider” in 2017, “You don’t make quiche here, you make scrambled eggs.” Bourdain preferred more texture to his final product.
Through this process, I have learned that I am a sucker for a smooth, creamy scramble. If this is also something you are looking for, here is the truth about what supplements do for a better breakfast.
CrÃ¨me fraÃ®che is sour cream containing up to 45% fat. It’s thicker than typical supermarket sour cream – which contains around 12% fat – and richer in flavor. The higher fat content makes it good for cooking as it is less prone to curdling which is why it is a better addition than sour cream.
Unlike milk or cream, I wouldn’t recommend whipping the crÃ¨me fraÃ®che into the raw eggs before baking. Instead, add a spoonful to the pan just as the scrambled eggs start to set. Remove the mixture from direct heat to swirl the crÃ¨me fraÃ®che in the eggs before returning it to the heat to finish cooking.
It gives the eggs a subtle, tangy flavor and a truly velvety texture. This is by far one of my favorite additions.
Cream, half and half and milk
I’m following the America Test Kitchen example here. They recommend half and half as the ideal dairy product to produce a swollen and stable curd. A combination of milk and heavy cream is also a good substitute, while using only milk tends to produce watery scrambled eggs which tend to âcryâ excess liquid.
Mayonnaise or an extra egg yolk
At the most basic level, fat helps create creaminess, and the fat in an egg is found in its yolk. An easy way to get creamier scrambled eggs is to simply add an extra yolk to the mixture. Another way to do this is to take a page from “Good Eats” host Alton Brown’s book: add a teaspoon of mayonnaise to your scrambled eggs.
Mayonnaise is a mixture of egg yolks and oil – one or two fat hits – and it really helps create creamier scrambled eggs.
Adding cream cheese is more of a flavor enhancement than the aforementioned dairy products, but thanks to the 33% fat or less, it will add a nice touch of creaminess to your scrambled eggs. Incorporate it into your eggs using the same technique as the crÃ¨me fraÃ®che. Only 1 or 2 teaspoons is enough.
Want to make a better breakfast? Check out these stories: