07 April 2010

Technique: Scrambled Eggs

Prep a double boiler

Whisk 3 large eggs, 1 Tbsp. heavy cream, and 1/2 tsp. of salt

Alton Brown, aka The Boss of Us, recommends scrambling eggs in a double boiler to provide continuous low heat, and he's right - this does result in awesomely delicious scrambled eggs, but is a mess to clean up - man, does the egg stick to the bowl.

Anyway, more on that in a minute.

Once you've poured your whisked eggs and cream into your double boiler, use a flexible silicon spatula to scrape them up continuously until they achieve the desired degree of doneness.

The faster you scrape, the smoother texture your eggs will have.  As far as doneness?  It's a matter of taste, but you need to remove the eggs from the heat a little runny for your taste because the hot eggs will continue to cook off the heat.

To go over the top? Smear a little goat cheese on the hot eggs.

A few notes:

Chef Spouse has tried a variety of options to make the cleanup a little easier.  The type of bowl does not seem to make a difference.  A little browned butter in the bottom improves the flavor, but does not help with the cleanup either.

And of course, the downside of using a double boiler is that you have to hold the bowl, and it's hard to hold still, because the steam comes up and hits your arm.

Chef Spouse realized that the key is that your pan cannot have any sharp edges where something might collect, which will wreck the texture. So you can skip the double boiler if you have a good heavy weight saucier pan and a cooking surface with consistent and easily adjustable temperature.  In other words, an All-Clad saucier on low to med-low on a Viking gas range obviates the need for the double boiler.

Chef Spouse is constitutionally disinclined to nonstick pans, but he loves making scrambled eggs this way so much he's considering getting one.

04 April 2010

Technique: Poached Eggs

As with most cooking techniques, we base our findings on Alton Brown, with a few changes.

Break a fresh egg into a small bowl or ramekin

Bring water to a boil in a saucepan

We generally do a smallish saucepan and do one egg at a time

Add green herbs

Tarragon is awesome and classic, but anything that's not an oily herb - like rosemary - and that you like with eggs would work.  Use more than you think - we generally use several large sprigs.

Shut off the water and add 1 Tbsp. of white vinegar per cup of water in the pan

This is quite a bit more vinegar than most recipes call for, but we found, in testing the amounts, that this quantity produced the best results in egg texture.

As soon as the water settles, tilt the pan and pour the egg gently into the side towards where the pan is tilted.  Keep the pan tilted until the egg starts to set up.

The water cannot be moving AT ALL when the egg goes in.  We found that this method is more sure than the traditional swirl the water and drop the egg in the center, because if you miss with that, it makes a mess - and it's easy to miss.

After 3 minutes, remove the egg using a slotted spoon and serve.