Thursday, March 16, 2006

Scrambled Eggs

When I was a kid I ate a lot of eggs. Both my mother and my father served them up to me in all manner of ways – soft boiled, as omelettes, and scrambled. I think my favourite might have been soft boiled, but only because Mum also made me very excellent toast soldiers slathered in butter to dip into the runny egg yolk.

Yuk! I would never eat such a thing now. I had a bad run in with eggs in the late seventies, thanks to my Mum taking up a job as an egg collector on a Steggles Chicken farm. That job knocked two stone off my mother’s figure in a matter of weeks! It was totally hard yakka – dirty, hot and the chickens, especially the roosters, were not friendly in the slightest. Mum came home one time with a massive gouge down the side of her face – a rooster had gone for her and sliced her cheek open with one of its claws. She didn’t need stitches, thank God, but the attacker left his mark. Even after all these years, there’s still a feint line across Mum’s cheek.

Mum used to received a number of eggs every week or so, which she’d bring home to the family. They were generally the reject eggs, deemed so because they weren’t fit for sale. They were a rag tag bunch – too pointy, too round, too big, too small. Many of them were double yolkers. And some of them were triple yolkers! It was always exciting when we cracked open one of those.

Unfortunately, we also got the odd fertilised egg. I’m not going to say any more about those ones because I don’t want to turn you off your breakfast! Suffice to say those fertilised eggs ended my joyous consumption of soft boiled eggs, thus laying to rest a certain innocent part of my childhood.

For a long time I couldn’t eat eggs at all. And if I did, they had to be extremely well cooked. In restaurants, chefs never appreciate you telling them you want your scrambled eggs browned or your omelette cooked through so there’s no runny bits. But why bother going out for eggs anyway? When you can cook your own restaurant quality eggs, there’s simply no need.

1 knob of butter (not margarine)
2 large fresh eggs
1 tblsp of milk (and a little splash extra if you like)

1. Heat your fry pan on the stovetop – the temperature should be the notch below full blast. If you’ve got a Teflon pan, they certainly work well for scrambled eggs, although is your’s has cracks in the Teflon, you should throw it away! Add the butter and allow to gently melt do not let it bubble or even brown. If it gets to this point, throw it out, wipe out your pan and begin again.
2. Crack the eggs into a bowl. Add the milk and lightly whisk together to combine. No need to go crazy here. It’s not an omelette!
3. Pour the eggs into the pan. Use a plastic whisk or fork to whisk the eggs a little more – stop when soft balls begin to appear in the runny mix.
4. Continue to push the egg mixture around the pan with a plastic or wooden spoon. Don’t overdo it though – the less you mess with your eggs, the lighter they’ll be. Cook the eggs until they reach your preferred stage of setting. Remember – if they are a little under set in the pan (ie they hold scrambled form but they look wet) they will set a little further once removed from the pan. This is actually the classic restaurant approach. As I said earlier, it’s a bit light for me - I like mine browned!
5. Serve on freshly toasted bread, muffin or bagel of your choice, accompanied by crispy bacon, a dash of hollandaise sauce (the bottle kind is fine!) and some freshly ground pepper. For a BIG breakfast, add a sausage, half a grilled tomato and some lightly sautéed mushrooms.