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Gordon Ramsay’s Scrambled Eggs

There are two real innovations behind Ramsay’s scrambled eggs: low heat (notice a trend here, those of you who read the potato recipe?) and constant, constant stirring with a spatula or spoon. He achieves the low heat by using a thick-bottomed pan and removing it from the heat when the eggs just start to set up, stirring constantly, putting it back over the heat a little, stirring constantly, removing from the heat, stirring, etc., etc., until the eggs have firmed up to a creamy, silky consistency that’s probably unlike any scrambled eggs you’ve ever tasted. Make this and feed it to someone who doesn’t know how it was made; they will probably ask what the secret ingredient is. The mouth feel screams cheese, but the taste buds know better—it’s all yummy egg.

EggA few cooking notes. Ramsay uses crème fraîche at the end, which my system doesn’t tolerate; I use whole milk instead and don’t regret it. The key is to drop the temperature of the eggs a little so they stop cooking themselves. But be careful: the eggs are already at the lowest temperature at which eggs will cook, which is cooler than most eggs when they come out of the pan, so you don’t want to drop them too far. For the same reason, you need to serve these eggs quickly, before they cool further. Putting them over hot toast, or on a pre-heated plate, is a very good idea. (Giving them even a quick touch-up in a microwave oven before serving, on the other hand, is a very, very bad idea. They will be ruined.) I find that sprinkling a little paprika over the top once the eggs have been plated adds quite a bit, both to their appearance and to their flavor.  The very, very, very best variant I’ve found, though, involves adding nothing more than truffle oil and a bit of salt at the very end and mixing them in just before serving.  The truffle oil adds a savory depth that plays off of the egg in a way that you won’t believe, and the salt magnifies it.  True food poetry.

One warning is in order: Ramsay uses what looks like a thick-bottomed stainless-steel pot for the eggs—high vertical sides, no non-stick surface. Accordingly, I first tried it with a copper chef’s pan, which seemed like a reasonable analog. I’m not sure what went wrong. Perhaps I didn’t use enough butter. But what I discovered was that the low-temperature, on-heat off-heat technique is also the best way I’ve ever found to get egg to fuse with the inside of a pan at the molecular level. I may try it again someday with more butter… but when I made the recipe a second time I did it in a non-stick pot and it worked beautifully, thank you very much.

I’ve never been wowed by a recipe from YouTube before (thanks to my friend Richard for bringing it to my attention). I don’t know if the recipe is written down anywhere, but the video is about five minutes long. Click below to watch.

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Written by Bear

January 27, 2008 at 11:55 pm

4 Responses

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  1. This is very similar to the method in Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” … which makes great eggs.


    January 28, 2008 at 1:55 pm

  2. Thanks for the reference, Laurie. It always irks me when chefs don’t mention their sources or inspirations — it seems a little too much like plagiarism, though as a practical matter I guess it may be impossible to keep a running tally of all of one’s inspirations, or even sometimes separate them in one’s own head. But I always find it very satisfying to see credit given where it is due.

    I googled around a little and found that Julia’s recipe (and a similar one in Richard Olney’s Simple French Food) are representatives of, as one might expect, an entirely different, Continental method of making scrambled eggs that is so unlike its scramble, toss-on-the-griddle, flip-once-and-serve American cousin that the only real similarities are the ingredients. I’m kind of amazed, actually, and a little horrified, that I’ve lived my whole life without ever having had the distinction brought to my attention. Incredible! Next thing I know, someone’s going to tell me that the French make better crescent rolls than we do….


    January 28, 2008 at 3:31 pm

  3. I can attest to the simple goodness of all Bear’s recipes. These are especially good when made in a cabin in the Hocking Hills. In the meantime while you are patiently (or impatiently??!!) waiting for these caramelizing potato treats, Bear prepares Tanzanian Peaberry in a French Press and the fireplace roars! The eggs should simply not be missed! Thanks, Bear for sharing these recipes.


    February 4, 2008 at 8:26 pm

  4. […] breakfasts that take 15 minutes or less to make. I was turned on to this method of cooking eggs by Bear, and since trying it this way, can think of no better way to do it. I added a little truffle salt […]

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