For people who care about their food

How to cook Perfectly Simple Scrambled Eggs

Scrambled eggs and toast

Scrambled eggs is something I can knock out without even thinking about it. However, like boiling an egg, everyone seems to have their own way of doing things. Surely it doesn’t have to be so complicated. Darina Allen takes a simple approach.

Eggs being passed through a fine sieve into a saucepanAs for myself, I do confess to a little bit of a faff, because I always pass my eggy mixture through a fine sieve before going on to make them in pretty much the same way as Darina. I also don’t season mine with salt and pepper prior to cooking – I prefer to let people do that for themselves afterwards and choose how much, if any, seasoning they want on their eggs.

The main thing, in my opinion, is don’t overcook the eggs. Make to order, serve and eat immediately.  Remove the pan just a little bit before the eggs are ready. They will continue to cook with the residual heat until you’re ready to serve them. Remember, you can always cook them a little bit more, but you can’t cook them any less once the damage is done.

Darina Allen’s scrambled eggs recipe

(Serves 2)

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons creamy milk
  • a knob of butter
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Method

Break the eggs into a bowl, add the milk and season with salt and pepper. Whisk until the yolks and whites are well mixed.  Put a blob of butter into a cold saucepan, pour in the egg mixture and stir continuously, preferably with a flat-bottomed wooden spatula over a low heat, until the eggs have scrambled into soft creamy curds. Serve immediately on warm plates with lots of hot buttered toast or fresh soda bread.

Darina’s Tip:

If the plates are too hot the scrambled eggs will actually overcook between the stove and the table.

And then I did it my way. Here it is:

Not Delia’s Perfectly Simple Scrambled Eggs

Ingredients

Same as Darina’s except that we only had small eggs available so I used three eggs for a one-person serving.

Method

Melt the butter over a low heat in a saucepan. Meanwhile whisk the eggs with the milk.

Keep the pan on a low heat. (Remove it from the heat completely if the process starts to go faster than you can.)

Pour the egg mixture through a fine sieve into the pan.

Stay on a low heat. You don’t want to rush this. It’ll be done in less than 5 minutes anyway, so don’t try to hurry it.

A "curd" of lightly scrambled egg on a wooden spoon above a saucepanAs the eggs start to scramble, keep gently folding in the mixture with a wooden spoon. Don’t stir it vigorously, just keep it moving gently.

Before long, the eggs will start to solidify a bit. Now is the time to be careful. Do not overcook or you’ll get hard lumpy stuff – that’s not scrambled eggs. They should have a soft creamy consistency. Stop cooking before they’re ready. Believe me, they’ll continue to cook in the pan. (See my mishap in the photo below.)

Serve and eat immediately.

Cook’s tip

A plate of overcooked scrambled egg with two slices of toast on a plateI mentioned not to overcook the eggs, and I didn’t. Unfortunately when we went to take the first photo session I discovered that the toast for my perfectly cooked scrambled eggs wasn’t correctly in place on the plate. (Blame Mr ND for that.) By the time I’d got that sorted, yep, the eggs were overcooked, because they’d continued to cook in the pan while I was sorting out the toast. Aaarghh! I’m showing you this as an example of how easy it is to get things wrong, and so you can see how NOT to serve scrambled eggs. I guess most people wouldn’t care if their eggs were a little overcooked. It’s not worth losing sleep over, but it’s worth trying to get it right if you can. No worries, the toast was in place, ready and waiting for the second attempt.

I hope that you’ll join in and have something to say about this simple dish, which you’ve probably been making for years without even thinking about.

4 Responses to “How to cook Perfectly Simple Scrambled Eggs”

  1. gozomark

    I cook scrambled eggs in the microwave – needs taking out several times to stir, and needs taking out before ready as they continue to cook, but very happy with the results

  2. Coops365

    I’ll be honest… I’m a big advocate of the Gordon Ramsay style of doing scrambled eggs (even if I rarely bother with the faff of chives).
    Eggs, butter, No milk, mix in the pan… add creme fraiche if you want to (it’s not needed).
    Simple and delicious.

  3. Ian

    Scrambled eggs, much like Omlettes are obviously prepared according to people’s personal taste. Some like them soft and moist, some like them over cooked.

    The key is absolutely fresh large eggs (preferably free range!), and correct seasoning.

    For one person, you should allow three large eggs, which should be lightly beaten with a fork and seasoned with a pinch of salt and pepper, and PLEASE…. NO MILK !!!
    You are making scrambled eggs not scrambled milk with aggs in it.
    Do not over beat !

    NB If you season your eggs after they are cooked, they will still taste bland, so be sure to season them at the start.

    N.B. This website is, apparently, for those who “Care about their food !”,
    so, PEOPLE,….PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, FORGET about making bloody awful scrambled eggs in the microwave.
    If you really have to that, you should probably do yourself a favour, go outside, put yourself up against the nearest wall and shoot yourself in the head now.
    If something is worth doing, it is worth doing well, with care, and with love.
    You are, after all, going to eat it !!!

    Heat the pan over a moderate flame with a little butter (1/2 oz) and stir in the eggs with a wooden spoon, moving the eggs around, preferably avoiding large lumps forming.
    If the pan is the correct temperature, this should take no longer than thirty seconds.
    While the mixture is still smooth and creamy remove from the heat and add a little butter and if desired, a couple of tablespoons of cream.
    Serve immediately on warm plates.
    That is the classic way, and of course there are many classic variations which include shrimps, mushrooms, herbs, ham, asparagus, caviar, cheese etc etc etc.
    The possibilities are endless, and Escoffier regarded scrambled eggs as one of the finest egg dishes.

    Interestingly enough, Escoff regarded a well cooked omlette as being the same as scrambled eggs (soft and creamy), with a light golden skin of coagulated egg on the outside.
    Again, 3 large perfectly fresh eggs (per person), properly seasoned and not over beaten.

    Heat 1/2 oz butter in the pan until it starts to turn golden brown giving off that wonderful nutty smell, which brings a superb flavour to your omlette. Now tip in the eggs and stir briskly with a fork allowing even heating throughout.
    If you are filling it with mushrooms, or something else, now is the moment.
    (Again there are a huge number of classic omlette fillings.)

    Next bit can be a little tricky the first time.
    Quickly loosen the omlette around the edges so that it moves in the pan. Tilt the pan away from you so that it slides up the opposite side, roll the side nearest to you into the middle and then tip the pan over so that your wonderful omlette rolls out on to the warm plate.
    Run a piece of butter across the top to make glossy and serve immediately.
    The whole thing takes around 30 seconds for a perfect omlette, but you will need to prepare any fillings in advance.

    N.B. (If you go to a professional catering equipment supplier, you can buy a proper heavy cast iron omlette pan for around £20. It will last you a life time and on. I am 60 and I am using my Father’s omlette pan. Never wash it. Just wipe clean with kitchen paper and a little oil. It is a friend for life.)

    People have their personal tastes, but there is still a right way and a wrong way to do things!
    My guess is Escoffier probably knew what he was on about when it came to scrambled eggs and omlettes.

  4. Not Delia

    Hi Ian,

    Thanks for your comments and recipes. Very interesting. Each to their own on the milk and seasoning. Yes, there are right and wrong ways to do things but I still think that cooking is more of an art than a science.

    There are some things, scrambled eggs included, where there are as many opinions of what’s right and wrong as there are professional chefs writing about them.

    An anecdote I read somewhere – no idea if it’s true – is that one of the first tasks Gordon Ramsay gives a trainee chef in his own kitchens is to make scrambled eggs for the staff meal. Apparently he can tell a lot about the person’s cooking skills according to how they go about making this “simple” dish.

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