Eggs-Zavier Week: Scrambled Eggs

by bsherm on January 4, 2011

Eggs are an incredibly versatile food. They work well in many applications. They can even take on many forms when they are the main event. These includes:

  • Scrambled
  • Fried
  • Poached
  • Soft-Boiled
  • Hard-Boiled
  • Omelette

In this list, one application stands out as boring. The scrambled egg. It has all the sex-appeal of a mid-major basketbal team from a small college in the mid-west. But properly prepared, this dish definitely belongs in the big leagues.

I have long had an aversion to runny eggs. Only recently, I discovered the joys of the poached egg thanks to the now discontinued Burger at Mayberry, and the few times I ordered something besides Sausage Gravy and Biscuits from Take the Cake Cafe. When it came to scrambled eggs, I always wanted them as dry as possible. When I cooked scrambled eggs, I cooked them to the point where they even browned. I never knew what I was missing. As with many of my culinary discoveries, scrambled eggs were transformed by a Good Eats Episode. Season 1, Episode 1 to be exact. In this episode, Alton Brown explored scrambled eggs. I learned many things that have transformed this dish into a breakfast favorite. I don’t follow all of his advice, but what I do has made the dish better.

Alton Tips I follow:

  • Start cooking the eggs on low heat. It’s not a race, in fact the longer it takes the better. Stir constantly to allow the soft curds to develop.
  • Finish on higher heat. Once the curds have developed, you can turn up the heat to finish them. I don’t always feel the need to do it, but the key is only at the end, and for a short time.
  • Take the eggs off the burner before they are done. The carry-over temperature will finish the eggs. If you wait until they are done in the pan, they are done for.
  • Crack Eggs on flat surface. This is a big AB thing. If you crack them on the edge of the bowl you are more likely to drive shell fragments into the egg. A nice tap on a flat surface suffices.

Alton Tips I Ignore:

  • I add no liquid. He suggests 1 Tbsp per egg of milk, or even cream or water. I don’t care for the addition.
  • I add pepper to the eggs before cooking. He says to wait until you plate.

My Additions:

  • Bring eggs close to room temperature first. This is actually utilizing a tip he makes in another episode, but not the scrambled eggs one. It is all about minimizing the time under heat for the egg. Starting at room temperature rather than cold makes the trip shorter and easier to cook.
  • Hot sauce. Specifically Tapatio. I like all kinds of hot sauce, but Tapatio is my egg hot sauce of choice. Just a few dashes in the eggs adds a nice element to the eggs. It is not even enough to make you feel, or taste the heat, but if it is not in there, I feel like something is missing.


Hardware is important here.

  • Good Non-Stick Pan. Another important thing I learned from that episode (and later ones) is that you need a good non-stick pan. Not a great and expensive one, but not a cheap one either. I love my All-Clad pots, but I do not have an All-Clad non-stick pan. The non-stick coating is going to give up the ghost eventually, so no need to pay excessive amounts of money for one. Also, you don’t really want a heavy pan. Aluminum is great, responds quickly to heat changes. My current pan is a Sam’s Club special, Alton also suggests checking out a restaurant supply store.
  • Container to warm eggs. I do not leave my eggs out on the counter to warm up. That is a food safety nightmare. To warm them up I put them in a container with hot tap water for a few minutes to warm them up safely.
  • Small Whisk. Whisk helps you quickly and completely scramble.
  • Silicone Spatula. Heat resistant, and will not scratch the pan.
  • Stick butter. Wait… that’s an ingredient, right? Yes, but in the stick form, it is really easy to run it over the warm pan to quickly add a little butter.


  • 2 Eggs. I know 3 is more common, but I find 2 to be sufficient.
  • Pinch Kosher Salt.
  • Couple turns of Black Pepper.
  • Tapatio (or some inferior hot sauce).
  • Stick Butter.


  1. Place eggs in container and cover with hot tap water. Let stand for a few minutes.
  2. Heat up pan on burner over low heat.
  3. Crack eggs and place in missing bowl with salt, pepper and a few dashes of hot sauce.
  4. Whisk eggs to combine, but don’t get carried away.
  5. Run the stick of butter across the pan to coat. The butter should foam slightly.
  6. Add egg mixture to pan and stir constantly as curds form.
  7. Turn up heat slightly to finish (I actually do not always do this).
  8. Remove pan from burner while eggs are still a little moist. They may not look quite done, but they will finish nicely.
  9. Serve and enjoy.

What you end up with when you follow these directions is a delicate, melt-in-your-mouth version of the scrambled egg. You will hardly recognize it from what you are accustomed to. This may not make sense until you actually make and eat these, but they just taste “eggier”.

Do you have any tips for scrambled eggs? Maybe a favorite hot sauce, or other addition? Let me know in the comments.

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