Marlena Spieler's Chickpeas with Chilies
Celia Barbour's Beautiful Soup

Daniel Patterson's Poached Scrambled Eggs


I hope you aren't too disappointed that I chose to break two weeks of silence by featuring the lowly scrambled egg. It's anti-climactic, I know. But after such a long absence from my kitchen, I had to ease my way back into it. Well, that, and the fact that I had no fresh milk (or soy) for breakfast this morning, so eggs it had to be.

In January, Daniel Patterson wrote an article in the New York Times Magazine about his new version for scrambling eggs in an attempt to skirt the usual trouble that eggs present when scrambled in stainless steel pans (mess), and the inevitable health issues that come up when you think about scrambling eggs in nonstick pans (death by deformity, or something).

I clipped this article, though the technique and the reasons for its creation did seem a bit ridiculous (since when has a chef balked at the mess a measly egg or two makes when scrambled in a regular pan?). And it took me 10 months to get around to trying the recipe out, which probably says something, too. This morning, though, it finally seemed like the right time. I needed breakfast and I had nothing else in the house.

So, I cracked two eggs (hardly fresh) into a fine sieve, let the "thin" albumen drain out, then transfered the thick albumen and yolks into a bowl, at which point I was instructed to beat them for 20 seconds. After bringing four inches of water to a boil, and lightly salting the water, I created a whirpool with a spoon, poured in the beaten eggs, put the top on, and counted another 20 seconds. I turned off the heat, removed the top, and voila! A stormcloud of scrambled eggs.

I gently drained the eggs, and then slid them onto a plate. Clean-up was swift and easy, yes, but the eggs? They had a delicate, trembly texture, which was lovely (and which you can sort of see in the picture above), but very little taste. Although I had drained the eggs and pressed on them to get more water out of them, they tasted much like hot, salty water. Oh, and olive oil. A disappointing breakfast (though I remedied that with the last of the frozen corn pancakes from the summer), to say the least.

The verdict is that I'd much rather deal with that irritating film that cooked eggs leave behind in a stainless steel pan (but have a pile of flavorful, creamy eggs to savor) than to have an antiseptically clean kitchen (post-cooking, no less!) and insipid eggs on my plate. And in other news? I'm so glad to be home again! I missed my bloggy blog and my dear readers. Hope you've all been well!

Poached Scrambled Eggs
Serves 2

4 large eggs
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Crack each egg into a medium-mesh sieve (or narrow-slotted spoon), letting the thin white drain away. Transfer the remaining yolk and white to a small bowl. Beat the eggs vigorously with a fork for 20 seconds.

2. Set a medium saucepan filled with 4 inches of water over moderate heat. Put a strainer in the sink. When the water is at a low boil, add a few large pinches of salt, then stir in a clockwise direction to create a whirlpool. Pour the eggs into the moving water, cover the pot and count to 20.

3. Turn off the heat and uncover the pot. The eggs should be floating on the surface in ribbons. While holding back the eggs with a spoon, pour off most of the water over the strainer. Gently slide the eggs into the strainer and press them lightly to expel any excess liquid.

4. Scoop the eggs into bowls, drizzle with olive oil if desired and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Variations: Serve with butter; smoked paprika; piment d'Espelette; or a spoonful of crème fraîche and a dollop of caviar.