Scrambled eggs with roast tomatoes
I have been thinking about what makes the perfect scrambled eggs, and in writing this recipe conducted a number of experiments. The most exotic of these involved the steam wand of my coffee machine. I tipped the whisked eggs and cream into my usual milk jug, and applied the wand, using my hand under the jug to gauge the temperature. Once the mixture was hot to touch, I would take it off the heat and fold gently with a spoon to finish cooking in the residual heat.
The mixture cooked very quickly and the aeration gave huge volume and lightness. In fact, the mixture doubled in size. What I did find in these attempts, however, was that if you took the eggs too far the dish would quickly resemble a breakfast served on China Airlines. The botulism risk from future lattes also likely rose.
For the recipe on which I settled, I decided cooking the eggs over a pot of boiling water was the best way to get an even and reliable finish. Whisking the eggs builds volume and produces a softer and creamier finish. The other way is to warm a non-stick frypan with a knob of butter. When the butter is bubbling, tip in the scrambled egg mixture and stir quickly on a high heat with a spatula or wooden spoon and turn out onto a piece of toast. The key is speed: you don’t want to cook the eggs through. At the end, you should have ribbons of cooked egg held between runny bits of the scrambled egg mixture.
Scrambled eggs are a great base recipe for breakfast. Here, I’ve served them simply, with roast tomato. Another thing I like to do is fold in a few leaves of shredded basil and a tablespoon of parmesan just before serving. Curry leaves are also nice, with some golden shallots sliced and melted in butter before adding the egg mixture.
While the recipe opposite is the result of careful research, detailed above, I firmly believe scrambled eggs to be one of those things that always tastes better cooked by someone else. This could, however, mostly be about a desire to stay in bed.
- 2 perfectly ripe tomatoes
- pinch sea salt and sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 3 tbsp cream
- ½ tbsp snipped chives
- Preheat oven to 100ºC.
- Cut the tomatoes in half, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and sugar and place them on a tray in the oven for about one hour. The tomatoes will shrivel a little, but become full of juice with their flavour amplified.
- Just before you wish to eat, bring a pot of water to a simmer.
- Whisk together the eggs and cream in a metal bowl. Sit the bowl over the top of the simmering water and stir the eggs continuously with a whisk as they cook. It takes a little longer to cook the eggs this way, but they will become creamy and soft rather than firm and dry. Season the eggs with a little salt.
- Serve the scrambled eggs with the warm tomato, hot buttered toast and freshly snipped chives.
This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on November 14, 2015 as "Whisk factor".
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