~ How to: Make "Fluffy" Scrambled Eggs & Bacon ~
In our house, Sunday mornings are very laid back and relaxed. No alarm clocks, lots of coffee and iced-tea drinking, newspaper and magazine reading, TV watching, and, always a cooked breakfast. In the Winter we watch the skiers come down Tussey Mountain through our kitchen windows, and, in the Summer, we often cook and eat outside while watching the joggers and bikers go up Bear Meadows Road. Today is an uncharacteristically warm, sunny March Sunday here in Pennsylvania and we found ourselves with our back doors open listening to the birds chirping and a refreshing Spring breeze coming through the house!
Every once in a while I get a hankering for bacon and eggs the way my mom always prepared them... cooked together in one skillet. Today was such a day. The method is as simple and straightforward as it is delicious and hearty. What's more, as long as you have a big enough skillet, there's no limit to the quantity you can make, meaning: you can prepare breakfast for 20 people in about the same time it takes to prepare breakfast for 2 people. Hers is a great "go to" breakfast recipe to have in your repertoire when you're having overnight guests, as: you can keep them warm on the stovetop, to serve individually as folks meander into the kitchen, or serve them family-style on one big platter. I've even made them outdoors on a camp stove several times for our entire Penn State tailgate group of 40+ people. Serve 'em with or atop a toasted bagel or an English muffin and you're "good to go"!
I am an egg lover, but I am also very picky about the eggs I eat, and not their color either: there IS no difference between white or brown eggs. Preparing scrambled eggs is so simple and basic, they can be ruined in an instant. I am constantly stunned by the number of breakfast eateries that don't prepare them correctly. You see, I consider a properly cooked egg the sign of a good cook, and cooking eggs an art form. I've even taught a few classes about basic egg preparation. Whether soft-cooked, hard-cooked, poached, scrambled or fried, when properly prepared, they really are "the incredible edible egg"!
I affectionately refer to basic scrambled eggs as "fluffy eggs":
Scrambled eggs should be creamy, moist and tender. Scrambled eggs should be barely set with perfectly formed curds. I affectionately refer to them as "fluffy eggs". There is nothing worse than runny or rubbery scrambled eggs, and, show me scrambled eggs that have been browned and I'll show you grossly overcooked scrambled eggs. Besides needing eggs, milk, a bit of butter, salt and pepper, the ideal tools for making scrambled eggs are an appropriately-sized nonstick skillet and a soft, silicone spatula.
A bit about scrambled egg cookery: Vigorously whisk the eggs and milk together just prior to cooking. Whisking incorporates air, which in turn makes them "fluffy". For one large serving, or two smaller servings, whisk together:
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
enough milk to total 3/4 cup
3-4 grinds of sea salt & peppercorn blend
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in an 10" skillet over low heat. Add the eggs. Low heat provides time to control their consistency. Stir constantly and gently, with an occasional tilt of the pan as small, creamy curds form. The skillet is hotter around the perimeter, so stir the eggs from the outside of the pan towards the center, tilting the pan to allow the raw portion of the eggs to flow to the outside of the pan. Do not chop through the eggs with the edge of the spatula. The eggs are done when they are barely set, and look moist (not watery or dry). The entire process will take 1 1/2-2 minutes. As with most food, carryover/residual heat will continue to cook the eggs after they are removed from the pan. Serve immediately with a grinding of sea salt and peppercorn blend:
To make My Mom's "Fluffy" Scrambled Eggs & Bacon:
6 slices, thick-sliced bacon, diced (about 12 ounces)
9 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
enough milk to total 2 1/2 cups
6-8 grinds of freshly ground sea salt and peppercorn blend
~ Step 1. Dice bacon as directed, placing it in a 12" skillet as you work. Over medium-high heat, fry until crisp and golden, about 10 minutes. Turn the heat off. Using a small ladle, remove all but about 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings from pan. Note: If you want to prepare the eggs using no bacon fat, remove all of it and melt 2 tablespoons of butter into the still warm pan. I highly-recommend the flavor of the bacon fat!
~ Step 4. Stir constantly and gently, with an occasional tip of the pan, as creamy curds form. The skillet is hotter around the perimeter, so stir the eggs from the outside of the pan towards the center, tilting the pan to allow the raw portion of the eggs to flow towards the outside of the pan.
Note: The eggs are done when they are barely set and look moist (not watery or dry). The entire process will take just 3-4 minutes. As in the case of most food, carryover/residual heat is going to continue to cook the eggs after they are removed from the skillet.
Portion and serve immediately with a light grinding of sea salt and peppercorn blend:
Special Equipment List: appropriately-sized nonstick skillet; soft heatproof or silicon spatula; cutting board; chef's knife; appropriately-sized measuring container; fork
Cook's Note: Unlike delicate scrambled eggs, the heartier scrambled eggs and bacon, if kept covered, really do hold up well on a slightly warm stovetop or camp stove for 1-2 hours (and I'm pretty sure the bacon fat has a lot to do with it). When I make them at a tailgate, I prepare a double recipe in two alternating 14" chef's pans w/straight, deep sides. When one pan is done, I start on the second one, and so on, until everyone is fed and happy!
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2012)