I 'poached' an idea from Daniel Patterson...
...for Scrambled Eggs
Just before you remove the eggs from the pan
Back in January, Daniel Patterson the San Francisco-based chef who has recently opened Coi, a restaurant which I am dying to try, wrote an article in the New York Times about scrambling eggs. He had been forced to experiment with new cooking methods at his fiancee's insistence he get rid of his beloved teflon pan.
After trying all sorts of things and even consulting food scientist Harold Mcgee who told him, for example, that he needed to let the 'thin white' of the eggs drain away before whisking, Patterson discovered a failsafe method of poaching his scrambled eggs in water.
My sister Beccy and her husband Joules kindly gave me the saucepan of my dreams as a gift recently and I needed a suitably important recipe with which to christen it. Patterson's poached scrambled eggs, which had been waiting patiently as a bookmark for six months, won the assignment hands down.
Patterson has recently written an article for Food & Wine in which he asked Do Recipes Make You a Better Cook? In that article he muses on how much detailed instruction he was required to spell out when he was writing his recipe book. Luckily, I am with Patterson - being one of those cooks who is usually comfortable using a recipe more like a road map, just needing a guideline to get from A to B. Of those people who need a more literal description of how to cook, Patterson says
"...telling someone to cook a piece of fish for exactly five minutes is like saying, "Drive for exactly five minutes and then turn right." Sometimes you'd hit the road, other times the side of a building."In the light of the Food & Wine article, what's funny about Patterson's scrambled egg recipe, is that it largely goes against the grain of the way both he and I cook by laying out terrifyingly precise instructions. Although I am generally intuitive in the kitchen, I found myself on tenterhooks as I tried to get to grips with this particular cooking method. All my instruments and implements were laid out as if on an operating table. The recipe had been read several times to be sure of the timing. At one point I needed to rest the lid on the pan and count to twenty. This threw me into sheer panic - should I count to twenty slowly or fast? Patterson didn't tell me. Should it be a twenty seconds-ish count to twenty, or a regular type of counting to twenty? [For the record I went for the counting to twenty fairly slowly: one elephant, two elephant...etc, and it seemed to work out ok].
The scrambled eggs were ready in a flash. I served them on buttered wholewheat toast with a dribble of creme fraiche and a shaving of truffle, salt and pepper.
Poached scrambled eggs served on toast with creme fraiche and shaved truffle
Sadly, my poached, scrambled egg breakfast disappointed me. In my book, scrambled eggs are the ultimate comfort food. I need salty butter on my toast, I need cream and butter in my eggs, I need the texture to be slightly runny and not quite set. This is what my brain expects when I sit down to a plate of scrambled eggs on toast and Patterson's method didn't deliver my personal preconception of what scrambled eggs should be.
His poached, scrambled eggs are definitely a dish for the egg purist. They are egg, nothing more, nothing less and if you try them you will need to be prepared for the simple, unadulterated taste of egg. Adding cream and butter to them after they are cooked creates a radically different sensation to when these sinful ingredients are actually part of the cooking process.
So would I make them again? For sure. The resulting egg is so fluffy and light, it is quite an incredible method for cooking. But - next time I am not going to try and use them to replace the traditional scrambled eggs that I rely on to comfort me. I can't get the idea of a Mexican-style breakfast out of my head. I think those Poached Pattersons, as I am going to call his scrambled eggs from hereon in, would be really fantastic with some spicy tomato salsa, maybe a tortilla and avocado instead...
PS Looks like they almost got what they wished for.
Links, Resources and Further Reading
Bay Area Resources:
Fresh Happy Farm Eggs | Marin Sun Farms
Bread | by Acme
Creme Fraiche | by Cowgirl Creamery
Truffle | Far West Funghi
Butter | Straus
Others' Musings on Patterson's Eggs:
Eat, Listen to Your Mother
Daniel Patterson's articles
New York Times | The Way We Eat, Which Came First by Daniel Patterson
Food & Wine | Do Recipes Make you a Better Cook? by Daniel Patterson
|Archive Alert! On this day in 2005: Chive, San Diego|
|And on this day in 2004: Suppenkuche, San Francisco|
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