Cooking For Others: Scrambling Eggs Again
EVENT: Kate’s Birthday Brunch; Winter Visit
VENUE: Salima’s Apt, Flatiron; Whitney’s Apt, London
PARTY SIZE: 12; 3
TYPE: Sunday Morning Girly Brunch
MENU: Creamy Mushroom Tartines with Chive Scrambled Eggs; Lemony Smoked Salmon Scramble
I’ve been cooking for others a lot lately, but for whatever reason, the occasions seem to have fallen more and more before the hour of 1 o’clock in the afternoon. And when faced with a crowd, large or small, after just having rolled out of bed, there’s nothing I would rather make than soft scrambled eggs.
My holiday season of scrambled eggs kicked off with the 2nd annual Santacon Pub Crawl morning pregame, the same winning menu as last year: breakfast burritos with all the fixings. This year, I added caramelized onions that I had slowly sautéed the night before, and the sweet, eggy result topped all previous incarnations. The following week, I found myself yet again rolling out of bed at noon and hauling my butt to Salima’s, where a bowl of precracked eggs, a hot skillet, and a group of hungry girls awaited me to celebrate my friend Kate’s birthday. In tow was a container full of creamy, buttery mushrooms that I would later slather on toasted rosemary bread and top with slow-scrambled chive and cheddar eggs (pictured above). The plates were licked clean in minutes, and it was apparent that the girls barely interrupted their eggasm to take a sip of mimosa in between bites. (Since this dish was such a success, we might feature it in the brunch chapter of the book—apologies for the suspense, but you’re going to have to wait for this one!)
Really, I find that it’s hard to not to please a crowd with perfectly scrambled eggs, fancy add-ins or not. And my favorite occasions of the past few weeks have been with rich, creamy eggs that have had barely any bells and whistles at all. For New Year’s and the days surrounding, I crossed the pond to give Whitney a much belated visit. When I returned, people asked about my trip, about London, and most of all about what I ate. The truth is, I could have been eating my meals anywhere in the world: it was just Sophie, Whitney, and me holed up in Whitney’s flat, playing countless games of Bananagrams, and enjoying each other’s company over the contents of the fridge, far from the damp, cold winter rain outside the slanted windows.
Our first morning together, Whitney greeted us in bed with three plates of steaming hot frittata with goat cheese and onion. To return the favor, the next day we crept into the kitchen, searched through her cupboards, and set a pan of scrambled eggs with tarragon and shallots over the flame. The three of us ate curled up in our pajamas listening to Diana Kroll. And again, come New Year’s morning, the three of us were curled up once more, this time with a plate of lemony eggs with smoked salmon and shallots, the tiles of Bananagrams in front of us, and some wailing jazz in the background.
You don’t need me to tell you how delicious scrambled eggs are, or that they can make humble ingredients shine and be whipped up leisurely over the stove, surrounded by company. But this is why I love them. And if you aren’t too sick of hearing it, I’ll happily creep into the New Year with the thought of 365 more days of scrambled eggs in front of me.
From my kitchen, where all I ever want are eggs, to yours,
Phoebe, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
I don’t love the texture of smoked salmon once it is added to a pan and cooked—it somehow loses the delicate cured quality, and becomes more like regular old cooked salmon. BUT, I do love the combination with any type of egg. My trick here is to toss the smoked salmon, sprinkled with lemon, last minute with the finished eggs and serve immediately.
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
6 eggs, cracked and beaten
4 oz smoked salmon, torn into thin strips
1 tbsp chopped tarragon (optional)
In a medium non-stick skillet, sauté the shallot in 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat until translucent and beginning to brown. Season the eggs with salt and pepper and pour them into the pan. Turn the heat down to low and slowly scramble, scraping up any congealed bits of egg from the bottom of the pan as they form.
In the meantime, squeeze the lemon juice over the strips of salmon in a medium serving bowl. Set aside.
When the eggs are almost finished, taste for seasoning, sprinkle with tarragon or another green herb (parsley or chives would also work well here), and pour into the serving bowl with the salmon. Toss gently to combine, sprinkle with a touch more lemon, and serve immediately with a toasted bagel or baguette.