Dan Souza, Senior Editor of Cooks Illustrated and on screen test cook for America’s Test Kitchen, joined The Rhode Show Wednesday to make Perfect Scrambled Eggs and Home Fries.
Perfect Scrambled Eggs
It’s important to follow visual cues, as pan thickness will affect cooking times. If using an electric stove, heat one burner on low heat and a second on medium-high heat; move the skillet between burners for temperature adjustment. If you don’t have half and half, substitute 8 teaspoons of whole milk and 4 teaspoons of heavy cream. To dress up the dish, add 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley, chives, basil, or cilantro or 1 tablespoon of dill or tarragon to the eggs after reducing the heat to low.
8 large eggs plus 2 large yolks
1/4 cup half-and-half
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, chilled
1. Beat eggs, yolks, half-and-half, 3/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper with fork until eggs are thoroughly combined and color is pure yellow; do not overbeat.
2. Heat butter in 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until foaming just subsides (butter should not brown), swirling to coat pan. Add egg mixture and, using rubber spatula, constantly and firmly scrape along bottom and sides of skillet until eggs begin to clump and spatula just leaves trail on bottom of pan, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and gently but constantly fold eggs until clumped and just slightly wet, 30 to 60 seconds. Immediately transfer eggs to warmed plates and season with salt to taste. Serve immediately.
UNSCRAMBLING PERFECT SCRAMBLED EGGS
To get big, fluffy, tender, and rich-tasting curds, we experimented with every element of the process until we nailed the right formula.
8 EGGS PLUS 2 YOLKS adding yolks not only enriches the egg flavor, but the extra fat and emulsifiers raise the coagulation temperature to stave off overcooking.
HALF AND HALF offers more rich flavored fat than milk but also contains enough water to generate the steam necessary to make the eggs puff up.
10 INCH SKILLET Trading the usual 12inch pan for a smaller 10 inch one keeps the eggs in a thicker layer, thereby trapping more steam and producing heartier curds.
DUAL HEAT METHOD starting the egg mixture over medium high heat creates puffy curds; turning the heat to low once the eggs coagulate ensures that they won’t overcook.
TURN IT DOWN
When your spatula just leaves a trail through the eggs, that’s your cue in our dual-heat method to turn the dial from medium-high to low.
SCRAMBLED EGG EXTREMES
The best puffy scrambled eggs aren’t hastily cooked over high heat. Nor are they gently cooked over low heat.
RUBBERY Blasting the eggs over higher heat gets breakfast on the table in a hurry—but produces dried out, rubbery curds.
Keeping the heat low might prevent the eggs from overcooking, but the result will be loose, tiny curds that look like lumpy custard.
SERVES 6 TO 8
Don’t skip the baking soda in this recipe. It’s critical for home fries with just the right crisp texture.
3 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch dice
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
Kosher salt and pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 tbsp minced fresh chives
1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees.
2. Bring 10 cups water to boil in Dutch oven over high heat. Add potatoes and baking soda. Return to boil and cook for 1 minute.
Drain potatoes. Return potatoes to Dutch oven and place over low heat. Cook, shaking pot occasionally, until any surface moisture has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add butter, 1½ teaspoons salt, and cayenne; mix with rubber spatula until potatoes are coated with thick, starchy paste, about 30 seconds.
3. Remove baking sheet from oven and drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil. Transfer potatoes to baking sheet and spread into even layer. Roast for 15 minutes. While potatoes roast, combine onions, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, and ½ teaspoon salt in bowl.
4. Remove baking sheet from oven. Using thin, sharp metal spatula, scrape and turn potatoes. Clear about 8 by 5-inch space in center of baking sheet and add onion mixture. Roast for 15 minutes.
5. Scrape and turn again, mixing onions into potatoes. Continue to roast until potatoes are well browned and onions are softened and beginning to brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in chives and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
HOW MUSHY BOILED POTATOES LEAD TO CRISP HOME FRIES USE RUSSETS
We like the earthy flavor that russets bring to home fries, plus their high starch content helps create a substantial golden-brown crust.
Adding potatoes to boiling (not cold) water cooks them more on the outside than on the inside—just the uneven effect we want.
ADD BAKING SODA
Baking soda accentuates the uneven cooking by quickly breaking down the exteriors, leaving the insides nearly raw.
TOSS WITH SALT
Salt roughs up the drained potatoes, so their moisture evaporates more readily, leading to better crisping in the oven.
Pretreated potatoes achieve a “fried” texture after oven roasting. This technique yields three times as many servings as frying in a skillet.