Unfortunately, most of us have had overcooked scrambled eggs, which are rubbery and unpleasant. But when eggs see gentle heat and are scrambled slowly and patiently, they become rich and soft. Remove them from the heat when they’re just a touch undercooked and they’ll finish cooking on the plate. Paired with caviar and herbed crème fraîche, this dish is nothing short of luxurious. Serve it with Beet-Cured Salmon with Creamy Herbed Cucumbers) for a sophisticated brunch, or toast a slice of the quick brioche and keep it simple.
Years ago, my sous chef Mika and I were cooking at a big food festival and Daniel Boulud prepared soft scrambled eggs with crème fraîche and caviar for all of the chefs at a late-night party. The dish was the ultimate expression of generosity and fun: he had a great time making it, and we had a great time eating it. This dish is my homage to Daniel Boulud and that memorable night.
A final note: The eggs must come to room temperature before cooking so they cook evenly, and because this dish has so few ingredients, it’s imperative to use the best-quality eggs you can find.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- 1½ teaspoons heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons Herbed Crème Fraîche (substitute dill for the tarragon)
- 6 eggs, at room temperature
- 0.5 teaspoon salt
- 0.75 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon half-and-half
- 2 teaspoons butter
- 0.5 ounce caviar or trout roe
- 0.5 teaspoon very finely minced chives
- In a small bowl, stir the heavy cream into the crème fraîche to thin it. Set aside.
- Crack the eggs into a bowl and beat vigorously but carefully with a fork. Try not to make any foam, which creates edges that stick up around the sides of the pan and overcook. Stir in the salt, pepper, and half-and-half.
- The key to soft scrambled eggs is low heat, allowing the eggs to settle into themselves, and gentle and patient stirring. In a 10-inch black steel or nonstick sauté pan, warm the butter over low heat until completely melted and just beginning to make a tiny bubbling sound in the center of the pan, about 1 minute. Add the eggs and let them rest undisturbed for about 30 seconds, then give them a brief stir with a flat-edged wooden spatula. Let the eggs settle for about 30 seconds more, then stir again. Continue to stir gently; for smaller curds, stir a little more frequently, for larger curds, stir less often.
- They are ready after an additional 3 to 4 minutes, when they’re mostly set but still have a very slight moist sheen; the timing depends on how low you’ve set the heat (this varies greatly from stove to stove). Remove the eggs from the heat when they are just a shade undercooked; they will finish cooking on the plate from the residual heat.
- Divide the eggs between two plates and top each portion with one-half of the crème fraîche and one-half of the caviar. Garnish the plates with the chives and serve immediately.