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KitchenWise: Recipe for scrambled eggs with wild mushrooms

04/30/2015 08:46 EDT | Updated 08/07/2015 05:59 EDT
As a mom, I know there's no better gift on Mother's Day than being served breakfast in bed, complete with the Sunday paper. So the menu I propose here is an extra-special plate of scrambled eggs tossed with sauteed wild mushrooms, a little Parmesan cheese, and perhaps a drizzle of truffle oil. It's special, but it doesn't require Herculean effort by the spouse (and kids) preparing it.

But before you start cooking, you'll need to interview Mom about just how she likes her scrambled eggs: light and fluffy or dense and creamy.

That's right, there are two distinct styles. The light and fluffy guys are made by beating the eggs with a little half-and-half and some salt. The addition of half-and-half and the beating aerates the eggs, ensuring that the cooked curds have a light texture. The salt, along with the water and fat in the half-and-half, raises the temperature at which eggs coagulate, making them less likely to overcook.

Light-and-airy-style scrambled eggs then are cooked quickly over medium heat. Using a heatproof rubber spatula, you repeatedly lift and fold the egg mixture over itself until almost all of the mixture has formed large curds. But be sure to stop before the egg is fully cooked. That's when you pull the pan off the heat and continue stirring while the curds finish forming in the residual heat.

If you leave these eggs on the burner until the curds are completely formed and the pan is dry, they'll end up overcooked. Ever seen eggs with tough curds floating in a watery liquid? That's how it happened. Light and fluffy scrambled eggs take just a couple minutes to cook.

On the other hand, dense and creamy scrambled eggs are a French thing. For these, you beat the eggs with the half-and-half and salt just until they are mixed. We don't want any air in them. Then we cook them low and slow, stirring constantly, until they're almost set. There will be some very small curds. You then pull the pan off the heat while there's still some liquid egg in the pan. Creamy scrambled eggs take 15 to 20 minutes to cook.

I finished the eggs with sauteed wild mushrooms, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and truffle oil, but feel free to experiment with your own garnishes. Making tender and tasty scrambled eggs is all about the technique. The garnish is secondary.

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SCRAMBLED EGGS WITH WILD MUSHROOMS

Start to finish 25 to 45 minutes, depending on method

Servings: 4

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

1/2 pound mixed mushrooms, sliced

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

8 large eggs

1/4 cup half-and-half

1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 ounce grated Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup using a rasp-style grater, 1/4 cup using the fine side of a four-sided grater)

Chopped fresh chives, to garnish

Truffle oil (optional)

Buttered toast, to serve

In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the mushrooms, a hefty pinch each of salt and pepper, then cook the mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until they are lightly browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to a bowl and cover them with foil.

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If you want lightly and fluffy American-style eggs:

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the half-and-half, thyme and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper until they are light and fluffy.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter to the skillet and set it over medium heat. When the butter is completely melted and the foam has subsided, add the eggs. Use a heat-proof (silicone) spatula to stir the eggs, scooping them into the middle of the pan and folding them gently in on themselves, until they are almost all set, but there still is a little liquid egg in the pan, about 2 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the heat, stir in the mushrooms and the cheese, then season with salt and pepper, if needed. Divide between 4 plates. Sprinkle the chives on top, then drizzle with truffle oil, if using. Serve each portion with buttered toast.

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If you want creamy custard-like French eggs:

In a medium bowl, use a fork to beat the eggs with the half-and-half, thyme and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper until just combined (and you can see no more separate whites).

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the skillet over medium-low heat and add the eggs. Using a heat-proof (silicone) spatula, stir the eggs constantly, until they are almost all set, but there is still a little liquid egg in the pan (there will be almost no curds), about 20 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the heat, stir in the mushrooms and the cheese, then season with salt and pepper, if needed. Divide between 4 plates. Sprinkle the chives on top, then drizzle with truffle oil, if using. Serve each portion with buttered toast.

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Nutrition information per serving (both versions): 350 calories; 240 calories from fat (69 per cent of total calories); 27 g fat (14 g saturated; 0.5 g trans fats); 475 mg cholesterol; 11 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 2 g sugar; 17 g protein; 440 mg sodium.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Sara Moulton was executive chef at Gourmet magazine for nearly 25 years, and spent a decade hosting several Food Network shows. She currently stars in public television's "Sara's Weeknight Meals" and has written three cookbooks, including "Sara Moulton's Everyday Family Dinners."

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