THE RESULT WAS AN ONE SKILLET, BLINK OF AN EYE, ELEGANT AND REMARKABLE QUILT OF EGG MAGIC
Ever since I published a self-proclaimed genius recipe for my magic 15-seconds creamy scrambled eggs, I didn’t think a better one – and by “better” I mean it in the context where you need a speedy and easy recipe for morning eggs – could ever come across my path, which proves, again, that I know nothing.
A glimpse in one of the episodes in Anthony Bourdain’s Return To Catalunya, in a fairytale land far far away they call Barcelona, there under the sparkling dim lights in a snuggly tapas bar, I saw it. Quiet and flashing by, one can assume that among the dazzles of celebrity TV personalities and seemly endless flow of Spanish culinary bewitchment, this egg dish wasn’t even the heroine of the night. But I saw it, I noticed, a hot cast-iron skillet cuddling what seemed to be the most beautiful, golden blanket of creamy eggs. We locked eyes. None of us said a word. But just from that split second of eye contact, me and it, almost telepathically, we understood something deep about one another.
From its wet and almost undone surface, its slightly firmer and rippling bottom, and fact that it was served being cradled inside a warm cast-iron skillet, it whispered to me how it was made, like watching a movie unrolling, but only in my mind, a glowing mirage of prophecy. I saw one hot skillet, butter in a hypnotizing swirl, then almost abruptly, the flame wisp away only to welcome the stream of eggs into its warm embrace. Barely guided was the slow and perfect congelation, and the restrain to apply any unnecessary heat was absolute, resulting in an one-skillet, blink of an eye, elegant and remarkable quilt of egg magic. At that point I’ve never met it, tasted it, but I immediately understood its calling, its noble mission of life – to ensure that no one on this earth bestowed with the gift that is eggs, will ever, ever taste a bad one again.
And what it understood about me? Well, you’re reading it aren’t you.
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp unsalted butter
- Before you start with the eggs, you can prepare the toppings if any. I fry a clove of thinly sliced garlic in 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, then I add 1 tbsp finely chopped herbs (basil and mint) and a pinch of ground white pepper and chili flakes, then added toasted pine nuts. But the topping can be as simple as crumbled feta with olive oil, or shaved pecorino cheese, or really, nothing would be fine as well.
- A note on the skillet. The size of the skillet is important. You want the eggs to spread across the diameter in a fairly thin layer. A 9" is perfect for 2 large eggs. 10"~11" for 3 eggs. 12"~13" for 4 eggs.
- Beat eggs and sea salt until slightly frothy (I find that thoroughly beaten eggs results in a creamier texture), set aside. Place a 9" cast-iron skillet, or any heavy NON-STICK skillet over medium-high heat. Preheat 1:30 min for cast-iron skillet, or 2 min for NON-STICK skillet. The preheat time may vary based on the skillet you use, so the first time may be a test-run for you to get a feel of it. Basically we want to have enough heat to accomplish the following result, no more no less.
- Add 2 tsp unsalted butter and swirl the skillet without lifting the skillet away from the heat, until the butter has fully melted. Now turn off the heat, and add the beaten eggs. Use a spatula to gently push the edges of curdled egg towards the center, then tilt the skillet to let the remaining runny egg fill the empty space. Do this until you don't have much runny eggs left. The surface of the eggs should look UNDONE at this point. DO NOT ATTEMPT to apply more heat to cook the egg. The residual heat will warm through the surface as it sits and makes it perfectly soft.
- Serve immediately with whatever toppings you fancy. Or really, nothing is perfect, too.