I first tried this dish in a small restaurant in NYC while visiting friends for the weekend. My friend Amy recommended the scrambled eggs with asparagus and feta – how could I pass that up? I was hooked. The crisp, clean asparagus is a sweet contrast to the faint tang of the feta – all enjoyed against the background of fluffy, creamy eggs. While I am not as fortunate to live in the city and order up these delectable eggs every weekend, I decided that something this simple should be easy enough to duplicate at home. Turns out – it is.
Scrambled eggs are probably one of the most traditional breakfast options. Ranging from a over-cooked rubbery mess, to heavenly fluffy melt-in-your-mouth creamy, scrambled eggs can mean several things. Once you learn a couple of simple tricks, it is easy to produce those creamy eggs every time. With a good technique for creamy eggs, the possibilities are endless to “spice them up” and turn a simple dish into a true breakfast. My first “perfect egg tip”: Don’t forget to season. After you have cracked your eggs, don’t hesitate to add a good amount of salt, pepper and even some fresh herbs. I also like to add a splash of heavy cream to my raw eggs. Whisk the eggs and the seasonings until well incorporated. (One of my biggest pet-peeves is scrambled eggs with distinct chunks of whites and yolks.) Tip 2: For those perfectly smooth eggs, don’t be afraid to give those suckers a good beating. You know your eggs are properly beaten when you lift the whisk and the eggs run off smoothly – you should not have any remaining clumps of egg white. Now to the cooking process. Tip 3: Eggs are often ruined because they are overcooked – either too long a stay on the stove or too high of a temperature. Low and slow is the way to go when it comes to eggs (and no the rhyme was not purposeful.) Use a non-stick skillet and heat it over medium-low heat. Once the pan is warm, add a tablespoon of butter and melt. Once the butter has coated the bottom of the pan, add your eggs and start stirring. I like a wooden spoon for this application (remember you only want to use wood or heat-proof plastic on your non-stick pans). Keep the eggs in constant motion – this is what will make the eggs light and fluffy. By keeping the eggs moving, you ensure even cooking, which in turn means no rubbery overcooked parts of your scrambled eggs. Keep stirring until the eggs are firm, but still wet. Tip 4: Pull the eggs one minute before you think they are done. Even when food is off the stove, it continues to cook in a process called “carry-over cooking” (very technical name, huh?) With items as delicate as eggs, you need to account for the carry-over cooking by removing them from the heat right before they are done. The remaining “wet” areas of the eggs will continue to cook from the residual heat leaving you with evenly cooked eggs. Now that your perfect scrambled eggs are ready, go ahead and add all the great extras to make it a true scramble.
I find that when it comes to scramble “add-ins,” the simpler the better. While I often have the urge to add everything left-over in my fridge, it’s best to think about the flavors and choose a couple specifics to highlight. In this case, I highlight asparagus (especially this time of year when the asparagus is in season and plentiful) and feta. The feta offers a nice surprise as it’s not a traditional cheese in a lot of breakfast items. And with these two simple ingredients, you easily create a very impressive dish. The key to these eggs is to use the best ingredients. With all cooking, your end product is only as good as your individual ingredients, but even more so when you cook with very few ingredients. Because this dish only has three ingredients, make sure to splurge and buy good quality. To ensure the freshest asparagus, look for stalks that have tight spears – if the spears seem to be opening like a flower, the asparagus has seen better days. For the feta, choose a fresh mild version. (You can find this in many grocery stores at the olive bar.) Make sure your fresh feta is packed in brine and crumbles softly. Processed and packaged feta tend to have a sharper taste – and while great in many applications, its a little too strong for breakfast. Bottom line – if you are going to improve upon perfect eggs, make sure you only add quality flavors that are truly an improvement and not a distraction.
Recipe: Asparagus & Feta Scramble
So go ahead and get creative with your scrambles. If Asparagus & Feta doesn’t tempt your taste buds, try some of these other great flavor combinations.
Sauted wild mushrooms, finely grated greuyere cheese, fresh thyme
Browned spicey sausage, crispy sauted potaoes, sauted peppers & onions, cheddar cheese.