Thursday, December 15, 2016

on the "perfect" scrambled egg:
Gordon Ramsay vs. Anthony Bourdain

How do you make the "perfect" scrambled egg?

Gordon Ramsay has one opinion; Anthony Bourdain has a distinctly different one. I think I'm more of a Bourdainian, although it would've been nice to see Bourdain actually prepping his eggs so that I could be sure. From what I gather, Ramsay is going more for creaminess while Bourdain is more about coherence. Texturally speaking, I side more with Bourdain, although I do add milk or cream to my eggs the way Ramsay does.

UPDATE: Jamie Oliver shows off his rendition of English, French, and American scrambled eggs. If we use Oliver's video as the standard for a spectrum of scrambled eggs, then Gordon Ramsay's eggs come closest to the French style, and mine are Amurrican.


The Maximum Leader said...

As I've been eating lots of eggs recently, I've made scrambled eggs all of these ways (and have watched all of these videos before). If I have developed a real preference for Gordon Brown's with the creme fraiche at the end. Damn they are good. However, the double boiler method with butter renders almost the same effect. My one beef with Oliver is that adding salt before cooking can coarsen the eggs. I don't think the salt dissolves completely and "tears" the eggs as you cook/stir them.

All in all I go with Brown.

Kevin Kim said...

Who is this "Brown" of whom you speak? Gordon Brown, former UK prime minister? Does he indeed make perfect scrambled eggs? Or is Gordon Brown actually Alton Brown's long-lost cousin?

Charles said...

I'm actually partial to Boris Johnson's scrambled eggs. Heh.

Seriously, though, I'm more of a Ramsayan, but I agree with Bourdain about not adding cream to the eggs. If I have chives, though, I will add them. Also agree on not seasoning until the end.

But it really depends on how much time I have. Bourdain's method doesn't take as long, so if I'm in a hurry I will do it that way and end up more with what I consider American-style eggs. If I have the time, though, I go for French-style, although my method is a little different from Ramsay's. I put the pan on very low heat (as low as the range can go without the flame going out) and use a whisk. I keep the pan over the heat and keep whisking until the eggs start to firm up. The tricky part is figuring out when to take the pan off the heat, as there is a tiny window between where the eggs are not done and where the eggs are overcooked. The latter is worse than the former—when the eggs are overcooked the proteins seize up and you get water separating out from the tiny, tough curds—so I try to err on the side of undercooked, if anything. Slightly undercooked and they are still fine; slightly overcooked and they aren't really worth eating.

Ramsay's method probably achieves much the same result, but it is more demanding during the process (requiring you to keep going on and off the heat) and more forgiving at the end (because you add the cream to stop the eggs from overcooking). My method also probably take a little longer.

Hmm. OK, I think I know what we're going to have for breakfast tomorrow. I'll go home this evening and make some wholewheat (or "brown," as the Brits would say) bread! Too bad we don't have any smoked salmon. Smoked salmon and scrambled eggs is a dish I learned to love in Scotland. Good stuff.

(To give credit where credit is due, my method actually comes from Ian Fleming—yep, the author-of-James-Bond Ian Fleming. Don't remember which one it was, but one of the short stories contains JB's recipe for the perfect scrambled egg.)

Charles said...

Just watched the Oliver video. I guess my version would be somewhere between the English and the French, leaning more toward the French—but cooking eggs over a bain marie seems a bit overkill. Probably more forgiving, though.

The Maximum Leader said...

I said Brown but meant Ramsay. Sorry.

Kevin Kim said...


All is forgiven. Now go and sin no more.

The Maximum Leader said...

Thank ye father for my forgiveness.

Charles, James Bond eats scrambled eggs in almost every (if not every) book. There recipe I recall called for 12 eggs. As I recall Bond cooks them in the English style, but adds herbs and chives and butter near the end.

As I stated before, I am really fond of Ramsay's method. That creme fraiche at the end can compensate a lot for any overcooking that might have occurred. Of course butter can do the trick too (if added at the end).

I have also done scrambled eggs in a very elaborate way. Basically, separate eggs into yokes and whites. You beat the yokes and add just a little bit of water to thin them. Then you beat the whites until they form stiff peaks. (Heh.) Then you fold the yokes gently into the merengue and spoon them onto a medium hot buttered skillet of griddle. They puff up and come out with an almost souffle consistency.

Kevin Kim said...

Better yoke those yolks. And better dance that merengue.

Trivia: the word "subjugate" contains the same Indo-European root (-jug-) as the word "yoke" does. As I learned in a French-language class in Switzerland, to be subjugated is to be put "sous le joug," i.e., under the yoke. Oh, and "yoga" is also derived from the same PIE (proto-Indo-European) root: to follow a yogic path is to harness or to yoke oneself to that path: a subjugation of the self.

But in all seriousness, those eggs sound quite delish, Mike.

The Maximum Leader said...

I am so pathetic. I know the difference betwixt yoke and yolk and meringue and merengue. I am just being stupid, thoughtless, and occasionally clicking on the spelling suggestions on the work computer.

I think we've had the yoke conversation before. I knew the common root with yoga and subjugate. I was not aware of the French language aspect (or if I was before I've forgotten). But I do like the ring of put under the yoke.

I was using some French last night. We were talking at the dinner table and the kids were trying to remember the expression in French for "being killed in the Scottish way." The expression is "poignarder à l'écossais." It means to be stabbed repeatedly, brutally, and excessively to death. You know, the way the Scots do it...

About my scrambled egg/soufflé recipe. Didn't that method of preparation come from Mme DuC when you were an exchange student in high school? That is where it sticks in my mind as coming from. I could have picked it up around the same time and conflated the two events... If it didn't take forever to prepare, I'd eat those eggs more often.

BTW, I had scrambled eggs (Ramsay (Brown?) style) for lunch today. Quite yummy.

Kevin Kim said...


re: "poignarder à l'écossais"

Interesting. I Googled the exact phrase and came up with exactly two search results. It seems the phrase is used in a Sherlock Holmes story and nowhere else! It also seems grammatically suspect, as nouns used in an "à la" expression are normally in the feminine:

à l'anglaise
à la française
à l'italienne


Damn that Caleb Carr.

Meantime, my initial Google search turned up this depressing article from March 2016 about a Muslim grocer in Scotland who was stabbed to death (30 times!) by another Muslim after the victim had published friendly Easter wishes as a gesture of peace toward Christians. I vaguely remember this incident, but given that it was one of many similar incidents this year, my memory of it wasn't clear. A real shame, this was and is.

Kevin Kim said...


The other Google search result was for the German version of Carr's Sherlock-adventure novel. The German title, Das Blut der Schande, means "the blood of shame"—a far cry from the more neutral-sounding The Italian Secretary.