Scrambled egg or not scrambled egg?

That is the breakfast!

Back in September, Rick Murray mentioned on his blog that he made some scrambled egg and chips. When I read the post and saw the picture, my immediate thought was (and I commented that) it looked more like a deep omelette (but with no filling) than scrambled egg. I don’t make scrambled egg often, but I decided that next time I did, I would take a photo and put it online for comparison.

The reason I don’t make it often is that eggs aren’t a particularly frequent purchase for me, as I rarely use them, though that seems to have changed over the last few months; I have been buying them a little more often than I used to. The same is also true of milk – something I previously bought rarely, but have lately been buying more often.

In truth, since Rick’s post, I’ve had scrambled egg a couple of times already, but forgot to take any photos. Even this morning, I almost forgot, but remembered just in the nick of time.

Anyway, that’s the preamble – here’s the photo.

Scrambled egg on toast, with beans - and of course a cup of coffee!
Scrambled egg on toast, with beans – and of course a cup of coffee!

I’d normally tip the beans from the pan onto the egg, but it was when I was about to do so that I remembered the need to grab a photo, so I quickly put them to one side instead.

For comparison, I’ve blatantly stolen Rick’s photograph:

Rick's very deep omel... sorry, I mean scrambled egg and chips!
Rick’s very deep omel… sorry, I mean scrambled egg and chips!

See the difference?

The obvious reason Rick’s version is so different to mine is that, as he notes in his post, he cooked it in the microwave. I cooked mine in a pan on the hob, which allowed me to ‘turn’ the eggs as they were cooking, which is to say using a spatula or other flat implement to lift sections of the egg off the base of the pan as it cooks, and turn it over on top of the rest. I think that’s the key point – that is the scrambling part of the process, which cooking it in a microwave doesn’t provide the opportunity to do.

In my comment on Rick’s post I mentioned that I’d never actually made an omelette (and that it’s a long time since I’ve even eaten one), but thought the basic cooking process is similar, so before typing this post I’ve looked it up. The answer is that it is indeed similar, though not quite the same.

As with all recipes there are broadly similar but different methods, and different suggested ingredients – but this is an example that is very close to how I generally make my scrambled eggs. The chief difference being the lack of any turning / scrambling. So based on that, I think my observation that what Rick made was more akin to an omelette is probably about right. The two are indeed similarly made.

For the record, how I made mine:

  • I beat three eggs (because they weren’t especially large) with a little milk added. Some people have a simple guide, like one tablespoon per egg, etc, but I just use my own judgement and tip some straight in.
  • Meanwhile, a knob of butter (actually a cheap alternative, but whatever) is melting on a medium to medium-high (ish) heat in my larger frying pan (I’m not posh enough to own a separate skillet). Again, some people may specify an amount, but I just get take a knife to my butter, and drop an amount that ‘looks right’ into the pan.
  • When the butter is melted, I lift the pan and tilt it around a bit so the butter covers the whole area, and pour in the beaten eggs.
  • I finally drop the heat slightly to medium, wait for some of the eggs to begin to solidify, then start the turning process using a spatula.

That’s literally all there is to it. You can add a little seasoning to the eggs if you like – a little salt and pepper – but I don’t bother because I never buy pepper; there aren’t many things I make that need it, so on those I could use it I just go without. And salt I only really use on chips – plenty of it, accompanied by similarly copious amounts of vinegar, and not to mention ketchup.

The beans and toast speak for themselves. If you don’t know how to make those, what in the holiest of hells are you doing in a kitchen? What I’ll add here, though, is a comment on the amount of beans on my plate – that’s about a third of a normal 400g can. The label will tell you that’s two servings, but I tend to make it three – a vast, vast improvement on what I used to do, which was treat a whole can as a single serving.

But the important part, the bit that makes scrambled egg, well, scrambled egg is the practice of turning them while they cook, which using a microwave doesn’t allow for. In short, while you can make something in a microwave that uses all the same ingredients as scrambled egg, and all the same preparation, in no way is it actually scrambled egg.

And no, I will not accept that beating the eggs counts as scrambling them. If that was the important step the finished, cooked product would be called beaten egg!

So there.

And having never made one before, I now quite fancy trying my hand at making an omelette at some point soon. Not yet, though, because I don’t think I have anything suitable to hand to use as a filling.

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