Spring Farmer’s Market Scramble
served with a side of sautéed market spinach
Here in Colorado, the spring growing season has barely begun. I look at pictures of fava beans and strawberries with disbelief and a bit of jealousy. The harbinger of spring, asparagus, hasn’t even arrived here. I wander the produce section of the grocery store and everything seems to be from Mexico. Dedicated to following the seasons, I bide my time and try to enjoy the few pleasures available now. At the Boulder Farmer’s Market I see spinach, green garlic, and locally grown Hazel Dell mushrooms. I pick up farm fresh eggs and start feeling a bit more optimistic. Tomorrow’s breakfast will be scrambled eggs.
The most important thing about cooking eggs any way is to be gentle. Eggs should be prepared with a low heat and ample time. I spent a year as a morning baker and short order breakfast cook, and eggs were a source of constant performance anxiety- until I learned this lesson. The pan should be given some time to warm up before the eggs go in, but it should never be screaming hot. We’ve all had that experience of an egg hissing and popping while cooking fat splatters everywhere- the pan is too hot. So, heat the pan and slide a nub of unsalted butter in. The butter will melt and then begin to foam. For a scrambled egg: lightly whisk your eggs and pour them into the pan, stirring constantly as the eggs cook. Always under cook your scrambled eggs slightly, as they will continue to cook on the plate. This makes the difference between a creamy soft scrambled egg and a dry, rubbery scrambled egg. In his book, Eggs, Michel Roux writes, “Scrambling is the finest way to cook eggs in my opinion.” I totally agree. The fancy omelet gets a lot of attention, but there is something luxurious and really comforting about a perfectly scrambled egg.
Cooking eggs seems intimidating, but it just requires practice. Practice mastering the heat of your stove. Practice sensing the right moment to flip a fried egg. Practice knowing when an egg is done cooking. These things can only be learned through mistakes: over or under-heating the pan, flipping the fried egg to early and breaking the yolk, over-cooking a scrambled egg to rubber. For several years, my husband was the only one who could cook an egg in our house. My baking job that required me to also function as a short order cook forced me to learn how to cook an egg. Now I feel so good pulling out the frying pan and cracking an egg into it. How can something so simple be so liberating? You can do it, just start with one simple technique- like a scrambled egg. You’ll be a short order cook in no time.
Spring Farmer’s Market Scramble
a couple of tablespoons of butter
1 shallot, minced
1/2 pound mixed bag of farmer’s market mushrooms, chopped
5 farm fresh eggs
To begin, heat a medium non-stick skillet over low heat and toss in a generous tablespoon of butter. Once the butter has melted, add the minced shallot and cook for 1 minute. Stir the mushrooms in with the shallot and cook over medium heat for a few minutes, until the mushrooms are tender and lightly browned. Remove the mushroom-shallot mixture from the pan** and toss in a tablespoon of butter for cooking the eggs. Once the butter has melted and begun to foam, gently whisk the eggs and pour them into the pan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the eggs have come together in creamy, soft curds. The eggs will be about 90% done at this point. Don’t worry, the eggs will continue to cook on the plate. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve the sautéed mushrooms atop the scrambled eggs topped with snips of fresh chives. Market spinach sautéed in garlic and olive oil is a nice accompaniment.
**Keep the mushrooms in a covered bowl in a warm oven so they will be ready to toss over your cooked eggs.