France is known for many delicious things. There’s charcuterie with all its nuance and varying levels of porkiness. Then there is the abundance of cheese. Charles de Gaulle himself so famously exclaimed, “how can anyone govern a nation that has two hundred and forty-six different kinds of cheese?” Additionally, there is butter. It is the undisputed backbone of traditional French cuisine. It is butter that gives a croissant its flaky altitude of layers. And then there is the butter of the unknown, that special ingredient that creates sensuous sauces and envelopes vegetables on a restaurant plate.
However, there is a new realm of butter that I have never known before. One recent morning, I whipped up a tartine for my husband comme d’habitude. I sliced a day-old baguette lengthwise, threw it in the toaster oven, threw a little butter on top, and let the oven do the work. I spread on a thin layer of plum jam and awaited my ‘merci’. “I don’t like it when the butter is melted”, he said. My jaw dropped. It’s toasted bread! The butter is supposed to be melted by the heat of the toast! That’s magic of breakfast right there. I shrugged it off; so particular, this husband of mine. Then over our Alpine vacation, over one of the many chats about food over coffee with my mother-in-law, she exclaimed the same disfavor for the taste of melted butter, like in pound cake. But butter is as butter does, non? I’m an intelligent person. I saw The Tree of Life. And I liked it. But somehow, I never thought about the difference between butter in its many mediums. Alas, at the end of the day, I have lot of work to do. And I am still as American as I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!® – Spray.
C has tapped the secret of scrambled eggs. Not even just the secret of making them, but the secret revelation of what they can be. I have never had the best pastime of scrambled eggs. They have always been a bit lost. Somehow the rich sensuousness of the yolk is lost in the technique. The dowdy other-half to bacon. More of a showcase of salt and pepper. I have become arrogant in my omelet abilities and have always attempted scrambled eggs with the same high-heat, pan-moving treatment. However, they are always too dry and half of the final product gets lost to the pan. I love the instant gratification of eggs, but sometimes a little added technique and patience can reintroduce something so simple and satisfying!
Low and slow is the way to go! Turn on the stovetop to its lowest setting. Beat best-quality eggs with a splash of milk, a small drizzle of water, and a generous amount of salt and pepper.
Throw a hearty nob of butter into the pan, about one teaspoon per egg, pour in the eggs, and be prepared to stir! Much like a risotto, these eggs need both affection and attention. Keep stirring
Cooking the eggs at the lowest temperature creates smaller, silkier curds and a creamier, velvety final product. Once you can draw a smiley face on the bottom of the pan, BRAVO! You are almost there.
Depending on the temperature of your stove, it can take anywhere from 5-15 minutes. Keep stirring until they are just barely set. When done right, they will have a a custard-like texture. Serve with chopped chives and crème fraiche, or with a tranche of smoked salmon. Serve them however you would normally serve scrambled eggs. However, they do not need much more than a sprinkle of sel de fleur and a piece or two of toast to sop up all the delicious creaminess. Or reunite these made-over scrambled eggs with their other-half, bacon.