Sam Sifton’s creamy scrambled eggs are a revelation. After trying them, I truly have difficulty imagining how I ate regular, tougher scrambled eggs. These eggs are satiny and bright with lemon and the mildest bite of silky scallion.
We make these fairly often, mostly on lazy mornings in Alibaug, when the sun is too strong to do much besides recline and read, or submerge in the pool. These eggs take minimal exertion but to get them right, it’s still important to pay close attention. We pour the egg mixture into the pan and with our wooden spatula, make pretty swirls by pushing them all over the pan while they cook on low heat, but as soon as the first curds form, we add the lemon-cilantro mixture, swirl for another minute, and turn off the heat. The eggs continue cooking in their own heat, you see, so over cooking them in the pan will lead to the type of torn, rubbery eggs I can’t believe I ever ate. A little vigilance on a weekend morning produces such rewards.
We pair these with Sifton’s hash browns; Hrishikesh loves the idea of cooking in ghee (clarified butter). He wants to cook everything in ghee- literally, everything. I try to prevent him from doing this. Sam Sifton was having trouble making hash browns without burning his potatoes and asked the chef at Henrietta’s Tavern, Peter Davis, the secret behind that establishment’s “thick and crusted, brown and nutty” hash browns. He replied: ghee. Hrishikesh did a victory dance when he heard this. A victory dance for ghee lovers everywhere.
“Butter is a fat: a stick of milk solids bound with emulsified oil, suspending some water,” says Sifton, who explains that when you heat butter in a pan, it first foams, then browns, then finally, burns. He learns from Davis that by clarifying the butter- (removing the milk solids)- you can “heat the butter to a higher temperature without burning, make it hot enough to crisp your potatoes and allow the sugars within them to caramelize, to turn into crust.
These hash browns in ghee are buttery and crispy. (Recipe for clarifying butter is below. Or, you can probably find ghee at a specialty store like Whole Foods or an Indian or Pakistani grocery).
Scrambled Eggs with Lemon and Green Onions (or scallions)
adapted (liberally) from The New York Times
2 tablespoons ghee or unsalted butter
4 green onions, white and green parts finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon (or Indian lime) juice
6 large eggs
4 tablespoons milk
1. Heat 2 tablespoons ghee or butter in a nonstick pan until hot and foaming. Add the green onion, lower the heat, and cook gently for two minutes, then add the garlic, cilantro, salt and pepper, stir carefully to combine and cook for another minute. Add the lemon juice and cook for 30 seconds more, then remove the contents of the pan into a small bowl, and do not wipe off the pan.
2. Break the eggs into a small bowl, pour in the milk and mix together. Heat the pan on high for a minute, pour in the egg mixture, reduce the heat to low and stir gently with a wooden spoon. Continue to cook slowly, until the eggs begin to form into curds. Add the lemon-scallion mixture and continue to cook for an additional minute or so, until the eggs are pillowy. Season to taste. Serves 2.
Hash Browns cooked in Ghee (Clarified Butter)
from the New York Times
4 medium potatoes
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
1. Peel the potatoes and place them in a large pot of cold water. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium high and cook until you can poke a bamboo skewer through a potato, 40 to 50 minutes, being careful not to overcook. Drain and set aside to cool and dry completely, preferably overnight in the refrigerator.
2. Meanwhile, clarify the butter by melting it in a small saucepan over medium heat. When foam forms, use a spoon to remove and discard it. Cook, skimming, until the butter stops bubbling. Take care not to brown it. Strain through a fine sieve or cheesecloth and reserve. You should have about 5 tablespoons.
3. Heat a cast-iron or heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Grate the potatoes on the large side of a box grater into a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper and mix lightly. Add 3 tablespoons butter to pan, swirl until it begins to melt and add the shredded potatoes. Cook until golden brown and crusted on the bottom, almost (but not quite) burned in parts, about 15 minutes.
4. Use a wide spatula to flip the potatoes, or quickly invert the pan onto a dinner plate and gently slide them back into the pan. Add remaining butter around the sides of the potatoes and cook the second side until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Cut into wedges or spoon onto plates. Serve with eggs, grilled meats, toast and plenty of jam.
Serves 6. Adapted from Peter Davis at Henrietta’s Table, Cambridge, Mass.