The perfect egg is a puzzle. Professional chefs, and even scientists, disagree on how to make the best eggs; home cooks simply have a tendency to overcook them. Bottom line: "It's all personal taste," says the great David Waltuck, James Beard award-winning chef-owner of élan, his highly anticipated new restaurant opening this summer in New York City. Waltuck has been making eggs all his life, even before he and his wife, Karen, brought fine dining downtown with their acclaimed restaurant Chanterelle, which closed for good in 2009. Understandably, he has deep knowledge of what works best. "Mastering the art of cooking an egg requires a little patience," Waltuck says. "It's difficult to do a lot at the same time, but with practice it becomes easier." Here, he teaches us how to make gorgeous eggs in six classic ways, and he offers one easy but fabulous recipe for shirred (baked) eggs with ham and tomato.
How to Scramble Eggs
There's no right or wrong way to scramble eggs, says Waltuck. It's really a matter of preference. "I like my scrambled eggs somewhere between the custardy French scrambled eggs and the dry scrambled eggs you eat with ketchup," he says. First, whisk the eggs in a bowl, estimating 2 to 3 eggs per person. Waltuck says he prefers to cook them "in a pan on low to moderate heat. I don't stir them constantly. Instead, I like to let the eggs set and turn them from time to time with a wooden spoon or spatula. It's an old-fashioned American way of doing it." Add seasonings and toppings when the scrambled eggs are almost ready – never to the whisked eggs before they go into the skillet.
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