Scrambled eggs are a breakfast staple and everyone seems to have their own particular method for cooking up the fluffiest eggs possible. But the quest for the perfect scrambled eggs may be over, thanks to this French-style recipe by private chef and YouTuber Bruno Albouze.
Unlike traditional scrambled eggs, which are fluffy and form more solid curds, the French style offers a “silkier, creamier variation” on the breakfast food, Albouze told TODAY.
“If (the eggs are) cooked the right way, it changes the texture, the mouthfeel is just incredible,” he said. “If it's overcooked, you just don't get the same thing. You're pretty much eating chopped omelet.”
According to Albouze, the “French way of cooking scrambled eggs is the right way.”
While Albouze may have mastered this classic technique, he didn’t invent it. Chef Brendan Walsh, the dean of the School of Culinary Arts at The Culinary Institute of America, explained that while scrambled eggs have likely been around for thousands of years in places where chickens were first domesticated (like China and Egypt), the French style emerged in the early days of haute or "high cuisine." This term refers to the style of food preparation that blossomed in France during the 16th century, and is still served in many Michelin-starred eateries today.
“Eggs are a staple in cooking school," Albouze said. "Cooking eggs is a big thing, because eggs are the trickiest thing to cook. It's composed mostly of water, because the egg white is watery, and the yolk is fat, but it's tricky because it can overcook very fast.
"Scrambled eggs are definitely the item not everyone knows how to cook it properly. And very very few restaurants know how to do it without them being overcooked.”
Albouze, 50, has been cooking since he began an apprenticeship at the age of 14 in France, where he learned the art of cooking, baking and pastry making. Growing up, Albouze said he used to walk to nearby farms for fresh, pasture-raised eggs to make omelets and scrambled eggs.
During his career, the chef has worked at the Hôtel Plaza Athénée in Paris under renowned chef Alain Ducasse and as an instructor at the Culinary Institute Lenotre in Houston.
But the chef, who now lives in San Diego, really found his stride in 2009 when he started his own YouTube channel. Albouze now has over 760,000 subscribers and 70 million total video views. One of his most popular videos, a recipe for ratatouille, has garnered over 10 million views.
In one of his latest cooking demos, Albouze shared his favorite method for cooking scrambled eggs in the French style. In 2015, he showcased how to cook French-style eggs in water bath. Both methods require constant stirring and movement over low heat to achieve the desired creamy texture.
One method Albouze demonstrated uses a nonstick pan, while the other uses a water bath, which is known as a "bain marie” in French and culinary terms.
Walsh added that the French way is a technique where "slow and low, patience and respect" result in the creamiest eggs possible. It is a preparation method that is taught at the CIA, although he said he rarely sees the technique used in America outside of fancier hotels and restaurants.
"It is important in egg cookery to create soft and supple textures," Walsh said via email. "Too high of heat will dry out the protein and take away the supple creaminess that the protein can provide.”
“Cooking is about ingredients,” Albouze added. “80% (is) about the ingredients, 10% skills and 10% time. So, it tells us you don't have to be skilled, just if you understand that ingredients are the most important part of cooking.”
For this reason, he recommends using pasture-raised eggs, which means that the egg-laying hens are allowed to spend plenty of time outside, and feed on grass, bugs or worms instead of a corn- or soy-based diet.
These days, if the egg aisle at your supermarket seems a little empty, it might not be a bad idea to take a road trip out to a local farm, pick up some fresh eggs and try out this fun technique at home.
Said Walsh, “Crispy toast and creamy French-style eggs are just the sexiest start to the chef’s morning."
French-Style Scrambled Eggs, Bruno Albouze
This recipes serves two people and takes about 15 minutes from start to finish.
Said Albouze, “There's no question that the most important factor when cooking eggs is the cooking technique itself. In the case of scrambled eggs, that means using gentle heat and taking the eggs off the flame a little early to account for carryover cooking.”
- 6 eggs
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 1/2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons milk, heavy cream or creme fraiche
- Fresh herbs, such as dill or minced chives, optional
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. Crack eggs into a bowl and set aside. Do not whisk the eggs. Set flame to medium and allow heat to gently warm the pan prior to adding any fat.
2. Add the olive oil and butter to the pan. Let melt slightly before adding the unbeaten eggs. With a whisk or a rubber spatula, poke the egg yolks and cook slowly on medium heat while constantly stirring, folding and shaking the pan.
3. Continue to cook and move the eggs as they start to scramble. They should yield a soft, delicate and creamy texture in about 5 minutes. As the eggs start to come together, turn off the heat and continue to stir the eggs.
4. To stop the cooking process, whisk in a dash of milk or cream. Season the eggs with salt and a few grinds of pepper before you’re ready to serve. Salting the eggs too early may make your eggs watery.
5. If desired, serve the scrambled eggs with some fresh herbs, such as dill or chives. Eggs also pair remarkably well with caviar, salmon roe, truffle, cured salmon or bacon. Either way, these eggs should be served immediately.