Daniel Patterson's Poached Scrambled Eggs

By • May 4, 2012 • 34 Comments

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Author Notes: These are the quickest and fluffiest of scrambled eggs, made with an exceedingly forgiving technique. Though this recipe serves 2, you can scale up or down freely. Depending on how you plan to dress them up, you can also salt the water to taste without threatening the integrity of your eggs -- if you're serving them minimally, with just a ribbon of olive oil and sprinkle of flaky salt, go ahead and salt the water till it tastes like the sea, as you would for boiling pasta or blanching vegetables.

Recipe adapted very slightly from the New York Times Magazine, "The Way We Eat: Which Came First?" (January 8, 2006)
Genius Recipes

Serves 2

  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
  • Fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Crack each egg into a medium-mesh sieve (or narrow-slotted spoon), letting the thin white drain away. Transfer the remaining yolk and white to a small bowl. (Note: If your eggs are very fresh, you can skip this step.) Beat the eggs vigorously with a fork or whisk for 20 seconds.
  2. Set a medium saucepan filled with about 4 inches of water over moderate heat. Put a strainer in the sink. When the water is at a low boil, add a few large pinches of salt, then stir in a clockwise direction to create a whirlpool. Pour the eggs into the moving water, cover the pot and count to 20.
  3. Turn off the heat and uncover the pot. The eggs should be floating on the surface in ribbons. While holding back the eggs with a spoon, pour off most of the water over the strainer. Gently slide the eggs into the strainer and press them lightly to expel any excess liquid. Tilt your strainer from side to side to release any trapped water (you can even drain them on paper towels, if you like).
  4. Scoop the eggs into bowls, drizzle with olive oil if desired and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
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Topics: Breakfast

Comments (34) Questions (0)


22 days ago chris

Really good eggs, especially with a drizzle of truffle oil. However, I made a big mess to clean-up (don't ask), and my four eggs drained down to barely enough for 2 people. I'll definitely try this method, again; I see great possibilities.


25 days ago Susan Henrickson

I just made this. These were the lightest, fluffiest eggs we have ever eaten! I put a dab of butter on at the end with the salt and pepper. Perfect!


25 days ago cajoto58

...I like my scrambles wet and fluffy must have spoonful of sour cream,added right after beaten barely mix in,perfection...tips from Sopranos' cast....those actors eat,cook and act like they love food!...but I will try this method and thanks for micro wave tips!


about 1 month ago MARINNA

loved this method!! yellow fluffy eggs i can FINALLY make lol


2 months ago CJ

I loved this technique! If I can get the timing down it pairs perfectly with a slice of perfect toast. Very custardy which is a favorite texture of mine. Thanks for sharing!


4 months ago Jennifer Strong

Wow, kind of shocked at all the defensiveness on this thread :/ I have a scrambled egg method that I'm very happy with, but will try this out simply for the experience. Who knows? Could become my tried and true. and if not, well, the Food52 world and its followers will never know because I won't come back here and complain about it. Also, microwaved eggs? GROSS. Gah, just stop!


11 months ago Alyssa

These were delicious! I just made them for the first time. They were so light and fluffy and the addition of a little olive oil and salt made them crazy good. I usually scramble my eggs with butter, milk, and cheese, so this is far healthier. If you're looking for a faster way to scramble eggs, this isn't it. But it's worth the time. And the best part was that my three year-old helped me make them and then ate some! I can't remember the last time he took a bite of scrambled eggs and didn't spit them back out. This recipe is a winner, in my book.


11 months ago Luvtocook

I agree with poster deckercn's two year-old comment. If I'm really in a hurry for breakfast, I put a pat of butter in a big coffee cup, add one or two eggs that I've wildly mixed with a fork and "nuke" it for less than a minute. When the toast pops up, my scrambled eggs are ready, too. I'm a woman who lives by the adage: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. And I like my fluffy microwaved scrambled eggs just fine, thank you very much.


over 1 year ago Parrotmom

The best I can say about these is that the eggs were cooked and the texture was really silky. Other than that, I thought it was a waste of 2 perfectly beautiful farm-fresh eggs. Bland to the point of flavorless and adding olive oil, salt, and pepper made them taste like olive oil, salt, and pepper. I can scramble in a pan faster, with much tastier results.


over 1 year ago eburck

My grandfather taught me to make scrambled eggs this way at least 55 yrs ago. He would put a little butter in the boiling water, gently pour in the eggs. When they were done, he'd scoop them out with a slotted spoon & place them in a dish lined with saltine crackers & let the crackers soak up the remaining water. Amazingly delicious & one of my favorite comfort foods. Always brings me back to my childhood.


almost 2 years ago MariahK

Just made these for breakfast and I love them! I salted the water heavily and the eggs weren't bland at all.


almost 2 years ago Dragnier

They taste ok, if on the bland side. I wont be making them again. I cook for 4-5 people when I make breakfast and this just isn't worth the waiting. Once you count the time to boil the water and the time to drain the eggs, I can actually cook 4 scrambled eggs in a good ceramic non-stick on my induction much faster than the time this took. I would also like to add that 4 eggs cooked by this recipe like 2 eggs cooked the way I normally do. I can't afford to waste food like that.


almost 2 years ago Bob Byrd

I made them and it works, but the 40 seconds doesn't include the time spent waiting for the water to drain from the finished eggs in the sieve. And they taste kind of bland. They were certainly fluffy but the time spent waiting for the water to boil could be spent scrambling the eggs in a skillet.


almost 2 years ago Johnny Ringo

Okay...I have to admit that when I read this I had the same sort of reaction as mistervideo. But, after having just now cooked and eaten them, I have to say I will never do scrambled eggs any other way! These were fantastic. A friend just gave us some fresh laid eggs, so no need for draining them first...oh my goodness. Did I mention how good these were? Wow.


about 2 years ago mistervideo

First, separate the eggs according to gender (using your home DNA sequencer). Then recombine the eggs using your home microhematocrit centrifuge (every kitchen has one). Then, cook the eggs in your portable Large Hadron Collider and drain. Or just cook the eggs in a non-stick pan.


about 2 years ago dinatserve

In my house we call this talk "fresh".
Not like a "good egg" fresh.


over 2 years ago bjboyle

The easy way, break two eggs into a bowl & scrambe with a fork. Bring salted water to a boil in a 2qt pot turn down to simmer, create a vortex by stiring with a wooden spoon add the eggs. Cook for 25 seconds. Using a spoon hold the eggs back while draing the water, pick up the eggs with the spoon and place on paper towels. Now add anything you want on your eggs, Make toast add wilted spinach, eggs and a cheese sauce. I love theses eggs


almost 3 years ago bpeschell

So if you want to add cheese or other toppings, obviously you would need to do that after plating it and hope it melts.


almost 3 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Actually, our Assistant Editor Nozlee recently tried mixing pesto in with the eggs before dumping them in the water and it worked great -- I bet adding cheese this way might be good too!


almost 3 years ago 2nd Floor Chef

Woke up this morning brewed a cup of joe and made these eggs and I must say what a gret way to start the day amazing


almost 3 years ago MsMora

What a treat to make these eggs. Incredibly light and fluffy and perfect for those days I don't want over-easy eggs on my toast. Will try 25 seconds instead of 20 seconds the next time as I had one small pocket that was a tad runny.


almost 3 years ago Angela @ the well-worn apron

Made this for one using 1 whole egg and one white. I skipped the step of draining the raw egg because I wanted all the white so I whisked the eggs a full minute to be sure they were well blended. Worked great.