Daniel Patterson's Poached Scrambled Eggs

By • May 4, 2012 39 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.

More Great Recipes: Eggs|Breakfast & Brunch|Breakfast|Olive Oil

Topics: Breakfast

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Comments (39) Questions (0)


3 months ago Jethro Bodien

It seems like way too much effort just for a couple of scrambled eggs. I can make them just as fluffy with a little more whisking and a frying pan. In fact, I can make quite fluffy scrambled eggs in the microwave on a paper plate, no less.


3 months ago Melinda Jones

BEST EVER...! Kept it simple.... scrambled... put in vortex.. drained. DIVINE!


4 months ago Debbie Strybosch

Ps... I boiled up a full kettle for first, (Saladmaster kettle with filtered water. No leeching from unsafe kettle) and by the time the first was cooked, the kettle was ready for the next. Didn't need to wait for the pot to boil. Also... important that the pot is deep enough and that the eggs are added gently or they will drop and stick to the bottom.


4 months ago Debbie Strybosch

Tried this yesterday for brekkie. Absolutely great! Cooked first for hubbie but seemed a little bland so did mine with quite salty water and added more pepper to mix. Wonderful! Also, did NOT remove any of the white. My eggs were the usual supermarket free range type, so probably not too fresh, but they cooked beautifully and held together. Drained them with a deep fryer flatish sieve style scoop and rested scoop and eggs on folded paper towel to drain. perfect! Thank you so much for this recipe.


5 months ago Barbara Blackburn

Yes, Yes, Yes to this wonderful recipe! I thought the best, fluffiest, tasty eggs I ever made were with the steam wand on my espresso machine but now I will follow Daniel's recipe. We have hens so our eggs were beyond perfect. This is a recipe I'll definitely pass on!


6 months 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.


6 months 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!


6 months 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!


7 months ago MARINNA

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


7 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!


9 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!


over 1 year 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.


over 1 year 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.


almost 2 years 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.


about 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.


over 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.


over 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.


over 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.


over 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.


over 2 years ago dinatserve

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