Daniel Patterson's Poached Scrambled Eggs

By • May 4, 2012 • 26 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.

Comments (26) Questions (0)

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4 months 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.

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6 months 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.

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10 months ago MariahK

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

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12 months 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.

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12 months 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.

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about 1 year 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.

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about 1 year 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.

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about 1 year ago dinatserve

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

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over 1 year 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

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almost 2 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.

Miglore

almost 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Senior 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!

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almost 2 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

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almost 2 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.

Me.pie.cookbooks

almost 2 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.

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almost 2 years ago Indybindy

There were pretty good, and easy. Definitely light and fluffy as advertised! I tried them without oil first, and found that they were much better with added flavor - will definitely make again.

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almost 2 years ago deckercn

Way too much work & clean-up. I much prefer my tried & true method of microwaving a beaten egg (or 2) along with seasonings in a mug or bowl for a few seconds.

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almost 2 years ago mrc

I have now made these three times. I find this recipe produces extremely bland tasting eggs— even when the eggs are farm fresh. Would be a great recipe otherwise, but shouldn't taste come first? How much longer do regular scrambled eggs take anyway. You still have to wait for the water to boil. Clever. Not genius.

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almost 2 years ago BronaCos

Always felt like I was cheating when not slow cooking scrambled eggs as my grandmother taught me - simply don't always have the time, but now... ola! Just enjoyed eggs made this way and they were amazing - so tender and fluffy. Agree with Incognito - now we have two great techniques! Thank you for sharing.

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almost 2 years ago Sherry Ann Allen

050612 1:30 PDT I just made these eggs! What is perfect?? This is beyond perfect! I served it to myself with a slice of tomato, Fleur de sel and fresh cracked pepper. Life is good!

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almost 2 years ago lgs

I just make this! Works and I truly enjoyed it. Did have the straining problem, and may try a towel next time. Thanks!

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almost 2 years ago ihaventpoisonedyouyet

Really light and fluffy - and those words have never been used with anything I've ever made. These were amazing and easy, but I need to work on the draining technique. I'll use paper towels as suggested because the strainer did not cut the mustard. Even with the water on the plate - delicious.

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almost 2 years ago Bertha1tx

Thank you for the recipe. I had tried the scrambled egg recipe done with a ziplock bag in the microwave, but never really liked cooking in plastic. This is fabulous. I love making eggs this way.