I recently found myself with a fridge full of egg whites and no reason to meringue.
Sure, there are dozens of uses for spare whites, most of which involve whipping, and then sometimes baking. But I had no desire to make a pavlova, and anyways I’ve been lifting weights recently, so I have to care about protein now, of which whites have a lot. I resolved to find a way to scramble them that wouldn’t turn out nasty and disappointing.
If you’re like me, the words “egg white scramble” throw you into a tailspin of 90s spa cuisine and flashbacks to rubbery globs of white strung together with barely-wilted leaves of spinach during every diet phase I ever went through. Egg whites don’t have much going for them past protein content and caloric minimalism: They are bland and as far from unctuous as you can get. They turn to rubber at the seeming blink of an eye. They are all too often the saddest thing on a breakfast menu.
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But! If you’re no longer living in the 90s and no longer concerned with a total absence of fat in your diet, I’ve found that you can very easily make egg whites palatable—tasty, even!—by adding some fat back into them in the form of oil and cheese, then soft-scrambling and dressing up with your favorite knick-knacks, like black pepper and spice and alliums or herbs. Cooked delicately, they cull into soft curds bolstered by the sharp tang of a good hard cheese, and go well with a nice grainy toast, a breakfast that feels virtuous but not overly so.
Here’s how to do it:
You’ll want at least three or four egg whites; past that, scale up your other ingredients accordingly. Whisk them together in a bowl with a fork and add a pinch of salt.
In a nonstick pan (it’s gentler than a cast iron, requires less oil, and won’t risk turning them a blackish grey), heat a teaspoon or two of olive oil or butter (or ghee!) over medium-low heat. Throw in a pinch of pepper flakes, and then once they start to dance and sizzle, add in your egg whites. Let them set for a few seconds, then slowly and occasionally push them around the pan with a rubber spatula.
As they cook, grab some cheese and chop some chives or scallions or herbs. When the eggs are starting to cook, grate in a bunch of cheese—1/4 to 1/2 cup, depending on your appetite and your love of dairy—and scramble the eggs around it to ensure melting. Once your eggs are mostly cooked and only a few snotty, transparent whites remain, add in some freshly cracked pepper and your chopped chives/scallions/herbs. Remove them once they are just cooked—you want them to look fluffy.
Share your tips for good-tasting egg whites in the comments below!