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For luxury that's worth the wait

Lower the flame, slow down the scramble and transform eggs into pure bliss.

October 26, 2005|Donna Deane | Times Staff Writer

Note: From "The Zuni Cafe Cookbook" by Judy Rodgers. Bottarga di tonno (salted, pressed dried tuna roe) is available at Surfas in Culver City.

3 to 4 tablespoons cold

unsalted butter, divided

8 eggs, at room temperature

A small chunk of bottarga

(about 2 teaspoons grated, or to taste)

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 clove garlic, peeled

1. Cut the butter into little slivers. Crack the eggs into a bowl and beat with about 1 tablespoon of the slivered butter, grated bottarga to taste, and the salt.

2. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a 9-inch nonstick skillet. Add the eggs and cook over the lowest possible heat.

3. Rub the bowl of a wooden spoon front and back with the garlic and use this to stir the eggs almost constantly while you incorporate the remaining butter sliver by sliver, taking 10 to 20 minutes.

4. If the eggs begin to set in folds, the heat is too high or you aren't stirring enough. Use a heat diffuser. If you can't keep the heat low enough, remove the pan from the heat for 10 seconds at a time to control the cooking. As they first begin to heat through, the beaten eggs will look somewhat like buttermilk -- heavy with occasional flecks of curd. Gradually they will thicken and the curds will proliferate. The eggs will keep cooking off the heat, so remove the pan from the burner while they are still quite soft and stir for another minute. The finished mixture should be slightly curdy, like creamy cottage cheese.

5. Serve a few neat spoonfuls per person, flanked with warm, dry toast and a small salad.

Each serving: 239 calories; 13 grams protein; 1 gram carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 20 grams fat; 9 grams saturated fat; 457 mg. cholesterol; 161 mg. sodium.


Slow-scrambled eggs with prosciutto

Total time: 20 to 30 minutes

Servings: 4

4 slices rustic bread, about

1/2 inch thick

1 tablespoon clarified butter or olive oil

1 clove garlic, cut in half

6 eggs, at room temperature

2 tablespoons butter, divided

1/4 teaspoon salt

Pinch of white pepper

4 slices prosciutto

di Parma

1. Brush the bread slices with clarified butter or olive oil. Toast the bread in a large skillet over medium-high heat until browned on both sides, 5 to 6 minutes. Rub each slice with the cut garlic clove and set aside.

2. Whisk together the eggs, 1 tablespoon butter cut into small pieces, the salt and white pepper.

3. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a 9-inch nonstick skillet over low heat. Add the eggs and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to set on the bottom, about 2 minutes.

4. Continue to cook, stirring almost constantly, until the eggs become creamy, with a texture resembling small-curd cottage cheese. Continue cooking and stirring until they begin to thicken and become less glossy but are not quite done, 8 to 15 minutes.

5. Remove the eggs from the heat and stir for about a minute to finish the cooking. They should be very creamy, with very small curds.

6. Divide the eggs onto the toasted bread and spread over each slice. Top each serving with a slice of prosciutto.

Each serving: 273 calories; 15 grams protein; 11 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 19 grams fat; 9 grams saturated fat; 353 mg. cholesterol; 640 mg. sodium.


Tweety scramble

Total time: 30 minutes

Servings: 4 to 6

Note: From David Lentz of Hungry Cat

2 cups mixed herbs of equal parts chives, cut into 1-inch pieces, Italian parsley leaves and chervil leaves

1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil plus additional for finishing

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Salt, divided

White pepper, divided

12 eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup creme fraiche, divided

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 cup grated Jack cheese

1. Chop 1 cup of the herbs and set aside.

2. Toss the remaining cup of whole herbs with 1 teaspoon olive oil, one-half teaspoon lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to garnish the finished eggs.

3. Whisk together the eggs and one-fourth cup creme fraiche, three-fourths teaspoon salt and one-eighth teaspoon pepper.

4. Heat a 10-inch nonstick skillet with 1 tablespoon olive oil and butter over medium heat. After the butter melts, add the eggs. Reduce the heat to low. Use a wooden spoon to stir the eggs in a clockwise direction.

5. When the eggs are cooked three-quarters of the way through with curds forming, stir in the Jack cheese. Continue to cook and stir the eggs until they are still moist with some liquid. Just before they have finished cooking, stir in the chopped herbs. Continue to cook, stirring constantly until they are very creamy and almost cooked, about 15 to 18 minutes total cooking time. Remove the eggs from the heat during the last minute of cooking and stir until they are done.

6. Divide the eggs among the serving dishes. Top each with a dollop of creme fraiche and garnish with the herb salad and a drizzle of olive oil to finish. Serve with home fries and grilled toast.

Each of 6 servings: 254 calories; 15 grams protein; 3 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 20 grams fat; 8 grams saturated fat; 446 mg. cholesterol; 372 mg. sodium.

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