Recipe: Slow-cooked scrambled eggs with bottarga

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Total time: 15 to 30 minutes

Servings: 4

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.

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