British Eccentrics: A Postscript To Eggs Like Fanny’s
Following on from yesterday’s comments, I took another look at Fanny. At the heart of her cookery were Escoffier’s rules, so this morning I followed her technique for plain simple scrambled eggs and suddenly realised the difference, and why she became an influence on chefs. To a postwar rationed bankrupt nation her food was aspirational.
The recipe only works if you defy all the techniques you’ve learned about gentle heat and light cooking. You use an scorching iron skillet, fresh red-yolk farm eggs, smoking butter and oil, no milk, a sharp-edged fork, an enormous amount of vigour and a very vigilant eye. The second the eggs start to coagulate you churn without disturbing the mix (some French chefs mix eggs with the blade of a knife) and turn off the heat. The result is deep orange, lumpy and full of variant colour and texture – so unique-looking that I couldn’t find an online shot remotely like them (I did not have time to stop for a pan-selfie). I once had a dish of parsi eggs on the roof of an old fort in India that had the exact same colour – that’s the only reference I have.
Or you could eat these. This is the Wikipedia photo entry for ‘scrambled eggs’, like someone emptied a packet of crisps into a bowl. Fanny wasn’t pretty but she was no fool.