Recipe: Taika Waititi's Egg Saga
I love eggs. They’re beautifully designed, perfect little balls of happiness. You can add an egg to just about anything and it’s an improvement; burgers, pizzas, soups, mince on toast…it’s nature’s way of bedazzling food. My love for eggs comes from this one morning when I was about eight years old. I went fishing with my dad at 6am, just out from the caravan we lived in right next to the beach in Waihau Bay. We caught a snapper, came home, cooked it in butter with fried eggs, and by 8am we were eating it in the paddock next to the horses. The combination of fresh fish, butter and eggs brought me much joy and comfort. It’s a feeling I’ve never forgotten.
I’ve gone on to enjoy all different types of egg preparations but nothing has ever beaten the simple scramble. Now that I spend so much time abroad, there are a few things that bring me the emotional comfort of home – scrambled eggs (done right) is one of them. Whatever hell you’ve been through, scrambled eggs in the morning is a cure-all, an embrace, a reassuring pat on the back before entering the fray of the day.
My recipe is so simple it barely desserves to be in a book, however maybe its simplicity is what makes it worth talking about. I usually have this with a piece of toast and a coffee. Sometimes I’ll add bacon or avocado to the plate but it’s not necessary.
To serve one Taika
3 organic eggs
1 tablespoon butter
1 more tablespoon butter. Don’t be scared. You won’t need it on your toast if you use enough on the eggs.
If possible use an old cast iron pan. If that’s not possible maybe just wait until you get an old cast iron pan. Those non-stick things really aren’t very good. Heat the pan until it’s hot – and I mean REALLY HOT. You want it to be an extension of the element/gas/fire. Here’s the thing about the heat – you need it to be hot so that your eggs don’t stick to the pan. The butter helps a little but the heat is the thing. While that’s heating up (it will take a couple of minutes), take your 3 eggs, crack them into a bowl, and scramble them until they look like a watercolour painting of a bunch of bananas. An inconsistent mix is fine. DO NOT ADD MILK OR CREAM. It’s scrambled eggs, not a f***ing pudding. Grind some sea salt into the mix and go check your pan, which should now be sitting around the temperature of Satan’s balls.
Put bread in the toaster.
Add butter to the pan. A good sign you’re in the zone is if the butter bubbles and hisses like a pissed-off cobra. Make sure it covers the entire surface of the pan. Take a teaspoon and let 1 or 2 drops of the scrambled egg mix land in the pan. If it bubbles and cooks immediately then you’re in business. If it stays wet and makes no noise, keep heating that pan.
Don’t let your butter turn brown!
When you think the pan is hot enough, heat it some more and then add the eggs.
Important. Do not turn away from that pan. As soon as the eggs hit the surface they should be bubbling away like a Rotorua geyser. Your instinct is going to be to scramble the hell out of them but for god’s sake, just leave them be. You’re going to tend to them, lovingly caressing those eggs like a lover. You are going to constantly fold the outer areas into the middle, turning the entire mix occasionally. Be gentle. Eventually the consistency is going to resemble the offspring of an omelette and an acrobat; a light and delicate texture, twisted in and around itself. Beautiful. Within a minute they should be nicely cooked through, whilst retaining some moisture. Dry eggs are gross. Wet eggs are gross. These eggs are perfect.
Your toast should pop right about now.
I sometimes leave the eggs in the pan, chuck the toast in, and put the whole thing on a chopping board on the table. The eggs retain their heat in the pan so you can take your time. Also you can tell your friends its ‘rustic’, which is just a fancy way of saying ‘I couldn’t be arsed putting it on a plate’.
And that’s it.
This recipe is an extract from charity cookbook Cooking 4 Change, on sale from 25 August 2016. The brainchild of artist Dick Frizzell, his business partner Christian Kasper and TV presenter Erin Simpson, the book is a collection of recipes shared by 101 of New Zealand’s most loved celebrities. Available from all good bookstores nationwide or online from tomorrow, RRP $49.99.