“What’s this? More stragglers?” The chef called out when he spotted them. “You folks from the crash team they’ve been squawking about so fierce?”
“Aye, that be us.” Miranda did her best to sound like Holly, which earned her surprised looks from the rest of the team. Maybe she’d simply keep her mouth shut in the future.
“Ah well, what’s to be is to be. You’ll take what I feed ya and like it too.”
“Dan’s the name. Been cooking for these folks onto five seasons. Know egg-xactly what folks new to The Ice need. A taste of home.” He poured most of a pitcher of whipped eggs onto a big griddle. After chasing the edges together a couple times with big spatulas that he used like an extension of his arms, he tossed on a fistful of smoked salmon and another of dried chives until it was more buff and green than yellow. He set five plates on the warmer and waved a hand toward a large coffee urn. “Load yourselves up. Be done here quicker’n you can dance on a dime.”
As the others were filling their mugs with coffee, she turned to inspect the room. Though it was the height of summer in Antarctica, Christmas decorations abounded.
NOTE: This is my zero-energy meal, one step above a bowl of yogurt and fruit because it’s so easy to throw together. The first time or two may be scary, but this has been a weekly or so staple for years.
Total time: 10-15 minutes
- 2 eggs per person in a deep bowl
- An oven-proof pan with a metal or silicon handle. (2 eggs in an 8” pan, 4 in a 10” pan, 6 in a 10” or 12”) (I use a non-stick pan but real omelet pans work well too. If you don’t have a pan with an oven-proof handle, see the note below.)
- A splash of “expander” (cream, milk, soymilk, even water), a scant 1/4 c. per 2 eggs
- Salt and pepper eggs to taste
- 1/4 c. favorite cheese shredded or sliced thin, harder (or very soft) is better. Cheddar or Parmesan are favorites. Mozzarella or jack get all stringy.
The Fillings (Almost anything. This is a real fridge-cleaner. “What do we have lying around?”)
- 1/8 c. per person diced red onion and a fistful of small broccoli florets
- Sauteed mushrooms
- Sun-dried tomatoes
- Feta (rather than Cheddar) and halved Greek olives
- Crumbled bacon
- or plain cheese (laid on a little heavier)
- The one in the photo below is a deluxe version:
- 4 oz. smoked, cracked-pepper salmon
- Chives and scallions (I did half and half and preferred the scallions)
- 10 chopped black olives
- 1/2 c. shredded Cheddar and 1/4 c. light cream cheese
- Start the toast. (Yes, unless you have a very fast toaster, it will go that fast.)
- Heat the pan on med-hi for 1-2 minutes with a 1/2 Tbsp. butter or 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil.
- If you have ingredients that need pre-cooking (onions, mushrooms, broccoli, etc.), throw them in once the pan is hot. Get them most of the way cooked. But not all the way because the al dente bite of the fillings can be a nice contrast to the delicate eggs. (You may want to delay starting the toast until they’re nearly done.)
- Whisk the eggs hard with a fork or whisk, hence the deep bowl. (It’s the extra air that adds to the fluffiness.)
- Pour into the pan. If other things were pre-cooking, pour the eggs right over them and everything will be incorporated. (Ideally, the eggs should sizzle a bit if the pan is hot enough.)
- Turn down to medium (or even a little lower if you have a hot stove).
- Swirl the eggs a bit. Give them a bit of a shuffle in the pan with a rubber spatula, wooden spoon, or a good rhythmic shake of the pan. Pop any big bubbles.
- As it starts to cook, leave the center alone. But scrape and fold the thin edges inward. Then slowly swirl the pan at a low angle to spread fresh egg to the edges. Let them cook a little, then scrape inward again and repeat several times.
- Somewhere in here, put the oven rack on the second highest position. Set the broiler on high. (Note: if you don’t have an oven-proof pan, then you’ll toss a cover on the pan in the next step—bottom of a cookie sheet if you don’t have a big enough lid. In 2-4 minutes everything should have firmed up nicely.)
- When the middle is still sloppy, but the eggs won’t readily swirl past the edges, sprinkle on any other fillings, with the cheese last.
- Broil for 2-4 minutes. (Do NOT do this without a timer. Check every minute. Out around minute 3, it goes from perfect to burnt terribly fast.)
- When the cheese is melted and everything is nicely golden, serve. The egg layer should be quite puffed up. If not, give it another minute or whip the eggs harder next time.
10″ pan and 4 eggs with cream expander, salt, and pepper. Fillings: cream cheese, and on the board are chopped olives, salmon, chives, scallions, and Cheddar.
Into the broiler when it looks like this and the top of the eggs are just a little loose.
These are the fanciest toppings I’ve ever done, and I’ve never made two halves different before. It worked well in case you have a picky eater. (Cheddar, light amount smoked salmon, scallion, and sauteed mushrooms to the front, and heavy salmon, chives, and cream cheese to the rear.)
|And now out of the broiler 3 minutes later.||Tip onto the plate and use the pan edge to fold it over is it slides out. This is served with a fresh-toasted sourdough bagel I’d baked earlier in the day. A proper feast for hungry denizens of Australia’s Casey Station on the shores of Antarctica.|