Nikau’s scrambled eggs

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Lois’ recipe for scrambled eggs comes from Kelda Hains, co-owner of Nikau Cafe and conjurer of the best eggs in town. As you may already know, Kelda had her start in the world of food via Lois Daish’s Brooklyn Cafe & Grill.

Kelda recalls that when hopefuls came to the BCG to be interviewed by Lois they would be asked to undergo the ‘egg test’. Lois believed that the best indication of whether someone really understood food was to watch them cook an egg.

The eggs could be cooked in any way: scrambled, poached, fried, turned into an omelette. It wasn’t about creating the most creative or elaborate dish but, rather, a chance for Lois to observe the care and attention that the cook gave to the egg. When even the most simple and everyday of ingredients are accorded with respect and care it results in food that that is more than a sum of its parts. Lois’ approach to food in an eggshell.

Here’s Kelda’s recipe for scrambled eggs for you to try making at home, or go and enjoy them in their most perfected form at Wellington’s Nikau Cafe.

Nikau’s scrambled eggs (Lois Daish, A Good Year, p. 111)

6 free-range eggs

1/2 cup cream

sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Break the eggs into a bowl, add the cream, salt, and pepper and whisk until the whites and yolks are completely combined. Pour the mixture directly into a cold pan, either a small frying pan or a pot. Put over a moderately high heat and use a wooden spoon to stir constantly until the mixture is hot, but not setting. If you dip your finger into the mixture it should feel hot, rather than warm. Turn the element off (or turn the gas flame as low as it will go), stop stirring and leave the eggs to coddle for a few minutes with the lid on. Use the wooden spoon to push the barely set curds onto a warmed plate and serve with toasted crusty bread. Makes enough for two or three.

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