The Cooking Method That Makes Shirred And Scrambled Eggs Different

Eggs are everywhere, from the batter in your brownies to the béarnaise sauce on your steak. They're great for emulsifying sauces, binding ingredients together, adding extra rich flavor, and even producing shiny tops to dessert surfaces. But most importantly, they're delicious on their own as a true breakfast staple, complimenting salty bacon and creating the perfect protein-rich topping to toast. 

They're also full of flavor when introduced to salt and cooked in fat such as butter, olive oil, or cream, and don't take long to whip up for a filling start to busy mornings. And let's not forget – they can be prepared in numerous different ways. Whether you like your eggs fried, sunny side up, boiled, poached, or scrambled, there is a French method that often gets overlooked. While you could call it baked eggs, the proper word is "shirred," and many confuse this technique with good ol' scrambled eggs.

Shirred is not stirred

Many mix up the two techniques of scrambling and shirring eggs due to the resemblance in their appearance when they're fully cooked. Their similarities lie in the ingredients used, as both egg dishes are cooked in milk or cream, but it's the vessel in which they're cooked in, and how they are prepared that is quite different. Scrambled eggs are whisked in a bowl with heavy cream or milk and seasonings, and cooked in a hot skillet, stirring constantly, until firm and cooked through. 

Shirred eggs, on the other hand, are essentially eggs cracked into a greased oven-safe ramekin or single-serving dish with heavy cream or milk and seasonings added, without stirring. From there, they are baked until set. If you want to amp up your shirred eggs, simply sprinkle shredded cheese on the tops a couple of minutes before they're done. When they come out, each spoonful will have a cheese pull that is both picture-perfect and oh-so-tasty. You can serve them by themselves in the baking dish or over toast. They also complement dishes with roasted carrots, sautéed spinach with creamy ricotta cheese, and even spicy chorizo with roasted sweet potato and cotija crumbles. The possibilities are truly endless!