Saturday, February 13, 2016

Cajun Andouille Cheese Egg Scramble

     A Louisiana Style Scramble!
     Many years ago, the Ham Scramble used to be offered on nearly every American diner menu.  The Ham Scramble used to be the best bargain on the menu, because it was a bigger than average plate of food.  Instead of 1 or 2 eggs for a regular breakfast portion, a ham scramble was usually made with 3 to 4 eggs.  About 3 to 4 ounces of diced ham were in the Ham Scramble too.  The Ham Scramble was a belly full of food for cheap! 
     The reason that the extra eggs were in a ham scramble was because it was a fast easy item for a breakfast cook to make and because the broken eggs could be used in the recipe.  In a breakfast diner, sometimes the eggs are a little bit too fresh and the egg yolks easily break when cooking over easy style eggs.   
     When eggs are too fresh, a breakfast cook can go on steaks of breaking a dozen yolks at a time, when trying to cook over easy eggs.  When an egg breaks in a pan, a breakfast cook immediately uses a spatula to scrape the broken egg in a designated container, before the egg cooks too hard.  This is done quickly, so the egg pan does not cool down.  This way the order can be immediately restarted.  
     The broken eggs in the designated container are scrambled together and they are mixed in with scrambled egg orders, before the eggs sit in the temperature danger zone for too much time.  The best item on the menu for getting rid of the broken over easy eggs was the Ham Scramble, because that recipe required extra eggs.  This is why a Ham Scramble is always offered for a low price.  The goal is to sell the broken yolk eggs, instead of tossing them in the garbage.  Even at a reduced price the Ham Scramble is profitable, because the restaurant food cost and waste allowance are reduced.
     Offering any kind of Breakfast Scramble at a restaurant reduces operational costs.  Ham Scrambles are popular and the Western Scramble also is a good selling item.  An endless combination of ingredients can be used to make Breakfast Scramble recipes and it is best to think of a theme when naming a Scramble creation.  

     Today's Breakfast Scramble has a Louisiana Cajun theme.  Mornay sauce was added to make this Louisiana diner style scramble more appealing.  The Emmentaler Cheese was melted over the eggs, instead of being mixed in with the eggs.  
    Scramble specials are not always the prettiest looking breakfast entrées, but they do appeal to hungry people that want a big pile of good tasting breakfast food!  Customers in the know, always choose a diner scramble special when hungry, because they are certain that they will get their money's worth of food.

     I made the Cajun Andouille Cheese Egg Scramble example in the photographs at the Le Cordon Bleu campus Technique Restaurant, while I was working as a saucier and sauté chef de partie.  While making the Breakfast Scramble for my dinner, the executive chef was scolding a few student cooks for eating too much expensive food for their personal meals.  The chef knew better than to give me the cheap food speech, because he always saw me using thrifty cheap items and food scraps when I made my own personal meals.  
     In the middle of the executive chef's employee meal food cost speech, I made this Cajun Andouille Egg Scramble!  The student cooks were all watching me make this item and to add insult to injury, they got scolded for not paying attention to the speech!  
     Toward the end of the chef's speech, I walked over and showed the chef my employee meal, just like I usually do to get approval.  The chef said "You get an A grade for the day, because you eat so cheap!"  Sometimes, it helps to assist a chef when he is trying to convey an important point. 

     Chicken Velouté:
     This recipe yields about 1 cup of velouté sauce.
     • A white roux is used in place of a blonde roux, when making a velouté sauce that will be used to make sauce suprême!   
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauce pot over medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add an equal amount of flour, while stirring with a whisk.  (The roux should look shiny, not caky.)
     Constantly stir, till the roux cooks to a pale white color.
     Step 2:  Add 2 cups of chicken stock.
     Raise the temperature to medium heat.
     Whisk the sauce occasionally as it comes to a gentle boil.
     Step 3:  When the sauce comes to a gentle boil, reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add a tied bouquet garni of:
     - Leek
     - Celery
     - 1/2 of a small bay leaf
     - 1 small prig of thyme
     - 1 parsley stalk
     Step 4:  Gently simmer and reduce the sauce, till it is a thin sauce consistency that barely glazes a spoon.  (There should only be about 1 cup of velouté sauce after the reduction is completed.)
     Step 5:  Pour the sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a container.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter, while whisking.  (Monte au beurre.  This will keep a "skin" from forming on the velouté.)
     Set the velouté aside.

     Suprême Sauce:
     This recipe yields about 1 1/3 cups.
     Step 1:  Place 1/2 cup of velouté sauce in a small sauce pot.
     Add 1 tablespoon of mushroom peelings.
     Add 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup of crème fraîche.  
     *Modern crème fraîche is a mixture of 50% sour cream and 50% cream.  Only add enough crème fraîche to turn the velouté into a white color. 
     Step 2:  Place the pot over low heat.
     After the sauce heats, simmer the sauce for 10 minutes.
     Whisk the sauce, till it becomes smooth.
     Step 3:  Pour the sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a container or second sauce pot.  
     Keep the sauce warm over very low heat for immediate use or reheat it to order.

     Classic Mornay Sauce:
     This recipe yields about 1 1/2 cups.  (3 or 4 generous sauce portions)  
     Modern Mornay sauces are often made with Béchamel sauce.  A classic French Mornay is made with a Velouté Sauce that is turned into a Suprême Sauce.  There is quite a difference in flavor and quality between the two versions. 
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 4 ounces of dry white wine.
     Add 1 chopped small shallot.
     Add 3 black peppercorns.
     Simmer and reduce the wine by half.
     Step 2:  Add 1 cup of supreme sauce.
     Bring the sauce to a gentle boil.
     Step 3:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add 1/3 cup of grated Gruyere Cheese or Swiss Emmentaler Cheese.
     Add 1 teaspoon of Italian Parmigiana Cheese.
     Whisk the sauce, till the cheese melts and blends into the sauce.
     Step 4:  Pour the Mornay Sauce through a fine mesh strainer into large ceramic cup.
     Keep the mornay sauce warm in a 135ºF bain marie.  (If the sauce becomes too thick, add a splash of milk.)

     Cajun Andouille Cheese Egg Scramble:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.
     Step 1:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablspoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 3 ounces of thick sliced Andouille Sausage.
     Sauté till the sausage starts to lightly brown.
     Step 2:  Add 1/3 cup of green bell pepper strips.
     Add 1/3 cup of julienne sliced onion.
     Sauté till the vegetables start to become tender.
     Step 3:  Add 1/5 cup of minced seeded peeled plum tomato.
     Add 1 pinch of cayenne pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of Spanish Paprika. 
     Add 1 small pinch of thyme.
     Add 1 small pinch of tarragon.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
     Step 4:  Add 3 whisked large eggs.
     Scramble the ingredients, till the eggs are cooked soft, yet firm.
     Step 5:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Mound the cooked egg mixture on the center of an oven proof plate.
     Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of grated Emmentaler Cheese or Gruyere Cheese over the eggs.
     Bake in a 350ºF oven for a few minutes, till the cheese softens and melts.
     Step 6:  Set the hot plate on a countertop.
     Spoon 1/3 cup of the warm Mornay Sauce on the plate around the eggs.
     Sprinkle 1 pinch of cayenne pepper over the eggs and sauce.
     Sprinkle a mixture of minced Italian Parsley and thin sliced chives over the eggs and sauce. 

     Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!  A big Breakfast Scramble is a thing of beauty, if a guest desires a big hearty breakfast that sticks to the ribs.