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I love a yolky scramble, but there are times when I find myself in a staring contest with a container full of cloudy, gelatinous whites, with no bouncy richness to loosen things up. (Most frequently, it's because I've been making frozen treats from our newest cookbook Ice Cream and Friends. Heard of it?!)
And while I could make pavlova or angel food cake or granola clumps, all I want is the quick dinner that those whole eggs could have easily provided. (I just made ice cream, for crying out loud!)
I'm less upset by the absence of fat and flavor (that's what we have cheese for!) than I am alarmed by the texture: simultaneously runny and rubbery in a way that seems to defy science.
But I'll stop whining. Because you can make scrambled egg whites that won't make you feel like you're swallowing pleather: The key is to break up the firm inner white (plenty visible in the photo below) so that you can fully incorporate it with the outer white for more even, controlled cooking.
See that at-attention inner white compared to the thinner outskirts? Photo by James Ransom
"It's all about straining and less about fat," writes Nick Korbee in Egg Shop: The Cookbook. He recommends pushing the egg whites through a fine mesh sieve with a rubber spatula in order to break up the firmer, goopier parts. (I found that it was easier to agitate the whites through the sieve by pushing with a metal spoon—and that you might sacrifice the clingiest, most gelatinous strands, which are hard to force through the sieve, in the process.)
Once you've broken up the eggy network as much as you can, scramble as you like: Heat oil or butter or bacon fat in a nonstick pan over medium heat, then pour in your whites (now, they will fall in all at once, rather than the usual occurrence, where the firmer whites plummet, followed by the looser, lighter ones). Stir them constantly with a spatula for a smaller-curd scramble, or make fewer, broader motions for larger tufts.
And adding cheese, while unnecessary, is still not a bad idea.
Truly some of the least weird egg whites I've ever made! No clumpy or rubbery bits.