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With restaurants closed due to the coronavirus, Baltimore area chefs offer tips for home cooks

While you're home social distancing, Bar Vasquez executive chef Mario Cano Catalán has some basic tips for you to up your scrambled eggs & broccoli game.

Typically, Mario Cano Catalán spends his evenings cooking up elegant Argentine tapas and steaks at Bar Vasquez, the spacious Harbor East restaurant where he is executive chef.

But with restaurants closed amid a deadly coronavirus pandemic, Cano Catalán, like the rest of us, is cooking more at home.

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One dish he often prepares for his children, ages 7 and 11, is scrambled eggs and broccoli. It’s a healthy, simple meal — good eating in stressful times.

“It’s like Christmas for them,” Cano Catalán said, when asked how his kids are reacting to the extra time with their father.

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For the next few months, The Baltimore Sun will ask area chefs how to spice up at-home dining with simple-to-prepare dishes. In upcoming weeks, we’ll talk to Ekiben founder Steve Chu about how to prepare tofu to Foraged chef and owner about cooking with mushrooms.

Is there something you want to know how to cook? Email ctkacik@baltsun.com.

Mario Cano Catalán’s technique for cooking simple scrambled eggs and broccoli at home:

Start by getting your pans hot on a low heat as you prep. To see whether the pan is sufficiently hot, observe how quickly a splash of olive oil runs to the sides of the pan. If it doesn’t move, it’s not hot enough, says Cano Catalán

Eggs:

Crack eggs into a bowl and whisk with a fork. When whisking, hold your fork sideways and move in a circular motion. This will create a more uniform flavor, color and texture.

Pour into a hot pan coated with olive oil. Push from the sides of the pan using a wood or rubber spatula. For creamier eggs, cook about a minute and a half. Cook longer for dryer eggs.

If you wish to add cheese or salt and pepper, toss in about halfway through the cook time.

Broccoli:

Break off medium-sized pieces of broccoli and drop in a bowl of water to rinse thoroughly.

Toss in a saucepan and add olive oil and salt. Cover with a lid. If you don’t have a lid, that’s fine, but allow more time to cook.

Let the broccoli cook 2-3 minutes, to the point that it’s softer but still a little crunchy. Use spatula or tongs to add to plate and serve.

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