The Unique Ingredients Queen Elizabeth Sprinkled On Her Scrambled Eggs

Whether light and fluffy or rich and creamy, scrambled eggs always feel like a special breakfast or brunch dish. And there are so many ways to make them feel even more luxurious, from adding liquids to enhance scrambled eggs (such as cream or buttermilk) to preparing French-style scrambled eggs with a buttery taste and soft, custard-like texture. But to really take them to the next level, try a royal twist and enjoy the dish like the late Queen Elizabeth did, with the inclusion of two much more unusual ingredients: nutmeg and lemon zest.

Nutritionist Lee Holmes received the recipe for Queen Elizabeth's favorite scrambled eggs from a friend who formerly cooked for Her Majesty, she revealed (per Supercharge Your Life). Like many people, eggs were not necessarily an everyday breakfast for the monarch; she regularly started her day with Kellogg's cereal, which she helped herself to from a plastic container, according to another former royal chef, Darren McGrady (via Marie Claire).

While there is no nutritional difference between white and brown eggs, the Queen preferred the taste of brown on the occasions when she chose to indulge in a protein-rich breakfast. And her chosen style was to have the nutmeg and lemon zest stirred through just before serving, perhaps with some hearty smoked kippers alongside — that's herring, to the Americans.

The royal egg recipe features nutmeg and lemon zest

Lemon is not quite such an unusual ingredient to pair with eggs as we might initially imagine. Some people believe that the key to soft scrambled eggs is a little bit of acid, which boosts the consistency as well as the flavor. And lemon zest is one of the unexpected ingredients to upgrade fried eggs, too.

But Her Majesty's choice of nutmeg to elevate her eggs is a little more unexpected and adds extra interest to the dish. The seed of the Myristica fragrans tree, nutmeg can either be bought as a whole seed and then finely grated or purchased ready-ground. Its signature slightly sweet yet warm and nutty flavor means it works equally well in both sweet and savory dishes.

Queen Elizabeth liked just a pinch of the ground spice in her eggs, which is not surprising as it can be overpowering if too much is used. But when you imagine the slightly earthy, woody notes of the spice contrasting with the bright zinginess of the citrus zest, it's easy to see how it might enhance creamy scrambled eggs, bringing a subtle heat to the rich dairy and balancing the savory flavors; after all, nutmeg is also a key ingredient in eggnog, as well as often being used in quiche fillings. And the monarch enjoyed her eggs extra-creamy, cooked low and slow for a soft scramble enriched with both milk and butter.

Other ingredients to make scrambled eggs extra-special

Queen Elizabeth's eggs sometimes featured snipped chives in addition to the lemon and nutmeg, adding a burst of color and a hint of onion flavor. And occasionally, she would have them served with heady, luxurious grated truffle. But there are many herbs and spices that can help take scrambled eggs to the next level if you're looking to put your own signature spin on the dish.

When it comes to herbs, try sprinkling on some fresh dill for a subtly sweet, citrussy note that goes perfectly if you're accompanying the eggs with orange juice. Or for an Italian twist, try peppery aromatic oregano or savory-sweet basil; after all, the latter is a key ingredient in pesto, a natural partner for eggs. Combining oregano, basil, thyme, and parsley will give a lovely Mediterranean flavor to scrambled eggs served with Italian-style toasted bread. Add fresh herbs right at the end of the cooking process to maximize their flavor.

Alternatively, try spicing things up at breakfast with a little heat. The sweet pepperiness of paprika complements scrambled eggs nicely while cumin adds a warm, earthy depth. Try a teaspoon of garlic powder and some crushed pepper mixed in with creamy eggs as they begin to cook for an explosion of flavor that works surprisingly well. Or sprinkle the finished scramble with the Middle Eastern spice blend za'atar to really take the taste to new heights.