How to Fry an Egg

Heather says:

Today we’re covering fried eggs -as new projects to procrastinate develop- I’ll also address: scrambled eggs, omelets, frittatas, quiche, and my as yet unnamed hybrid of the three techniques that feeds my family on a busy evening when I have no interest in effort.

So what is a fried egg? Well there are five ways to have them, in this tutorial:

The Great Fried Egg TutorialGot that?

If you do not have a nonstick pan before you even pull the eggs out of the fridge, you have a little prep work. Grab a bottle of vegetable oil, a paper towel, salt, and your pan. Wipe the pan with a thin coat of vegetable oil. Heat the pan over medium high heat until it is very hot, but not smoking. Turn off the burner and let it cool completely. Your pan is now conditioned and primed for use.

You must do this if you are using a stainless steel pan or the eggs will stick in the tiny scratches and pits on your pan’s surface. The vegetable oil seals these cracks and lets the eggs fry without making a horrific stuck on mess. If some bits of egg do stick to your pan, scrub with a little bit of salt and a paper towel between batches. If you use soap and water, you’ll have to recondition your pan before cooking more eggs.

Now we’re ready to fry some eggs.

Whether the eggs are basted, sunny side up, over light (easy), over medium, or over hard they all start the same:

Gather your conditioned or nonstick pan, your fat -butter, bacon grease, coconut oil, or vegetable oil,- and a spatula. Flipping eggs without a spatula will be covered in a future post. Just hang tight if that’s your goal.

The amount of fat you’ll use depends completely on the size of your pan. You want 1/8″ of fat / oil, less than that and the eggs may stick with more, they may be greasy.

Turn your burner to medium or your griddle to 325F. Allow the pan and fat to heat. To check and see if the pan is ready sprinkle a TINY -you read that right? TINY- amount of water. It should sizzle. If it pops, turn the heat DOWN.

Oil that is too hot causes brown, crispy edges.

Oil that is too cool lets the eggs spread too far which makes them harder to flip.

Reduce the heat to low, unless you’re using a griddle, in that case just leave it alone, but know you’ll have to flip sooner.

Now here’s where the methods diverge.

Baste with a lidFor basted eggs, sprinkle a few drops of water over the eggs and cover. Cook just until the whites are set. The steam will create a thin film of cooked white over the yolk.

For sunny side up eggs cook slowly until the whites are set, then use a spatula to remove from the pan. This is boring, but effective.

To fry eggs over light, medium, or hard they must be turned.

Egg Flip Slide the tip of your spatula all the way around the edge of the white, to ensure the egg is not sticking the pan. Then, slide the spatula halfway under the eggs, in one motion lift up and turn over toward the side of the egg that does not have the spatula under it. That edge (marked in my ever so spiffy illustration with a blue arrow) should never lose contact with the pan.

Remember! Flip gently or suffer the consequence of broken yolks. Remember you will probably break a few before you get the hang of the turn.

Ready to flipFor over light / easy eggs leave them alone until the edge of the white is set, there will still be a pool of unset white surrounding the yolk. Let the egg cook for only a few seconds to set the rest of the white and transfer it to a plate to serve.

Over medium eggs should cook until the white is mostly set, then turned and allowed to cook for 15 – 20 seconds. The yolk should be thick and partially, but not fully cooked. If you break it with a fork, it should still flow, but not be super runny.

Break YolksFor over hard eggs, break the yolk with a fork, then flip and allow to cook until the yolk is completely set.

Enjoy!

Related Post:

How to Hard Boil an Egg

Roast Some Turkey Necks for Awesome Stock

Heather says:

Want to take your Thanksgiving recipes up to the next level? You can get started now by buying and roasting turkey necks to make stock. Want to get a jump on your Thanksgiving prep? Go ahead and make your roast turkey neck stock now and freeze it for your Thanksgiving recipes*. Would I go to the effort of roasting turkey necks every time I want stock? No, but for a special meal like Thanksgiving, I find the richness of this stock is well worth the extra time and effort. (I specifically made it to go in a mushroom risotto, but this stock is perfect for adding to dressing, gravy, mashed potatoes, whatever calls for stock or broth in your menu.)

Thankfully, I have noticed that turkey necks are becoming much easier to find -I live in a smaller town, if we have it, you probably won’t have to search too hard. Typically the necks are next to the cut up poultry and yes, you can definitely substitute turkey wings for the necks in this recipe.

Cheesecloth really comes in handy when straining your turkey neck stock or you can use it to make  a bouquet garni if you want. I prefer to take the toss it in the pot and then strain approach, what about you?

How to Roast Turkey Necks for Awesome Stock

Roast Turkey Neck Stock

: Roast Turkey Neck Stock

: Roast turkey necks make a rich stock for Thanksgiving recipes.

  • 3 lbs turkey necks
  • cooking spray or olive oil -unless you like scrubbing a roasting pan
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 1 large carrot, scrubbed and cut into chunks
  • 2 ribs celery, washed, cut into chunks, with the leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 onion peeled, washed, and cut into quarters
  • Approximately 4 quarts COLD water

 Roast Turkey Neck Stock Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  • Spray a roasting pan with cooking spray or olive oil.
  • Place the necks in the roasting pan, if you want, you chop up the necks with a heavy cleaver, this will allow more gelatin to leach into the stock, but I don’t always bother and didn’t this time -obviously. And, do I need to mention you should do this on a cutting board and NOT in your roasting pan?
  • Roast at 450 for about 45 minutes, turning occasionally, until the necks are a rich brown and cooked through.
  • Place the necks and remaining ingredients in a 6 quart stock pot.
  • Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
  • Allow to simmer, skimming occasionally for 4 – 6 hours.
  • Strain through cheesecloth and a strainer into a bowl or pitcher. Use immediately or follow the next steps to store:
    • Set the bowl or pitcher in a cool water bath, changing the water frequently, or just add some ice cubes a handful at a time. Place the stock in the refrigerator overnight and skim off any fat.
    • Pour the stock into freezer safe containers (I use zippered freezer bags) label and freeze.
Helpful equipment:
Enjoy!

*Yes, I’m working on this year’s Countdown to Turkey Day and I’m thinking about trying to bundle it all together and having it available as an ebook for those of you who want it in that format. It’s just the time factor kicking my butt, once again. Whee!

Why Does My Chicken Stock Taste Like Water?

Heather says:

I cheated. I’m using a Google query for today’s question:

Why does my chicken stock taste like water?

The answer is pretty straightforward, you probably used -wait for it- too much water. For every pound to pound and a half of chicken bones, you should use no more than 6 – 8 cups of water.

Tim butted in to ask, “Did you take [the chicken] out of the plastic?”

However, all is not lost with watery chicken stock, you still have a chance to redeem your efforts through a process called reduction. Return the watery chicken stock to a pot with a heavy bottom. This time, instead of a traditional stock pot, you may want to use a pot that is wider than it is tall. This will increase the surface area of the liquid, encouraging evaporation.

Adjust the heat so the stock comes to and remains at a simmer rather than a boil. Leave the pot uncovered and simmer until the quantity of water is reduced by half or so. This technique is known as reducing, when a sauce is reduced, it is called a reduction.

The other potential reason for watery stock is that the stock was not cooked long enough. Making stock isn’t a complicated process, but it does take time. It takes time for the water to leach all of the flavor from the bones, vegetables, and herbs -if any were used.

Finally, if you’re used to canned stock, homemade stock is going to have a different flavor. Most people will agree that it has a richer flavor and better mouthfeel than the canned versions. However, there is a big difference between homemade and commercially prepared stocks. Commercially prepared stocks -almost all- contain lots of sodium. Salt is a flavor enhancer which stimulates our sense of taste. Since homemade stock is made in anticipation of being used as an ingredient, it has no sodium and may be perceived as less flavorful than a commercial preparation. If you use homemade stock in a recipe calling for commercial, it may be necessary to add salt to achieve the desired taste AND if a recipe calls for homemade stock and commercial is used in its place, it’s usually prudent to omit any additional salt.

If you’re interested in making chicken stock, I’ve extensively covered two techniques in the past, both the Asian and French methods of making chicken stock.

Good luck random Googler, good luck.

How to Poach an Egg

Heather says:

We’re huge fans of eggs in our house, with growing kids and a busy schedule, they are one of the fastest and most economical forms of protein we keep on hand. Throw in the fact that there are hundreds of ways to cook eggs and we’re sold.

Learning how to poach an egg can be a little bit tricky, but there are two secrets that will give you perfectly poached eggs, every time.

Do NOT boil the water when poaching eggs.

Do NOT crack the egg directly into the water.

Finally, don’t forget that there is always a little risk involved in eating raw or undercooked eggs. Do not serve undercooked eggs to anyone with a compromised immune system.

Got it? Let’s get started.

How to Poach an Egg

Do not underestimate what a little color can do for a meal.

Poaching is a technique that calls for a specific range of temperature, but don’t worry you don’t need a thermometer, there are visual clues.

Proper Temperature for Poaching

When you heat the water to poach your egg, bubbles should form on the bottom of your pan, but they should not break the surface tension. The actual temperature range for poaching is from 160°F – 180°F or for our metric friends 72°C – 82°C. Now, your world isn’t going to come crashing down if you creep into the simmering range which is 185°F – 205°F or 85°C – 96°C. As long as the water is not vigorously boiling, your egg should not break fall apart and turn your pot of water into egg drop soup.

Heat three inches of water or so in your pan. You want enough thermal mass, so the addition of one or two eggs won’t drop the temperature significantly. However, you don’t need your largest pot, that’s just a waste of energy.

If your eggs are fairly old, add a splash of white vinegar to the water. This will help the white coagulate faster, helping the poached egg keep its shape. If the eggs are fresh, skip the vinegar as it’s unnecessary and will make the whites appear dull rather than glossy.

You can add a teaspoon or two of salt to the water, if you’d like, but you don’t have to.

While the water is heating get out your eggs, a slotted spoon, a small bowl, and paper towels.

Crack the egg into a bowl

Crack the egg into a bowl and then gently slide the egg down the side of the pan into the water. This technique helps keep the egg together, instead of spreading out into the frilly, soggy mess so many of us imagine when we think about poached eggs.

How to Poach an Egg

Allow the egg to cook for 3 – 5 minutes, scoop out of the water with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Don’t skip the draining, it’ll save you from soggy toast.

How to Poach an EggTrim off the raggedy bits, if you must, and serve with toast points or English muffins or however you like your poached eggs.

Poached Eggs

Enjoy!

Looking for other egg cooking tutorials?

How about How to Fry an Egg or How to Boil an Egg?

Submitted to Mouthwatering Monday & Tasty Tuesday.

How to Butterfly or Spatchcock a Chicken

Heather says:

Did you know there’s a way to increase the amount of crisp skin on your chicken while decreasing the cook time? I tell the truth, you just use a five minute technique called Spatchcocking -that sounds dirty, doesn’t it?- or butterflying and you’ll greatly increase the surface area of your roast chicken. Not only is the surface area increased, but the amount of meat in direct contact with the cooking surface -in our case a baking sheet- is also increased. Both of these conditions work together to reduce the overall cook time of your bird and keep any skin out of the pan juices.

This technique cuts the cook time for a 3 .5 – 5lb bird down to around 50 minutes. Now you don’t have to save your chicken for Sunday afternoon. Who knew?

As a courtesy to vegetarian Home Ec 101 readers, I’ll go ahead and hide the rest of this post behind a jump. Just click more, if you want to see the tutorial.

[Read more...]