This tutorial has been a long time coming, it’s something I knew needed to be a part of Home-Ec101 back in March of 2007 when it launched, but as you all know by now, I am an expert procrastinator. Now that I have a gigantic project looming and it is time to play catch up on all of the other procrastinated projects. Do you see how that works? I don’t either, but I manage to muddle through, mostly.
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:
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.
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. 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 side (marked in my ever so spiffy illustration with a blue arrow) should never lose contact with the pan. Flip gently or suffer the consequence of broken yolks. Remember you will probably break a few before you get the hang of the turn.
For 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.