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The pefect fried egg (why did it take me 30 years to figure this out?)

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The pefect fried egg (why did it take me 30 years to figure this out?)

alanbarnes | Mar 19, 2009 11:32 AM

Okay, so my favorite egg prep is sunny side up. A barely-cooked white (not hard, but with no plegm) and a bright, runny yolk are all I'm asking for. But getting the top of the white done without overcooking the bottom and/or the yolk has always evaded me. And as far as a proper sunny-side-up egg in a restaurant? You're more likely to get a winning lottery ticket.

For years I have compromised. The easiest thing to do is just give the egg a flip and let the top cook for a few seconds. Delicious, but that's over easy, not sunny side up. Steamed eggs are another good option: just put a lid on the pan with a little water and everything comes out great. Basted eggs work about the same, but require flipping fat over the top of the egg. Boiling, poaching, no problem. But none of these cooking methods give the bright, proud yolk I want to see on my breakfast plate.

In the wake of St. Patrick's Day and the attendant corned beef hash, I decided that it was time to master this process. So for the last couple of days, I've been cooking three batches of eggs a day. (No, not breakfast, lunch, and dinner - my kids' schools start at different times, so I can do one batch for each of them and another for me.) Scoured the internet for suggestions, and started trying all of them.

Anyway, this morning I finally nailed it. The secret is oil. Lots and lots of oil.

For years I have been cooking eggs with the minimum amount of oil needed to keep them from adhering to the pan. With a Teflon skillet, that means just a spritz of the stuff in the spray can. I was thinking of the oil as an anti-stick substance rather than a cooking medium.

This morning it occurred to me that oil transfers heat much more efficiently than air. So I poured a fairly deep puddle of bacon fat into the skillet, put it on a low burner until it hit 250F, and dropped in the eggs. The oil came up over the top of the whites, but the yolks stood high and dry. A minute or two later, voila! Perfect sunny-side-up eggs.

Of course, quite a bit of oil needed to be drained off before the eggs were served, but that's why God put slots in spatulas, right? And after the oil cooled, it got strained right back into its container - no waste!

Now the only question is how many extra minutes on the elliptical trainer are needed to compensate for the added fat calories. There's no such thing as a free lunch. Or breakfast.

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