A perfect sunny side up egg with nicely set, tender whites and a runny yolk, is a beautiful thing. It can be maddeningly difficult to achieve, however. alanbarnes has discoved one way to do it: He poured a fairly deep puddle of bacon fat (you can also use normal oil) into a skillet over low heat and broke the eggs in so that the fat came up over the whites, and the yolk sat above it. “Quite a bit of oil needed to be drained off before the eggs were served,” says alanbarnes, “but that’s why God put slots in spatulas, right?” Karl S says that this is how fried eggs are done in Europe, and adds that you should allow the eggs to float in the oil.
Chowhounds have other strategies for setting the egg whites without overcooking the yolks. You can baste the whites with hot oil from the pan to promote even cooking, says KTinNYC. Once the whites begin to firm up, JalamaMama adds a couple of teaspoons of water to the pan and puts a lid on it. “Maybe 3–4 minutes later I have a perfect egg—runny yolk yet firm whites,” she says. Joebob pokes slits in the whites with a spatula so the uncooked white can hit the pan and cook.