How to… Fry an Egg
I was in New York last weekend and went to brunch at a restaurant where I’ve had consistently good food on every single one of my many visits. Sadly, this time around the stars were not in alignment. The meal got off to a bad start when I saw that the bread basket wasn’t on the menu. “Only on Sundays,” I was informed. What? Why can’t the public have baked goods on a Saturday? I was annoyed, but moved on. More room for the huge plate of beef, hash, and eggs I wanted. Not on the menu either. “Seasonal menu,” was the explanation. Apparently cows aren’t in season. Who knew.
Since this was my favorite brunch place when I lived in New York, I let both offenses slide and ordered the special: a breakfast sandwich with spicy merguez sausage, horseradish cream, and my favorite, fried eggs. I settled back into the booth and sipped my coffee. Things were going to be just fine.
And then my food arrived. The eggs – quel horreur! – were completely overcooked. The yolks were firm and the whites were crunchy. I don’t know how you like your eggs, but I like mine over-easy, i.e. firm but not crispy whites and yolks that run when pricked with a fork tine. I don’t usually send things back, but I was revolted and just had to get rid of them. I politely asked for a replacement (I even offered to keep the rest of the dish) and in good faith saw them off. But when the second batch of eggs showed up, I knew it was all over. This pair was raw. No question about it. The whites were not white, but unsettlingly mucous-y and clear, and the yolks bright marigold instead of delicately hidden under a thin, shell pink skin.
Step 3 of my previous post explains how to make eggs over easy, but after last weekend’s debacle it occurred to me that perhaps the frying of an egg – or at least my version of the method – deserved a post all of its own. If you hate this recipe, e-mail me and I’ll tell you where to go in New York for a well done egg.
1 pat of butter
1 pinch salt
1 tablespoon water
Crack the egg into a teacup or cereal bowl.
Melt the butter in a small nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Swirl the pan around to evenly grease it.
Gently slide the egg into the skillet and sprinkle it with salt. The edges will start to bubble and turn white after about 15 seconds.
At that point, add the water and cover it with a lid.
Cook the egg for 1 to 2 minutes until the white is set and the yolk has a pale pink coating over it.
Transfer the egg to a plate and enjoy.
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