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 egg
1 pat of butter
1 pinch salt
1 tablespoon water

Crack the egg into a teacup or cereal bowl.