The second, good music.
The third, a fried egg.
It also happens to be, I’ve decided, the best indication of one’s level of cookery.
Something so simply achieved, yet almost even more so easily butchered. I cringe when I order a breakfast of fried eggs at a cafe, only to be presented with A) a couple of clear, shiny snot-like egg whites and cold liquid yolks or, worse, B) a matte-colored egg white mass surrounding two firm and lifeless powdery yellow globs. I can only hope that maybe, possibly, an order of “over-medium” will imply that I am hoping for something in between slimy mucus and a yellow brick. But due to the fact that my egg ordering experiences at various brunch spots has proved to be both inconsistent and unreliable, I’ve taken it upon myself to ensure that when I’m the one cooking, I know how to do it right.
This is something that has taken me quite a long time to master. My whole life, in fact.
But I do believe I recently broke the code, and like The Sound of Music I want to sing it from the mountain tops with such joy for the world to hear!
There are certain aspects to my surefire recipe for success that are absolutely essential in cooking a fried egg, and these will be noted in bold. That which isn’t bolded are simply a few personal preferences, little suggestions to kick it up a notch or ten.
You will need:
- Eggs (2) of very good quality. Preferably farm eggs, but as always local, organic and cage-free will suffice.
- Butter (about one tsp.)
- A small or medium sauce pan
- A lid or something that can act as a lid (this can be in the form of a plate even, anything that will seal the heat into the pan space)
- Salt, pepper and various other seasonings of your choosing (preferably sea salt, though). I use fresh cracked pepper, garlic powder and chia seeds.
- Any other add-ons your would like to include, although absolutely not necessary. Previously used examples: sliced avocado, sliced tomato, chopped fresh garlic, sauteed onion, sauteed kale, sliced ham, bacon(!)
- Cheese, again, optional
- Sliced bread
- Coffee grinds, preferably of good quality
- A french press
1. Turn the oven on to anywhere between 300-350 degrees and place the allotted amount of toast onto the racks (this is, of course, if you don’t have a toaster like myself).
2. Turn the heat of one burner onto a low-medium flame and place the saucepan on top, allowing it to warm up for about 30 seconds.
3. Turn another burner onto medium and place a full kettle of water on top, allowing the water to heat while you cook eggs.
4. If using a french press, add coffee grinds to your press.
5. Place butter in the pan and allow it to spread evenly over the pan as it melts. Note: I use only real, unsalted butter with my eggs, it seems to protect the egg from burring or overcooking on the bottom and it tastes wonderful. I do not use olive oil (burning or cooking olive oil a)has a lower smoking point and b) denatures the amino acids in the olive oil, negating the nutritional value entirely)
6. Exactly at the point the butter has melted, crack two eggs into the pan. IMPORTANT: MAKE SURE THE YOLKS ARE RESTING ON THE PERIMETER OF THE PAN, NOT IN THE CENTER WHERE THE HEAT IS CONCENTRATED. The whites should immediately start to solidify and whiten upon contact with the pan, but shouldn’t start to sizzle too loudly or bubble. If the latter occurs, turn the heat down and remove the pan from the heat for about 10 seconds until the eggs calm down.
7. Season your eggs, minus salt.
8. Cover the pan. Allow to sit for at least one minute, no more than 2 minutes. If the yolk starts to develop a white film on top, uncover immediately.
9. Check the toast. If only slightly crispy, turn it over and continue cooking.
10. If kettle water steaming at this point, add your water to the coffee grinds. Allow to sit while you complete the preparation of your eggs and toast.
11. If you would like to add cheese to your egg, this is the time to do so. Uncover, sprinkle or grate cheese on top, and then re-cover your eggs.
12. Remove from heat but allow eggs to stay covered in the pan until either the yolks are still squishy but white or the cheese has melted. If yolks are firming up, uncover the pan immediately.
13. Remove toast from oven. If toast consistency has reached desired state, remove from heat and onto a plate, spreading butter immediately on the toast. Turn off your oven (I always seem to forget that part, and then remember after having left the house).
14. Using a spatula, carefully place fried eggs on top of toast (or on a plate).
15. Press your coffee, then pour into a mug. Add milk, sugar, or in my case, a spoonful of Oregon Chai powder and stir.
16. Salt your eggs lightly.
17. Arrange various add-ons to your egg and toast at this time.
18. Bask in the deliciousness of a firm (but not chewy) egg white and warm yet still runny yolk on a crunchy piece of toast.
19. Take a sip of coffee.
20. Appreciate the moment.
(And the fourth? That one I’m still keeping a secret.)