How to Fry an Egg
One of the great pleasures in life is a properly runny egg for breakfast, at least in my books. Whether poached, boiled, fried or scrambled, I like them all as long as they are runny. Apologies to those of you who like their eggs firm – I’ll never understand you and neither am I willing to try. Because of this unconditional love of the runny egg, I have decided to do a whole Egg series, appropriately named “The Runny Egg Series” in which I will show you how to achieve the perfect runniness of each type of egg. I might even learn how to poach an egg, which is something I’m terrible at. But then again; by poach it when you could deep fry it??
I have been making these French style oeuf mirroir lately, which is to say an egg where the yolk is covered with a translucent skin of egg white. The yolk should still be perfectly runny, warm and luscious, while the white is not at all browned or crisped, but soft and tender. It is all much easier than it sounds. At least once you have figured out how your burners behave…
I have tried all sorts of different eggs for this recipe and I have to say that none give the same results that you get in France. Maybe it’s the air? Most supermarket eggs will not produce the mirror effect at all, because they are too old and the white too runny. The Suan Mok brand I get from Hock Choon (far from my favourite place to shop), produce a nice mirror, but don’t really have enough egg white to give a nice thick, even bed of whites. So it’s a bit of a rock and hard place thing. I guess you could use three of these eggs to achieve the bed of whites, but three eggs in the morning seems just a little excessive to me.
What recipe?! It’s eggs, what recipe do you need? Two eggs, butter, salt, pepper of a colour you prefer. The one thing you will need however is a good pan with a lid that fits. If you don’t have a lid, you could just cover the pan with a plate, but make sure you don’t have condensation water drip into your eggs when you lift it off.
First of all, put a generous cut of butter (about a tablespoon full) into your pan and heat it at medium heat until it is foaming nicely. While the butter melts and heats, crack two eggs into a bowl. If you break one, keep the eggs to make cake and break two new eggs. If you break them again, stop and go out to eat. If you can’t crack and egg, you sure won’t be able to cook them.
Turn the heat all the way down, slip the eggs into the pan very gently, so as not to break them. Sometimes lifting the pan off the heat and tilting it can help. If you break one egg, you have to decide whether to just carry on or scramble the lot. If you break both, I’d say a scramble might be a good idea.
As soon as you see the eggs set around the edge of the pan, pour a teaspoon of water around the rim and close the lid immediately. Set the timer on your phone for 2 minutes exactly, keep the heat very low and make toast. After 2 minutes, turn off the heat and lift the lid. You should have 2 beautifully cooked eggs. Slip them on a plate, salt and pepper to taste, cut your toast into triangles (because that’s how they look best) and serve the eggs to yourself.
One more piece of advice; Do not try and take pictures while cooking your eggs. I did that and it royally screwed up my timing, resulting in a most embarrassing disaster.
If I wasn’t so averse to wastage I would have chucked them in the bin and started again. But I just gritted my teeth, hoped no one would judge me on this one failure and swallowed my shame. Literally.