Is it possible to remember a time before eggs with varying degrees of runny yolks were put on top of everything?
The first time I remember seeing an egg added to a dish in the matter-of-fact way tinsel gets added to Christmas trees was in December 2006, on an episode of “Top Chef: Season 2.” Elia Aboumrad, who ended up tying for third place that season and now is a co-owner of Gorge in Los Angeles, won a breakfast challenge after preparing a waffle topped with ham, cheese, and a fried egg.
Sounds delicious, right? I mean, I’m down for that. It’s not like fried eggs are a novelty, though. They’re eaten for breakfast all over the world, and society has coined at least four descriptive phrases for this particular cooking method, making the precision and consistency required a source of anxiety and “reasons we don’t go there for brunch.”
(Informal Survey: Do you take your fried eggs sunny side up? Over easy? Over medium? Over hard? Let me know. If you’re vegan, how do the important people in your life who consume eggs like them to be prepared?)
I’m not trying to morph anyone into a makeshift short-order cook. Believe me, I’ve seen how tough those humans have it, and I know you parents and others with younger nuggets to care for are not up for opening a restaurant kitchen in your home when it’s time for dinner. It’s clear that this trend is going to be around for awhile, and I’d like to advocate bringing it into home kitchens to save you $3-5. Maybe this is just because I’m the loon who buys two-dozen eggs, then stands in my kitchen with a few frying pans and a large pot of boiling water.
Egg Cookery Hacks I’ve Learned from Various Food Sources That Actually Work:
A. If you’re making an omelette, once the eggs look like “curds” in your frying pan (like the fluffy soft scrambled eggs dreams are made of), let the eggs sit for 10 seconds. Seriously. Do nothing. This is what will make your omelet stick together. And FYI, your omelette should be soft in the middle. Don’t burn it, please. For the sake of humanity and the children. (For a complete omelette hack, check out this post.)
B. When poaching eggs, make a “whirlpool” in the pot of simmering water, and slide the egg into the center of the whirlpool. This will prevent the egg white from spreading out in the water, i.e. the difference between failure and success. (Thanks, Alton Brown.)
C. Heat the plate you are serving eggs on. Eggs get cold obscenely quickly. Pop them in the oven on the lowest temperature. If your plates aren’t oven-safe, keep them ready in hot water. Cold eggs suck almost as much as flimsy bacon. If you serve me cold eggs, I will stare at you until laser beams come out of my eyes and damage your soul.
D. Use a rubber spatula for all endeavors in which you are cooking eggs in a frying pan. Respect the eggs. You’re not Christian Grey in his BDSM playroom.
E. If you’re looking for a runny yolk or soft scrambled eggs, your eggs are done the instant there is no excess liquid running around the pan. Stare at it and you’ll see what I mean. Thank me later, enjoy your eggs first.
My latest experiments are with half-boiled eggs. I (like most home cooks) do not have the ability to sous vide my eggs at 63, 62, or 61-degrees, (although I’m thinking about asking for the appropriate equipment from Santa in eleven months), so my eggs are less-than-aesthetically-stunning, but still taste delicious.
When I up my consistency level, you’ll be the first to know. In the meantime, what are you waiting for? Get your oeuf on. (It sounds so much sexier in French.)