How to Fry Perfect Eggs
The trick is to have the pan at the perfect temperature, add the eggs all at onceóand use a cover.
The challenge: Anyone can make fried eggs, but few and far between are the cooks who can make them perfectly every time. We decided to eliminate the guesswork and figure out the best and easiest way to fry the perfect egg every time. For us, this meant a white that is firm and a yolk that sets up high and is thick yet still runny.

The solution: We discovered that the first thing to do when about to fry an egg is to reach for a nonstick pan; there is no point in frying eggs in anything else. The initial heat setting is also important. Unless the pan is hot enough, the eggs wonít set up properly; if itís too hot, theyíre likely to overcook. A five-minute preheating of the pan over a very low fire puts it at just the right temperature to receive the eggs.
Once the eggs were sitting pretty, we needed to think about the cooking process. The technique that was simplest and worked best was to cover the pan right after the eggs were added. In 2 1/2 minutes, one of the eggs we had cracked into the pan was perfectly cooked; the other was just a little behind. This made us realize that with such a short cooking time, it was crucial to get the eggs into the pan at the same time. We managed this by breaking each egg into a cup and then emptying the two cups into the skillet at once. Now, in 2 1/2 minutes, we had two perfectly fried eggs.


A nonstick skillet is essential because it ensures an easy release of the eggs. Since burners vary, it may take an egg or two before you determine the ideal heat setting for frying eggs on your stovetop. Follow the visual clue in the recipe and increase the heat if necessary. If youíve just fried up some bacon or happen to have some bacon grease around, use it in place of the butter for really tasty fried eggs. Unlike butter, however, bacon grease will not go through visual changes that you can use to gauge the panís heat.

2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons cold unsalted butter
Salt and ground black pepper

1. Heat 8- or 9-inch heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet over lowest heat for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, crack open 1 egg into cup or small bowl; crack remaining egg into second cup or small bowl. Add butter to skillet; let it melt and foam. When foam subsides (this process should take about 1 minute; if butter browns in 1 minute, pan is too hot), swirl to coat pan.

2. Working quickly, pour one egg on one side of pan and second egg on other side. Season eggs with salt and pepper; cover and cook about 2 minutes for runny yolks, 2 1/2 minutes for soft but set yolks, and 3 minutes for firmly set yolks. Slide eggs onto plate; serve.


Follow recipe for Fried Eggs for Two, using a 10-inch heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet, cracking open 2 eggs into each cup, and increasing butter to 1 tablespoon. Increase cooking times to about 2 1/2 minutes for runny yolks, 3 minutes for soft but set yolks, and 3 1/2 minutes for firmly set yolks.

January, 2000
Original article and recipes by Jeanne Maguire


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