People can be very demanding when it comes to how they like their eggs in the morning. You wouldn’t think that there could be so many variations on a couple of eggs, but there are. Whether you like your eggs sunny side up, over easy (or as my father-in-law used to call them, “Introduced to the pan”), medium or hard, scrambled soft or scrambled to something akin to foam insulation, or boiled soft medium or hard…if you are preparing eggs for someone who specifies any of the above, you’d better get it right! And don’t even get me started on poached!
Today we are looking at fried eggs, specifically eggs done over easy, (or medium, or hard). At one point I used to work brunch service at one of Toronto’s busiest restaurants, and although my success rate was 95%, I still had a twinge of suspense- trepidation maybe- with each and every order for an egg over easy. Break the yolk and you would have to start over; if someone is shelling out ten bucks for a couple of eggs, they want the pleasure of breaking into them all to themselves. Getting an over easy egg that the chef flubbed, with the yolk half leaked out and cooked hard is not acceptable.
Eggs in a pan need to be flipped just right, doing a half gainer in the air before belly-flopping perfectly into the pan, then flipped again onto the plate. Risky business indeed.
Luckily there is a solution. The best, most reliable and safest way to cook an egg “over easy” is to cheat a bit by using the steam basted method. We do not recommend “non-stick” pans; a well-seasoned and well-buttered cast iron pan is far superior, and better for you. You also need a lid that fits the pan perfectly. If you have a nine inch skillet but not a lid, chances are the lid to your 9 inch saucepan fits perfectly.
Put a teaspoon or two of butter in the pan and heat the pan over medium heat until the butter is melted and bubbling. Twirl the pan around so the entire surface is coated. Gently crack your eggs into the pan and season with salt and pepper. Fill one of the eggshells about half full with cold water and pour it into the pan. Cover with the lid and let the eggs fry/steam for about two minutes. You can turn the burner off and the residual heat and steam will cook the egg perfectly, producing a perfectly uniform “skin” over the yolk, with no cracky brown edges around the whites. You can use this method to cook your eggs to their desired doneness. It is an idiot-proof method, you get perfect results every time. Even the kids can do this, it is truly a marvel.
While the eggs were basting you cooked and buttered your toast, now all you have to do is slide your eggs onto the plate. If your pan has been well seasoned no egg flipper or spatula is needed. Sit down, drink your coffee, enjoy your perfectly cooked eggs. It’s not overly hard.