Egg School: Over Easy

So the egg school poll is now closed, and I thank everyone who participated in helping to set the order in which I write my series on egg styles as expertly and easily as I can possibly convey them. The winner of the egg school poll and first egg school post will be over easy fried eggs. The order of posts, following over easy, as determined by the rest of the egg school results, is poached, sunny-side up, omelet, soft boiled, hard boiled, scrambled, frittata, baked and finally, soufflé. Stay tuned, try out all the egg styles and post questions for me if you get stuck.

So what's so terrific about over easy eggs, you ask? Well, for those who like eggs in all their glory, with perfectly cooked whites and thick, runny yolks, overeasies perfectly match what you like most about eggs. The style does not dry out the whites and creates the most perfect yolks, as they're coddled ever so shortly within the center of the whites. If you make them right, they will look, taste and feel ever so simple and quite perfect. They pair just as well with a lightly toasted piece of whole grain bread as it does on a light mixed green salad and needs no further hindrances than themselves to create a truly divine meal at any time of the day.

If you have never made over easy eggs, or never successfully, I would suggest starting with one egg in the pan at a time. Later you can do two or more, but your timing and flipping skills need to be honed with just one egg at first. This will not detract from the quality of your eggs, if done correctly, only add a little bit of time as you do an extra batch. But of course, those batches will help you get better more quickly. And also remember, it is always okay to mess up an egg. Eggs are cheap – they're okay to mess up. Just cook it until its done and save it for a snack – or if you're really rich, pitch it. Now, onto the crux.

You can make perfect over easy eggs with out adding any fat to the pan. I actually prefer it. You will need a little "gloss" so the egg will flip, but don't need butter, oil or anything – it's the highlighting of the egg's natural beauty that makes overeasies so great. All you need to do is heat a pan (preferably stainless steel) to medium heat (exactly halfway between lo and hi). Make sure that you have a spatula ready (preferably a metal one rather than plastic), your serving plate(s) and your eggs. This is going to go fast, so it's good to be ready.

Once it is hot, give the pan a generous spray of nonfat cooking spray. Let the spray warm for about 10 seconds before you carefully crack your first egg over the pan. This is when you have to watch with spatula in hand. You are ready to flip your egg as soon as the white has fully set on the outside of the egg and the only remaining raw-looking part of the white is in the thick circle around the yolk. This means the bottom is set and the sides are set – the two parts you need set in order to flip the egg and not ruin it.

So here's the critical trick for flipping the egg as easily as you can imagine. Carefully slide your spatula under the edge of the longest part of the egg with one hand while you slowly tilt the pan upward so as to help the yolk part slide onto the spatula as well. Yes, simply create an incline and let the egg and gravity do most of the work. Once the yolk is more than three quarters on the spatula, flip the egg carefully but just like a pancake. Really, the yolk is going to land on the other side of the cooked white, so you just need to flip in the same direction that you spatula-ed from. Once there is a layer of white over the yolk, you’re pretty much done. Allow the egg to cook for another minute or so (leave it longer if you want a harder yolk or crispy white).

You are done and can enjoy with a little salt and pepper over greens or with toast. Or however you like to enjoy them. If you’re making more eggs, just spray the pan lightly and start the second egg right after the first. Eventually you’ll be able to do two eggs at a time, which just requires being a little more nimble with your flipping. After you do it solo a few times, the second egg will come naturally. You will be making finger-licking over easy eggs in no time.

If you have questions as you perfect this, please contact me above or comment below. And great pictures of over easy eggs and my process will be coming shortly. So check back soon!

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