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Perfect Fried Eggs!

Asked by me19. Answered on 26th February 2011

Full question

Hi, I'm generally a good cook, but since i was younger i can not perfect a fried egg. You're probally thinking, could you ask for an easier task, but it's funny because i can do things, like perfect a pavlova, and creme brulee, but not a fried egg, can you give me any tips?

Our answer

Sometimes the simplest dishes are the hardest to cook but there are a few simple tips that should help to perfect your fried eggs. First it is important that the eggs are as fresh as possible. Fresher eggs have thicker, more viscous whites which means that when you put the egg into the frying pan the white will set in a neat ring around the yolk. Older eggs will have runnier whites and the white will tend to spread out widely but thinly around the yolk and cook very quickly. Also if possible use a non-stick frying pan so that you don't have to struggle to get the egg out of the pan and lift it out using a wide fish slice (slotted spatula) so that it doesn't break up en route to the plate.

An unflavoured oil such as sunflower oil (or canola/vegetable oil) is good for cooking eggs. Using butter or bacon fat will give more flavour but the eggs will look slightly less attractive as you will tend to get dark flecks on the egg (these fats tend to brown as they cook). You need a good layer of oil in the frying pan (2-3mm or 1/16 inch) and put the pan over a medium heat for a couple of minutes before adding the egg. If the oil is too hot then the white will start to bubble so adjust the heat down if necessary as the edges of the white will brown too quickly if the fat is too hot. As the egg cooks use a spoon to very carefully baste the top of the egg once or twice with the hot oil, to help the yolk to cook a little.

Once the egg is cooked to your liking - generally fried eggs are served when the white is cooked but the yolk is still runny - lift it out with the fish slice and rest the egg and fish slice on a piece of kitchen paper (paper towel) for a moment to blot any excess oil, then serve with a little salt and pepper. An egg served yolk up is a "sunny side up" egg. For "over easy" eggs carefully flip the egg over once the white has set and cook the yolk for 30 seconds to 1 minute before serving.

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