There’s nothing like topping a dish with an egg and using its runny yolk to flavor and sauce the dish. However, I know from experience that getting that perfect over easy egg every time is not that easy. One of the things that I’ve learned through the years is that it’s not always the technique. Sometimes it’s the egg. The best eggs – for many reasons – are good, quality eggs, like free range eggs. The shells and yolks are strong and healthy and the yolk and whites slip easily from the shell into the pan. I have found that if the shell is thin, the yolk’s casing is thin and the yolk breaks easily.
When a friend’s free range hens are laying, she provides me with some of the best eggs I’ve ever had - thick shells and huge, rich orange yolks. They are perfect for eggs over easy and sunny side up. That’s why I save her eggs to top off enchiladas, pileups, and pastas, and for breakfasts like bacon and eggs, and huevos rancheros.
So how do you cook the perfect over easy egg? First – start with a quality egg. Next, use a good non-stick, clean pan (no bacon bits stuck to the bottom), a plastic spatula, and a little butter, margarine or oil – your choice.
Instructions for Cooking an Egg Over Easy
- Place the non-stick pan over medium to medium-low heat. To fry 2 to 3 eggs at a time, use a pan large enough for all of the eggs to be in the pan without their whites running together too much. You can always use the spatula to separate the whites and push them back toward the yolks to which they belong.
- When hot (a little water sprinkled into a hot pan should sizzle, not splatter), add enough butter or oil to coat the bottom of the pan. (For pasta dishes, I use both butter and oil – and a generous amount of it. It becomes the pasta sauce along with the egg yolk.) Swirl the butter in the pan to coat its surface.
- Crack the egg on the edge of the skillet, the counter or, if you are heavy handed, use the edge of a knife to gently crack the shell around its circumference.
- Hold the cracked egg close to the bottom of the skillet and gently open the shell, dropping the egg into the skillet.
- Cook the egg a couple of minutes or until the whites are cooked halfway up the egg. Gently shake the pan to make sure the egg isn’t stuck. If it appears to be stuck, use the spatula to release it.*
- Slide the spatula under the egg (make sure the whole yolk is on the spatula) and flip the egg keeping the spatula low to the pan.
- Once flipped, remove the pan from the heat and let the egg sit for one minute and then slide it onto the top of the dish or slip the spatula under the egg as before and remove from the pan and onto your dish.
NOTE: If you have a hard time flipping the egg, then put a lid on the skillet while the eggs are cooking. You might get a little spattering due to condensation on the lid dripping back into the pan and you don’t get the flavors from the butter on the top side of the egg, but cooking with a lid can work as well.
*If you want sunny side up, then cook the egg for about another minute. Remove from the heat and let set for a few more seconds if the whites are still clear.
The yolk will be beautifully runny, but the whites will be cooked through. A perfect over easy egg.
Once you are able to deal with one egg at a time, then you gave give two eggs a try. Just break 2 eggs in a small skillet so they fill the skillet and run together. You might want to use a longer spatula to flip with so you can get both yolks on the spatula.
So give it a try because there’s nothing like a fried egg, crispy around the edge and with a runny yolk. Yummy!
Here are some ideas for testing out your new found skill of frying an egg.