Welcome back to the First We Feast GIF Tutorial series, where we ask restaurant cooks to demonstrate easy ways to step up your technique when cooking at home.
A properly-fried egg, with a side of buttered toast and smoky bacon, is the O.G. delicious breakfast, and throwing one on everything from fried rice to avocado toast is always a strong move.
But a perfect sunny-side-up egg is tricky: How do you get the top to set in a timely manner, while still achieving a runny yolk (and not burning the bottom)? Along with chopping garlic and searing a steak, frying an egg is one of the most fundamental skills that every home cook should master.
For some guidance, we enlisted chef Nick Korbee of Egg Shop to teach us proper egg-cooking technique. At the Nolita restaurant, Korbee serves huevos around-the-clock, in everything from pulled pork sandwiches to quinoa and avocado bowls. To kick things off, Korbee gives us a step-by-step primer on how to properly fry a sunny-side-up egg, as well as how to turn it into an over-easy egg.
Before you get started, a couple guiding principles: Don’t season the eggs with salt until the very end. Also, go buy yourself a high-quality non-stick skillet.
How to Fry an Egg
*Eggs (Korbee recommends pastured eggs)
*Olive oil or blended oil
*Kosher salt (or fine sea salt)
1. Place a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Put olive oil, blended oil, or butter in the pan. Swirl the pan to evenly coat the surface with the fat.
Note: Olive oil or blended oil work best for frying eggs. If you decide to use butter, melt the butter, swirl it around to coat the pan, then discard the extra butter (so you don’t have brown butter all over your white eggs).
2. Wait for the skillet to get just hot enough. To test this, hover your hand about two inches above the pan—you should be able to hold it there and not have to pull your hand away.
3. Crack the egg into the pan (be careful not to break the yolk). If your pan is hot enough, there should be a little bubbling action when the egg hits the skillet.
Immediately pull the pan off of the heat and let the egg continue to cook off of the heat. This way, you won’t burn the bottom of the egg, but the white (or “albumen”) will continue to set.
Note: If you suck at keeping yolks intact, you can crack the egg into a measuring cup and gently tip it into the skillet.
4. When the outer white is set—but the albumen at the top is still transparent—put the skillet back over low heat. Continue to cook the egg over low heat for two minutes (or less).
Note: You want to be careful that the color around the outside of the egg doesn’t get too brown, which is why you’re cooking it over low heat.
5. But what if you get impatient, as chef Korbee often does? Using your rubber spatula, you can move the whites that are not set to the outside of the egg, so they have direct contact with the pan. This will make them cook faster.
6. When the white is set, slide your sunny-side-up egg out of the pan onto a plate (or sandwich, or bowl of fried rice). Season the egg with kosher salt, and eat.
How to make an over-easy egg
When the white on top is almost set, take your sunny-side-up egg and flip it. “The idea is to do it soft enough that you don’t break the yolk,” says Korbee.
Cook for one minute on the other side.
Plate and season with kosher salt, and you’re done. (Pro tip: sop up the runny yolk with bread.)
Egg Shop: 151 Elizabeth St (646-666-0810); www.eggshopnyc.com