We are talking about breakfast all month and today, we are going to talk a little about eggs. It is virtually impossible for me to think about breakfast without eggs coming to the forefront of my mind.
There are all kinds of eggs and a multitude of uses for eggs in the kitchen. You’ve got chicken eggs, of course, but there’s quail, duck, ostrich, etc. Even when you talk about chicken eggs, people can be very particular about color. White? Brown? Blue? Did you know that the color of a chicken egg has absolutely no bearing on it’s taste or quality? It’s purely cosmetic.
Eggs can be hard-boiled, poached, or prepared in any number of egg-based dishes (think quiche or Spanish tortilla). They are also used in baking, to make pastas, in mayonnaise. They are preserved is all kinds of ways and, of course, we love to decorate them around Easter, don’t we? Eggs really are pretty incredible.
For our purposes here, we are talking about taking your typical supermarket eggs, cracking them open, and pouring them into a pan to cook. Nothing crazy, but there is a certain technique to it.
The first key is to find a non-stick skillet. Set it over medium to medium-low heat. Eggs are pretty delicate, so it’s better to cook them slow. Once your pan is up to heat, add some sort of fat (a mix of 1 tbsp each of butter and olive oil is my preference). Don’t be shy here. Non-stick skillets are designed for foods to not permanently stick to them, making for easier clean-up. A delicate egg, however will stick and tear and you will be upset. You can drain or dab off any extra fat later if you must.
Crack your eggs open into a bowl. This is particularly important if you use farm eggs, but even for store-bought eggs, you can fish out any shell pieces before they hit the pan. Don’t do too many eggs at once. If you are just starting out, do one at a time until you get the hang of it. Gently pour those eggs into the hot fat and immediately season with salt and pepper.
The next key is a skinny spatula. On my cast-iron, I use a fish spatula; on my coated pan, I have a skinny little spatula that I don’t think I use for anything else. After about a minute, the clear egg white will actually be white and you’ll see the oil and butter trying to sputter out from under the eggs. At this point, you should be able to slide those eggs around the pan and separate them from each other if you are doing more than one.
With the eggs moving around, you pretty much slide the egg onto the spatula, rather than sliding the spatula under the eggs. It needs to be a quick movement. Otherwise, you’ll chase the egg around the pan. Make sure that the yolk is fully on the spatula. The whites can hang off a little. Quickly, but carefully, turn the egg over and repeat with any remaining eggs.
Once flipped, the eggs should only need another minute or so to finish. At that point, try sliding them around the pan, loosening with the spatula, if necessary. Fish them out with the spatula if you must, but I, for one, hate to waste! I tilt the pan, sliding the egg onto the plate, and draining the oil/butter onto toast, grits, or anything else on the plate. Healthy? Who knows? Tasty? You bet your bottom dollar, it is!
It will happen. You will break eggs mid-cooking and send that beautifully rich yolk pouring forth into the hot pan to become the hard, chalky yellow that you cannot dip your toast into. It’s totally okay! We’ve all done it. When I was back in college, my yolks would break all the time and, in my frustration (make that rage), I would just say “to heck with it” and mix it all together. As it turns out, I happened on something kind of good. The not quite cooked yolks would blend with the mostly cooked white and you’d basically get scrambled eggs with the different characteristics of fried eggs. I called it my pan scrambled eggs.
If I’m feeling lazy nowadays, I’ll just crack an egg into a pan and start mixing, adding salt and pepper as I go. It saves me from cleaning an extra bowl and fork and, if I use a tortilla to make a breakfast burrito, I even save myself a plate. An easy breakfast with less dishes is always a nice way to start the day!
What is your favorite way to eat eggs? Throughout April, we’re talking about breakfast! What is your favorite breakfast food? Anything new that you’d like to try? Leave a comment and share your stories and suggestions!