Chef’s Secrets: The Perfect Fried Egg

For all of my time in the kitchen spent baking, broiling, sautéing, grilling, deep frying, tempering, etc., it took me years to learn how to make the perfect fried egg. Sunny side up, firm but not crunchy on the bottom, slides right out of the pan with no greasy goo – when people say that the true test of a chef is how they cook eggs, there’s a reason for that!

Because I was never a fan of runny yolks when I was younger, it never seemed important to me to learn how to make fried eggs. Then, one fateful day, I ordered a frisee salad with an egg on top, and I was sold. How could I not be? Breaking into the golden yolk and mixing the gooey goodness with sharp greens and sea salt was a revelation. Simple genius. I couldn’t believe I’d been missing out on that my whole life.

And so, one sunny afternoon spent working at home, I decided to give it a go. While I heated a nonstick pan to medium heat, I assembled my salad: arugula and mixed baby greens, julienned beets, jewel tomatoes, Himalayan sea salt, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

Then, I dropped half a teaspoon of butter into the hot pan, waited for it to melt, and cracked a farm-fresh egg into the pan from a height of about two inches above the butter pool – no more than that, or you run the risk of the yolk breaking. I immediately turned the heat to medium-low (gas burners are the greatest), seasoned the egg with pepper and salt, and waited until the white was set and the yolk jiggled but looked thicker than when it started. This took about three minutes, because I like my yolk closer to the consistency of hollandaise than alfredo sauce.

I slipped it onto the top of my salad with just the slightest prodding from a nonstick silicone spatula, sprinkled a healthy dose of flax seed meal across, and breathed a sight of relief. My first perfect fried egg on my perfect salad.

And now, armed with this little secret and some patience, I hope your salads, breakfasts, and burgers will also be perfect!

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