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Sunday Food: Eggs Over Easy

The use of a picture I took of eggs I fried over easy, above, raised a few questions, which I’m  now getting around to answering.   On Thursday, New Year’s Day, when the post went up I was traveling.  Thanks for all of you who did find a New Year’s Day occasion to visit, and pardon my absence.

The eggs in a pan that provoked some discussion were actually fried in bacon grease, which in my childhood home was called ‘drippings’ and often used in producing a fried food that had some of the flavor of bacon.   The crisped outside edge of the egg is produced by the hot bacon fat in contact with the egg.

The art of food photography would have produced a less greasy looking pair of eggs, but the steps to produce a good photograph are often counterproductive to getting something good to eat.   The eggs in the picture tasted fine.

There are extensive instructions for frying an egg in this way, (with pictures, which I omit here), to be found online;

Things You’ll Need

  • 10-inch fry pan
  •  Large spatula
  •  Burner
  • 1 tbs. butter or cooking oil
  • Eggs
  •  Serving plate
  •  Oven mitt if necessary

Have your equipment and ingredients all laid out. Make sure you have a serving plate ready for catching the finished product.
Heat the pan on medium low. It is the right temperature when a few drops of water splashed on it sizzle but don’t pop around. If the water pops around, the pan is probably too hot. Take it off the burner to let it cool down and adjust the burner to a lower temperature.
Put a tablespoon of oil or butter in the pan. Holding the pan by the handle, tilt it around until the oil is spread.
Tap the egg firmly on the edge of the counter or pan to crack it. Hold it close to the pan surface as you open it up. You don’t want the yolk breaking before you even start.
Allow the egg to cook until the white is firm and white on the bottom but is still jelly like over the yolk. It is a good thing if the egg is off center, it will be easier to flip.
Hold the pan by the handle in your left hand and the spatula in your right hand. (Lefties go the other way!). Making sure as much of the spatula is in contact with the pan as possible, slide the spatula blade under the egg firmly, so that the yolk sits on top of the spatula. This should be a swift move; slow and jittery might break the yolk.
With the egg on the spatula, tip the spatula forward or sideways and roll the egg over. The spatula edge should stay on the pan so that the rolling of the egg off the spatula is “easy.” A soft egg yolk dropped from a spatula will probably break.
Allow the egg to cook another minute (maximum) and then firmly slide the spatula under the whole egg. Take it out of the pan and place it onto the serving plate.

Most of us can fry an egg, but turning it is more of a challenge, and I used some bacon fat or grease in the pan for that purpose as well as to provide some of the bacon taste.  This morning, (Saturday) I made over easy eggs for my son who is recovering from hip surgery.   I cooked them a bit longer than I like,  but he mentioned that Agriculture Department guidelines for egg safety would probably require them to be cooked even longer.   This batch of eggs I fried in Canola oil, although usually at home I would have used Olive Oil if I didn’t use bacon drippings.

To avoid any oiliness at all, they can be poached, in water, but I like the slight taste of fat or oil with toast.   I usually have fried eggs on toast, or with potatoes.  They also can be served on grits or breads such as cornbread or English muffins.  The ones in the photo, above, were served on potatoes fried with onions.   I add a touch of vinegar to those potatoes, also.

To my taste, the white would have been not entirely coagulated, but my son is pretty safety conscious, and prefers it completely done.   Of course, his eggs come from a store, while the ones I use at home are from a farmer whose chickens are free range, and privately housed and fed in open conditions, without contacts outside the farmer’s own place.    Contamination is more common in egg production on a mass scale, so safety precautions are more important when you are buying eggs from a large egg producer.

Salmonella occurs in eggs quite commonly, and is worth keeping from developing in your own kitchen when you cook with them.

  • Like other foods, keep eggs refrigerated at ?40° F (?4° C) at all times. Buy eggs only from stores or other suppliers that keep them refrigerated.
  • Discard cracked or dirty eggs.
  • Wash hands and all food contact surface areas (counter tops, utensils, dishes, and cutting boards) with soap and water after contact with raw eggs. Then disinfect the food contact surfaces using a sanitizing agent, such as bleach, following label instructions.
  • Eggs should be thoroughly cooked until both the yolk and white are firm. Recipes containing eggs mixed with other foods should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C).
  • Eat eggs promptly after cooking. Do not keep eggs warm or at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
  • Refrigerate unused or leftover egg-containing foods promptly.
  • Avoid restaurant dishes made with raw or lightly cooked, unpasteurized eggs. Restaurants should use pasteurized eggs in any recipe (such as Hollandaise sauce or Caesar salad dressing) that would result in consumption of raw or lightly cooked eggs.
  • Consumption of raw or undercooked eggs should be avoided, especially by young children, elderly persons, and persons with weakened immune systems or debilitating illness.
  • Consumers can consider buying and using pasteurized shell eggs, which are available for purchase from certain stores and suppliers.

Raising your own eggs is ideal, of course.   Buying or raising eggs locally is a good way to insure good taste as well as more certainly safe eggs.   Always, keeping from any food dangers is a good plan, however you accomplish it.

Putting up pictures of eggs that have been cooked in bacon is also a good way to get your picky friends going on about how to cook and serve eggs, which cannot be anything but wholesome, can it?

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Ruth Calvo

Ruth Calvo

I've blogged at The Seminal for about two years, was at cabdrollery for around three. I live in N.TX., worked for Sen.Yarborough of TX after graduation from Wellesley, went on to receive award in playwriting, served on MD Arts Council after award, then managed a few campaigns in MD and served as assistant to a member of the MD House for several years, have worked in legal offices and written for magazines, now am retired but addicted to politics, and join gladly in promoting liberals and liberal policies.