The Perfect Egg

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How many times have you had a fried egg with a tough, chewy white? Or, my least favorite version, a white that is overcooked on the bottom and gooey on top? This technique call for you to cover the skillet, which steams the top of the egg while cooking it from the bottom. For several eggs, use a larger skillet.–Lucinda Scala Quinn

LC It's All in the Pan Note

We’ve made the egg in both a nonstick pan and a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet. We can attest that while both work beautifully, we’re partial to the cast-iron skillet. Very partial. To the point of, well, never mind. Mom always said if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all…

The Perfect Egg Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 5 M
  • 5 M
  • Makes 1 egg

Ingredients

  • 1/2 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

  • 1. Heat a small cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  • 2. Add the butter and swirl it to coat the skillet. Immediately crack the egg into the skillet. Add the water to the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 1 minute.
  • 3. Remove the egg from the pan immediately. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.
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Comments
Comments
  1. Nancy says:

    This is exactly how my grandmother taught me to make eggs and it does indeed make a perfectly cooked egg. It’s how she taught me to count by counting out loud, together, the 60 seconds in a minute. When I was older, we worked our way up to counting out the seconds needed for a four-minute soft-boiled egg.

  2. Sharon says:

    This is true. I do this with my one egg-size Le Crueset pan (orange exterior, white ceramic interior.) I learned this by error one day, while cooking something else, in a “disaster” kitchen (you know the kind). I had nowhere else to park a lid from the soup pot while I stirred. On my egg the lid went. It had some moisture from the soup, and started sizzling, so I turned its heat off but left it while I stirred. Well, what’s the saying? The mother of invention. Something. I used to think I was going to have to poach ONE egg. Nope!

  3. Cheryl says:

    How simple and how good is this way to cook eggs! Every Sunday night I cook a rosti with par-boiled grated potatoes and leftovers and eggs on top, with a bit of salad on the side. The eggs crisp too much on the bottom while I wait for the tops to cook. It never occured to me to cook eggs this way until I read your email. Tried it, and the result was perfect. Thanks so much for your website and the time and dedication you put towards it and sharing so many great recipes. Recipes of yours have become family favourites. Now, how do I make the perfect poached egg?! Regards, Cheryl

    • Joe M says:

      It’s been a long time, but…

      While I never tried it myself—never even poached an egg—I saw a cook on TV do the following and produce beautiful poached eggs. Into his pot with boiling water he threw a short dash of vinegar, then stir the water vigorously and as it was making a whirlpool, cracked an egg in, and soon removed it. Then stirred again, add another egg. The whirling water made the egg stay together round, somewhat resembling a boiled egg yet the white was filmy and not in a chunk. Perhaps the vinegar helped there.

      • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

        Joe M, I’m with you on preferring frying to poaching when it comes to eggs. I have actually tried the method you just described, and while it didn’t work quite so magically in terms of appearance, I think perhaps I just need a little practice. Thank you for the reminder. Anyone else perfected this little poaching trick?

        • Joe M says:

          I’m sorry for your eggs. My memory failed me a bit, I just saw it but haven’t tried it myself. I found the recipe online and the process is a bit different. You stir the boiling water with a beater, then add all the eggs and turn down the heat to minimum.

  4. Marybeth S says:

    Just perfect! Simple and easy. I will never forget this technique. What have I been doing to eggs all this time? I love Leite’s.

  5. Okay, David, I’ve always wanted to cook the perfect egg. Is perfection in the taste of the beholder?

  6. Joe M says:

    Wow, looks good, I’ll try it next time I cook eggs. However, since I know another way to cook a perfect fry egg, I’d like to share it with whoever chances to land here.

    Put a cast iron -or non-stick- skillet over high heat. Add olive oil, enough so the egg will halfway float aided by the heat bubbles when you drop it, somewhere around one finger deep. Let it warm till it’s hot, but not too hot. You can drop a clove or two of garlic (unpeeled) if you like the scent, the oil should be ready when the garlic trembles. Then crack the egg in. You can shake it a few times with a skimmer (or whatever similar utensil you use) to ensure it won’t stick (although it shouldn’t) and so the waves of oil over the yolk will cook it slightly, depending on your taste. (I personally don’t like overdoing the yolk.) In perhaps 20 to 30 seconds total, during which you can salt to taste, the egg should be ready, although really the point is when the crispy ripples on the outside of the white are golden. Then remove and serve. If properly done, the white is silken but not raw and bits of it crispy and the yolk, although perhaps covered in a film less luscious looking than in the picture, is nevertheless just a bit thicker than raw, perfect for dipping.

    Alternatively, I heard that at a restaurant famed for their fried eggs, they fried them one after another in a tall pot full of oil and retrieved the ready eggs as they floated back to the top.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Joe M, you had me rapt as I read your comment. I love fried eggs and, as such, am intrigued by your description. I shall be trying this technique quite soon. Perhaps as a midnight nosh…thank you!

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