In the culinary world, one of the first tasks a cook must complete is to master egg cookery. Days are devoted to frying, soft boiling and hard boiling – as well as omelette-making. It seems simple, but properly cooking something as fragile as an egg is the introduction to heat management, timing and technique on the stovetop.
So when the recent trend of the ‘crispy’ egg came on the scene I had to give my head a shake, forget everything I knew about making tender, uniform eggs and give it a try. In the world I come from, any browning on an egg is a big ‘no no’. And here is this crispy egg with brown, crunchy sides? What?
The crispy egg is shallow-fried and cooked over very high heat until the edges are brown and crispy. The white is fully cooked and puffy while the yolk remains luxuriously runny. And because it’s cooked so quickly, the whites stay tender and the edges form a crunchy, textured bite. I find it to be more of a brunch or dinner egg than a breakfast one (call me traditional), ideally served over bibimbap or a salad.
Here are 5 important tips:
1. Crack your egg into small dish first. This will allow you to slide it into the pan without having to hover over the hot oil while you crack it.
2. Choose a small pan. When you are heating oil to a high heat, you want to reduce the surface are of the pan to minimize splattering. This will work with a small non-stick, stainless or cast iron pan (the latter being my pan of choice).
3. Select an oil with a neutral flavour that can withstand high heat. Canola, vegetable and peanut are all good choices.
4. Start with a good quality egg. Because crispy eggs are so visually appealing, staring with a good-quality free range egg will normally provide a richer yolk that is better tasting and deep orange in colour.
5. Be careful. This process is a little harried…the egg cooks very quickly and there is some splattering of hot oil involved. Have your wits about you and your tools on hand (thin metal spatula, plate) so you can react quickly. Most of all, step back for a moment once you slide your egg in the pan. So here it is…give it a shot!
- 1 egg
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- Heat a small pan over high heat for 1 minute. Add oil and continue cooking until oil is very hot, 15 to 30 more seconds.
- Slide egg into pan. Immediately reduce heat to medium. Stand back and allow to cook for 30 seconds. Edges will begin to brown. Carefully spoon hot oil over the egg whites helping to increase the speed of cooking. Cook for 15 to 30 more seconds or until whites are puffy and bubbly, edges are brown and yolk is runny. Remove from pan and enjoy.
Originally published November 4th, 2014.
Watch: How to make an omelette