The Egg: 9 Ways

“Although I cannot lay an egg, I am a very good judge of omelettes.”  - George Bernard Shaw

The versatility of eggs is historic and legendary. Nature has conspired to make this delicate yet perfectly contained wonder a source of protein and nutrients in your diet. They can be utilized in many recipes, with many techniques.  The 9 Ways I’ve listed will give you a classic repertoire for your weekend breakfasts or impressive Sunday brunches.

I’d like to take a moment to talk about freshness. The fresher an egg is, the more it will hold its shape when poached or fried, although an egg that is more than a week old, when hard-boiled, is easier to peel than a fresh egg. Egg Salad is always a tasty option for those eggs that you haven’t had a chance to use.

Let’s discuss how to fry eggs, as this is the go-to method for cooking them.  You’ll need a small, 8-inch or so, non-stick fry pan.  I can’t stress this enough, non-stick will take away any frustration you have with frying eggs. Canola oil and a plastic spatula are handy as well. Practice flipping with a folded towel in the pan, not with the spatula, so that you can replicate the movement of flipping an egg without a mess.

Heat your pan over medium-high heat, add a teaspoon or so of canola oil, and swirl to coat the pan.  Use a flat surface to tap the side of the egg, as this will cut down on the chances of shell bits, and break the egg into a small bowl before you pour it into the pan, so that you can remove any shell fragments that may occur. Pour the egg in the pan and use the spatula to gently spread the whites so that they cook through, and run the spatula under the whites to release the egg so that it can to swirl about the pan.

When the egg is cooked to the desired doneness, flip it out or pour it gently onto a plate, season with salt and pepper, and serve. Now let’s talk about 9 classic ways to prepare an egg!

  1. Sunny Side Up is an egg sautéed until the white is set then served with the yolk still soft and runny.
  2. For Over Easy, an egg is sautéed until the whites are set, then flipped over, cooked for 30 seconds more then served.
  3. An Over Hard egg is sautéed until the whites are set, flipped over and then cooked 1-2 minutes more until the yolk is set.
  4. A Basted egg is cooked until the whites are set, then 2 tablespoons of water are poured down the side of pan. Cover the pan and cook the egg for 1- 2 minutes more and serve.
  5. For Scrambled eggs, break the eggs into a bowl, beat with a fork until thoroughly mixed, and season with salt and pepper. Heat your non stick pan over medium-high heat, add 1-2 teaspoons of canola oil, and swirl to coat.  Pour the eggs into the pan and as the edges set, pull them in with the spatula and tilt the pan so they spread out.  You will be building soft “curds.”  Season with salt and pepper, and serve.
  6. To Soft Boil an egg, place the egg in pot with cold water, cover, and bring to a boil.  Remove from the heat, and let sit for 5-6 minutes. Remove immediately from the water, cut off the top, and serve.
  7. To Hard Boil and egg, follow the method for a soft boiled egg but let the eggs sit in the hot water for 10 minutes, then run under cold water until cool enough to handle.
  8. You Poach an egg by bringing water with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to a boil.  Break the egg into a small bowl.  Slowly lower the bowl into the water, without submerging it, and hold it there for 30 seconds.  Then gently pour the egg into the water and cook for 3-6 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and serve.
  9. Baking or Shirred eggs require a 400˚ oven and a generously buttered ramekin.  Gently break the egg into the ramekin, season with salt and pepper, and bake in the oven for 10-14 minutes.

There are other ways to cook with eggs — omelet, frittata, strata, and the like — but these methods are basic and easy.  In 10-15 minutes, with minimal work, you’ll be enjoying your eggs. What’s your favorite way to enjoy an egg?