Have you ever been asked the question, “If you were stranded on a deserted island with only “one _____ what would it be?” I do not have any intention of being stranded on an island anytime soon. However, I have often pondered this question, filling in the blank with “food.”
If I could have only one food to eat for the rest of my life (I sincerely hope that I don’t have to make that choice), I would choose eggs. Of course my favorite food is lumped into the “breakfast” category, which would be the answer to the question, “If you could have only one meal a day, what would it be?” I can eat eggs every day. I do eat them most days – at least six days a week for breakfast, lunch, or as a snack.
I am incredibly spoiled by my friend Sam, who brings me farm-fresh eggs once a week. Of all of the choices that we have for eggs, hers are the best that I have had. I know that she has a variety of laying hens because the colors of the eggs are mixed. What I love most about the eggs is the incredibly bright – almost orange – yolk. Some people say that the orange color of the yolk comes from the nutrients that the birds get from roaming freely. Others say that the less stressed the chicken is, the darker the color of the yolk of their eggs. Either way, I enjoy the brighter, darker color of the yolk that enhances the flavor and richness of the eggs. If I were on an island, I would like for Sam and her family’s chickens to be there, too!
Eggs can be enjoyed a variety of ways. I learned to scramble eggs before I turned 10. Next I learned to cook them over easy, which was not all that “easy” at the time. Flipping the egg was the challenge. Okay – flipping the egg without breaking the yolk was the real challenge. As I got older (and more patient), I got better at cooking eggs. As with cooking in general, I have researched a variety of ways to prepare eggs over the years. I still try numerous new recipes where eggs are the star.
Of all of the recipes for eggs in my repertoire, my favorite preparation is sunny side up. I like sunny side up eggs served on top of a potato hash or simply with toast to sop up the yolk. Either way, I like to have some kind of vehicle to help absorb the delicious yolk.
How do I prepare an egg sunny side up?
- I always use a non-stick skillet to assist with easily lifting the finished egg out of the pan once it’s done.
- I get my skillet slightly hot – I set the electric stove burner on 6.
- Depending on the day and my mood, I use a little olive oil, butter, or pork fat in the skillet. Use one half tablespoon of your preferred fat per egg.
- After your preferred fat has warmed up for a couple minutes, break the egg directly into the skillet. Some people like to break the egg into a small bowl and then pour it into the skillet. It can be easier that way.
- If you are a perfectionist (which I am not), you can move the yolk on the egg with your fingers to sit perfectly centered in the middle of the egg. Just very carefully hold it there for about two minutes while the egg begins to set. A chef friend taught me this trick. It does look good for presentation purposes.
- The next step is variable, depending on how you like your eggs cooked. I don’t mind the whites a little runny. Other people do not want their egg white runny at all. Basically, you are going to let the egg sit in the skillet until it is cooked to your desired doneness.
- If you really like the yolk runny, but want to make sure all of the white is done after the egg is nicely set – cooked all around the edges of the white – turn the heat down to low and let the egg “hang out” until the white is as set as you like. You can even take the pan off of the burner. The pan is hot enough to continue to cook the egg white.
- Once the eggs are cooked to your preferred doneness, lift them out of the skillet with a rubber spatula and onto your serving plate.
There are numerous ways to serve a sunny side up egg – from very simple to very fancy. I will definitely post some more recipes soon. How about a crab and green tomato hash? That will have to wait until we get more into summer when the tomatoes are around. I am already dreaming of summer tomatoes to enjoy with my sunny eggs!
Lesson: I realize in this post how picky I am about my eggs. I have spent years practicing cooking my eggs with precision and attention to detail. It is even a challenge sometimes to be satisfied when other people cook eggs for me. There is something to be said for practicing something we love over and over again – always improving our method or tweaking our practice in one way or another.
Eggs are my thang! What’s yours? What have you practiced over and over and continue to enjoy the practice?