I’m known for cooking hot breakfasts for the girls every day, but I rarely partake in them during the week. Sundays are my day to linger at the table with coffee, a hot meal, and the newspaper, if I’m feeling extra decadent with my time. During the week, I usually set about the kitchen packing lunch and preparing for the day while the girls eat. I don’t feel particularly guilty for not sitting with them since the kitchen opens into the dining room. I’m a stone’s throw from them, just across the counter, caught up in chatter about the day ahead.
Once the busyness of the morning is done, with them dropped off at school, it’s my tummy’s turn for some TLC. I put up a pot of French press, and get to work on my favorite breakfast—a perfectly cooked sunny side up egg. I love the contrast of the crispy edges of the whites, as I poke at the yolk and watch it slowly dribble out. It’s the simple things that I find most comforting, and cooking an egg just right is one of them. So, imagine my momentary fluster when I cracked my egg into the pan yesterday and the yolk broke. I immediately realized I took one of the older eggs from the carton. Older eggs are better for making hard boiled ones, which means the ones I buy fresh from the farmers’ market need a week or two to “age”. I set a few aside for this purpose every week.
Fried eggs, on the other hand, are best made with super fresh eggs*. When I cracked my egg yesterday, and the yolk splattered open, I was crestfallen. Piercing the yolk is like the prize in the Cracker Jack box. My first thought was to toss the egg and start again, but I quickly came to my senses. Waste not, want not, right? I took a fork, and gave the egg a quick scramble in the skillet, making the best of my breakfast situation. While my original intention had been a perfectly cooked sunny side up egg, life has taught me that all is not lost even when things don’t unfold as I intended. We can plot and plan all we want, but it’s grace under pressure that allows us to see the silver linings when they present themselves.
Music Pairing: Sunnyside by Leftover Cuties
Take care in selecting your skillet, which all depends on how many eggs you want to cook. The whites will need room to scurry about until they set (usually within a few seconds of hitting the pan). An eight-inch skillet can comfortably fit two eggs, three if you don’t mind them touching each other (I usually don’t, in case you’re wondering, but happen to love the photo I snapped up above). A ten to twelve-inch skillet is good for up to four eggs. As for the pan type, I love my cast-iron skillet. Non-stick pans work fine too, but I find they don’t deliver a super crispy edge. If you use a stainless steel skillet, you’ll need a very generous pat of butter—let’s call it 1 to 2 teaspoons, to ensure the eggs don’t stick.
And, as with scrambled eggs, the key to cooking sunny side up eggs is low and slow. A little patience will yield a white that is cooked through and not runny, and a yolk that is both set and slightly warm, but still ooze when stabbed with the tip of your toast. I’ve noted fleur de sel for my salt of choice because I like the crunchy bits, but you can use whatever salt you have on hand.
Fleur de sel and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Heat a skillet over a low flame. Add a pat of butter to the pan for each egg you’re cooking. Once the butter is melted, crack the eggs, one at a time into the pan. Let each egg set up for a few seconds, before cracking the next one. Continue to cook the eggs over a low flame, until the whites set, become opaque, and the edges are lightly browned and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.