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I love fried eggs. They are a delightful addition to breakfast, burger, bibimbap etc...

The simple cooking method in this "Instructable" aims at delivering fried eggs creamy on top, crispy on the bottom, easy to carry from pan to plate.

In the past I used to struggle cooking my fried eggs to the standard I aimed at.

Now with the method "I'm never going back, the past is in the past" ( :-) ) cooking fried eggs is easygoing with results enjoyed by everyone around the table !

To develop this method, I inspired from different readings from different chefs and molecular gastronomy players.

I will quote the references I can remember along the method description.

Special note : Dear inspirers, please excuse that I will not be able to quote all of yours here... My readings on the topics occurred before 2005, when I did not intend to publish nor share the result. Thanks for having made some of your expertise publicly available :-)
NB: My native language is French. I'd be pleased to receive your advices for improvement of incorrect grammar or spelling.

Step 1: Ingredients & Preparation

Ingredients

  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Water

Equipment

  • A frying pan, small enough so that your eggs will cover the pan surface with an even thickness (I do them with at least 3mm thickness). (2)(3)
  • A rigid large spatula, with an angle between handle spatula surface.(4)

Preparation

  • Get the eggs out of the fridge more than 5 minutes before cooking them (1).
    The best results are obtained when cooking eggs at room temperature.. therefore leave them resting with the box's lid open (they'll exchange heat with surrounding air more efficiently)
  • Prepare a little quantity of water in a tiny vessel (easy pouring & easy to clean as this one is very likely to get covered with fat)
  • Place directly in the pan the butter and olive oil (circa half half proportion). Quantity should be enough to evenly cover the pan base surface.
References, additional tips and background explanations
(1) Spanish chef advice in a Spanish Basque magazine (circa 2005)
(2) Molecular Gastronomy scientist Hervé This in books "Chimie de la casserole" & "Révélations Gastronomiques" If the pan is too large, the egg white will spread freely, resulting in a egg white thickness being thicker around the yolk and thinner at the white's extremity. This would make the extremity getting cooked quicker than the middle, and therefore put you at risk of having the thinner part carbonizing while the middle is still raw..ish ).
(3) A thicker pan will make the cooking process easier than a thin pan, because it's easier to have an even heat repartition with thicker pans.
(4) If your frying pan has a non-stick coating, do not use a metallic spatula to avoid damaging your pan.

Step 2: Melt Butter With Oil

Gently heat up the pan, with butter and oil inside (adjust heat for the butter to melt gently).

Use the spatula to blend the melted butter and oil together evenly.

Make movements with the pan to ensure you coat with oil the whole bottom part and at least a third of the pan "wall". (NB it's normal to see the oil and butter blend flowing back down to the pan bottom).

Step 3: Quickly Add Water & Eggs in Frying Pan

Be prepared, this is the step that requires velocity in execution.

  • Turn the heat up to medium-high.
  • As soon as the fat mix starts making more noise (the tiny amount of water delivered by butter starts boiling), quickly pour in a little bit of water. (5)

!!! Be careful some burning hot fat projection can occur when you add the water !!! Protect yourself !!! (6)

  • Immediately, lightly move the pan so that the water gets dispersed in the pan. (again, mind projections, do it quickly, not thoroughly)
  • Immediately,quickly break every eggs into the pan (7) Choose your egg landing locations at this step : you should not try to move them around once they've landed on the hot pan.
  • If your frying pan size is small enough, at this stage the whole surface should be covered with eggs.

References, additional tips and background explanations
(5) I found out about the butter-olive oil mixture suggestion and water addition while reading press articles quoting a variety of Spanish chefs (including Ferran Adria).
Here is what I remember was the hypothesis of the authors, explaining the empiric results :
The water addition step can be a bit messy with oil projection and requires being quick. The objective is to have a "mattress" of drops of boiling water between the frying pan surface and the bottom of the eggs surface. When boiling, water becomes steam, it's a gas. The gas bubbles formed are expected to somehow prevent the eggs from touching the pan surface directly when they're not yet fried. This is supposed to help avoiding eggs bottom burning and sticking to pan, while they can still fry to have a crunchy bottom as they have contact with the butter-oil mixture.
(6) If you get burning projections on skin, immediately rinse your skin with cold water, flowing from tap, for long enough to avoid your skin burning more deeply (more than 30 seconds will always be required).
(7) Do not use the side of the pan to break the egg shells. This would not be hygienic, cause mess on your plate (meaning more to clean) and put you at risk of getting burnt. Look for methods involving breaking one egg against one other, or on a plate or flat board surface (these are some of the methods limiting risk of getting shell pieces in the preparation, while maintaining a good food hygiene)

Step 4: Salt Around the Egg Yolk

Quickly spread a little salt around each egg yolk. (8) Target the egg white surfaces that are slimy/translucent, right around the egg yolk.

Do not put salt on the yolk, or it will loose creaminess

References, additional tips and background explanations
(8) Molecular Gastronomy scientist Hervé This in books "Chimie de la casserole" & "Révélations Gastronomiques"
Hervé This's explanation about "Why won't the egg white closest to the yolk cook ?", unless we use the salt trick in this zone, is presented in book "Kitchen Mysteries : Revealing the Science of Cooking" (2007). If you really want a teaser, I'd say it's about protein cooking process being influenced by it's environment composition.

Step 5: Eggs Are Cooked When Egg White Is Opaque.

Egg white becoming opaque means egg white is cooked (before it was slimy translucent).

As soon as you obtain this visual clue :

  • Stop the heat
  • Use the spatula extremity to cut between egg portions, down to frying pan surface (the crunchier the egg's bottom, the more cutting effort you may need).
  • To remove egg portion from pan, slide the spatula surface below the egg, scraping the pan surface.

Step 6: Now Serve & Eat !

Now quickly serve the eggs into your hosts' plates and your plate :-)

Do not leave the eggs in the pan, else cooking process will continue and you eggs' whites will turn more jelly than creamy and your eggs' yolks will turn more crumbly than creamy.

Enjoy your eggs !!

<p>..so what do you do with water?</p>
<p>The water is used at step 3 : it's to be added in the hot oil blend (melted butter together with olive oil).</p><p>Bottom note (5) of step 3 gives more info about expected effect of usage of water.<br>I don't know if the hypothesis is correct or not, however, practically speaking, the method works for me :-)</p>
<p>Thank you for the response, it makes sense now.</p>
<p>You're welcome.</p>
<p>That looks really good. Thanks for sharing. </p>

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