What could be more delicious or simple than a fried egg? There is so much about the egg that I could say (the history of eggs, uses in different cultures, health benefits, recipes, etc.) but won’t. There are tons of websites devoted to the creation of the perfect fried egg including debates on cast iron versus non-stick skillets. There are sites encouraging the incorporation of the fried egg into everything from bowls of rice and/or veggies to plopping it down on top of ciabatta bread and tomatoes then sprinkling with feta cheese and arugula, thus elevating the humble fried egg to a snazzy dinner item. And don’t get me started on the various methods of frying with absurd names like “animal style” and “press down.” One ill-informed person even suggested that the perfect fried egg wouldn’t have crispy brown edges. Seriously? That’s the best part.
I guess I’m old school and harken back to the days when the toughest decision one had to make about fried eggs was whether or not you wanted the yolk hard or soft. This simplicity of thought is where my mind drifted as I wrote the scene in my novel, The Secrets of Dr. John Welles, when midwife Collie Mercer makes a celebratory breakfast for the Welles family in honor of the new baby she has just delivered.
The Welleses lived on a farm, so naturally eggs were part of their diet in some fashion on a daily basis. I imagine nothing fancier than scrambled or fried eggs ever appeared on the Welles children’s plates, not even an omelet. But I also know that the eggs were prepared with love. And while a wide variety of foods may not have been an option, no boxes of colorful cereal or flaky croissants, the children were no doubt raised with an appreciation for an abundance of good food prepared simply.
There isn’t an exact recipe involved with this post. In many ways, the preparation of a great fried egg is a combination of common knowledge and simple logic with a dash of familial preference for good measure.
The Perfect Fried Egg
Fresh eggs – we obtain ours from a neighbor down the street
Salt & pepper
Cast Iron Skillet – our preference at the Gibson household
Pre-heat a cast iron skillet on the stove. Melt about ½ T of butter in the pan per egg until it bubbles. Don’t brown or burn the butter. Crack your eggs directly into the skillet, spacing evenly around the circumference depending on the quantity of eggs and size of the skillet.
Break the yolks at this point if you want them hard. Allow the underside to set up before flipping them to continue cooking on the other side. They are done when the yolk it set and the edges reach desired crispness.
Or, when the underside of the white turns opaque, you can pour a little water in the pan and cover to steam your eggs to doneness. This is usually done for a soft yolk. No flipping required.
Season the cooked eggs with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot and enjoy!