Last night, after making myself some eggs for dinner, I decided to do a quick Google search for how to make the perfect Over-Easy Egg. Like all things internet, there's more advice out there than anyone should know what to do with. And also, like all things internet, everybody says it's EASY. You just won't believe how easy. Easy-peasy... er, and something else that rhymes with easy. Trouble is, it's not that easy to flip over an egg without breaking the yolk. I mean, it's possible that it really is easy, and I'm just a f*ckwit, but, like everybody else who posts their opinions on the internet, I'm going to assume that it's not that.
As every single other advice article will explain (for very little reason), the insides of an egg has three parts: the yolk, the inner white (which goopily clings right around the yolk and cushions it from the heat), and the outer white (which is the part that sprawls across the pan if it can get away with it). Other advisors will tell you that you should simply monitor your egg until that inner white is firmed up and opaque, then, oh-so-simply-and-easily flip it over. This maneuver is mostly facilitated by copious amounts of grease, a non-stick frypan, a magical spatula, AND a lifetime of hand-eye coordination and practice. Sounds SUPER EASY so far, right?
Well, if you troll around some more through discussion boards and the Ask.coms and About.coms out there, there's usually a few still, small voices of reason peeping through the din out there. And now I'm one of them. Rather than peep, I'm going to shamelessly pronounce to everyone out there (all 5 of my readers) that I cannot flip an egg for nothing. Oh, sure, every now and again I get lucky and the flip results in one perfect egg, but certainly not if there's more than one egg in the pan.
So here's what I do, and it works, and it really is easy. Heat up your pan on a low to medium heat, spraying it with a little cooking spray (yes, even if it's a non-stick pan, eggs are the stickiest things on the planet!). I like to cook more whites than yolks (since I'm not that big of a fan of atherosclerosis), so my trick is to crack all of my eggs into a measuring cup first, so it can all go in at the same time and cook at the same rate. If you like to keep your eggs all segregated from one another, well, that's between you and your egg maker, and you'll just have to figure something out. Mostly, I just use the spatula at the end of cooking to separate the blanket of whites into my eggs and The Honey's eggs. In my example, I was just cooking for myself, so the whole thing went onto my plate (The Honey is out of town... :-( ...).
Once your pan is heated up and your eggs are all cracked and/or separated (for my example, I just used one whole egg and one white), pour your eggs into the pan. Some sources say that it shouldn't be so hot as to make the sizzly, crackly sound when it hits the pan, but mine does, and nothing bad ever comes of it. Have a big enough pan for your eggs to spread out nicely--it'll ensure that they cook evenly and make it easier to separate, if you decide to share. So now, while you let it cook on one side for a few seconds (say, 30-ish?), add any seasonings you may want on your eggs. I put a little salt, freshly ground pepper, and a sprinkle of onion powder.
Sizzle, crackle, pepper-grinder-noise, salt-shaker-shake...
Now here comes the magically easy part: Put a lid on it. I chose a lid that is smaller in diameter than my pan, but not so small as to touch the eggs themselves. That way, I have neatly enclosed my eggs so they can steam for a few seconds. If you only have a properly-fitting lid, that works too, but your eggs might need a few more seconds, as now you have a bigger steam-chamber to heat.
Looks funny, works like a charm
So now you stand there for a few seconds (again, like, 20 to 30 maybe?), eating your bacon first (shut up, everybody does it), buttering your toast, or toasting your tortilla on the adjacent burner (advanced maneuver--I have never succeeded in doing these two things at once. Either the eggs or the tortilla pay the price for my insolence.). Now peek at your eggs and see if they are done, which they probably are! Now you only have to get them from the pan to the plate without breaking the yolk, and that I can't help you with. Use a spatula. You'll be okay.
Perfect egg, jiggly photo.
So, like everything in life, this takes a little practice. However, you must admit, this is pretty easy, compared to flipping the eggs over! The only real variable is cooking time, and that, I'm afraid, just takes practice. Nowhere near the amount of practice it would take to master the Alton Brown Flip-in-the-Air method (my dogs would really appreciate all the failed attempts, though, unless it all wound up on the inside of the fume hood), but practice. And, unlike Alton's outtakes, my errors are probably still edible and free of dog fur.
Oh, and yes, I am aware that these eggs really aren't Over Easy, since you haven't actually flipped them over. Either stop being so pedantic, or make up a catchy new name for this type of egg yourself. Short answer: Shut up and eat your eggs before they get cold.