An over-easy egg on toast is one of my favourite simple breakfasts, but these eggs are equally at home atop a bed of rice, a burger, or even a piece of pizza. Hitting that sweet spot where the whites are fully cooked but the yolk is still nice and runny isn't difficult — you just have to know what you're doing.
Photo by Claire Lower
First, you'll need the right pan, and that pan is a nonstick pan with sloped sides. Unless you have the most seasoned cast iron pan known to man and are pretty seasoned yourself in the cooking-eggs department, a nonstick pan is going to be infinitely easier to work with.
Next, throw at least a tablespoon of butter in there, rub it all around, and heat the pan on low. Once the butter is done with its dramatic foaming, it's time to add your egg. I usually crack mine directly in the pan, but Alton Brown likes to crack his into a ramekin first for more even cooking and more control over where the egg goes. Place the egg along the edge of the pan that is furthest from you, then tilt it away from your body to keep the white from running everywhere. If you need extra help keeping that white in place, enlist a silicone spatula to gently push it back.
Once the white has settled down and learned its place (this takes about seven to 10 seconds), lower the pan back down and let the egg cook until the whites are opaque and just set (about a minute). Give the egg a few nudges with your spatula to make sure it can slide around with ease, then flip. You can do this with a thin, silicone spatula by gently sliding it under the egg while tilting the pan then, in one smooth, quick motion turning the egg yolk-side down in the pan. If you've never done this before, it is totally possible you will break a yolk or two perfecting your flip. That's OK. These broken yolks are still edible.
You can also flip the egg using only the pan by quickly moving the pan away from you and snapping the far edge upward. This also takes some practise, but once you master this sexy move, you will never look back. Once the egg is flipped, let it hang out for another seven to 10 seconds, then slide it onto a plate, piece of toast, burger, or any other food you think would benefit from a perfectly cooked over-easy egg.
This is part of The Grown-Up Kitchen, Lifehacker's series designed to answer your most basic culinary questions and fill in any gaps that may be missing in your home chef education.