An ideal fried egg is crispy on the edges and bottom, with a barely set or runny yolk, depending on your personal preference. I like frying mine in what some would consider to be “too much butter.” Often, I will let the butter brown first, then add the egg. Once the edges are crispy and the white is set, I will slide the egg onto a piece of toast. This is a normal breakfast for me.
I’ve eaten hundreds of eggs this way, rarely deviating from the above steps, but recently I’ve made a small change. Instead of sliding the egg onto the toast, yolk facing skyward, I flip it over onto the toast, yolk side down. The reason is simple: I want as much yolk as I can get.
When you serve an egg on toast, yolk side up, the yolk has nowhere to go but down a slippery egg-white slope. Egg whites are not known for their ability to grip onto anything, which leads to the yolk running down the sides of the smooth white and onto the plate. (Yes, you can wipe it up with more toast, but I some mornings I just want one piece of bread.) Flip it over, and you put the yolk in direct contact with toast (a known yolk absorber). It’s a simple — some might say “silly” — manoeuvre, but it prevents loss of yolk, and that’s important to me.
It works even better for breakfast sandwiches. I’ll flip the egg onto the bottom piece of bread, pile the cheese and any breakfast meat on top, then gently press down on the centre of top piece of bread. This allows me to control the direction of the inevitable yolk break, and forces it into the piece of toast beneath it.
Aesthetically speaking, the bottom of a fried egg is not as pretty as the top, but you are under no obligation to share photos of your breakfast. And, if you are truly worried about egg optics, you can always bless the bottom with a lacy network of fried cheese. Cheese is beautiful.