I often think about the first of our species to ever eat an egg. I imagine millions of years ago, some brave hominid hunter-gatherer sat watching a prehistoric creature pillage a nest for the gooey prize inside.
Fast forward through eons and there I stand bleary eyed and half asleep in my kitchen, pulling from my refrigerator a carton of eggs generously hunted and gathered by someone else.
Eggs are the perfect protein punch in the morning and whether they are prepared over-easy, scrambled, poached, hard-boiled or whatever, they serve as the centerpiece for any respectable breakfast. Beyond morning meals, eggs also serve as perhaps the greatest and most overlooked condiment in our culinary arsenal. Over-easy eggs add a fatty spark to burgers and steaks, while scrambled eggs transform disappointing BLTs into heartier BELTs.
For breakfast and more, here’s a day in the life of egg consumption:
7 a.m. Over Easy
Set the burner to medium heat and melt a pat of butter, regardless of whether or not you are using a nonstick skillet. Crack the egg on a flat surface to guard against shell shrapnel and drop it carefully into the pan. Let it sit there for 30 seconds to one minute, depending on your heat source, salting and peppering the upside to taste. At this point you could opt for sunny-side up, but that leaves you open to wet whites, and no one likes that. You can flip the egg without breaking the yolk, just hold your spatula firmly against the pan and with a quick motion, shove it under the egg and flip it softly, but without hesitation. Let the egg cook for another 30 seconds or until the whites set. Once it’s plated, break into the creamy yolk with toast wedges or a sausage link or your finger.
I have a fundamental problem with BLTs: too much lettuce, not enough substance. This problem is solved by adding scrambled eggs to the equation. A Bacon, Egg, Lettuce, Tomato on hearty rye is a much more satisfying lunch than the more popular, but eggless, forebearer sandwich. For the perfect scrambled addition, whisk at least two eggs with salt, pepper and a pitch of cold tap water (this will help keep the eggs fluffy) and pour the mix into a hot, buttered pan set to medium heat.
If these were standard scrambled eggs, you would need to keep those eggs moving, but since this is for a sandwich, you want those eggs to settle so that it forms a solid egg sheet and so no scrambled bits fall out the back of the sandwich. After it has settled for about 20 seconds, gently pull the eggs across the pan with a spatula, lifting and folding it over itself. Remember, scrambled eggs continue to cook even after removed from the heat, so do so swiftly. Stack your sandwich like so: bottom bread, scrambled egg sheet, bacon, more bacon, tomato, lettuce, top bread.
A bowl of ramen is the perfect vehicle for whatever leftovers are nearing expiration in your fridge, whether that’s the scraps of a chicken, Chinese take-out or kale purchased weeks ago with the best of intentions. Poached is the perfect unctuous additive to soup.
To pull off poached eggs, add a small dash of white vinegar to a pot of steadily simmering, salted water. Crack the eggs into a cup or ramekin, as doing so directly into the water could result in a disastrous broken yolk. Before dropping the egg into the water, create a whirlpool by stirring slowly in one direction. Drop the egg into the center of the whirlpool—the swirling water will help prevent the whites from spreading. Once the egg is in, turn off the heat and cover for five minutes. No peeking or poking. Remove the egg and transfer immediately to your waiting bowl of hot ramen. Now break the yolk and let the savory yellow spread throughout your creation.