The Basics: How to Cook an Egg

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Have you ever noticed how the easier something is to cook, the harder it is to get it right? For some, it's mashed potatoes. For others, it's soup. One chef told us that egg day was her hardest day in culinary school. She would impress her instructors with intricate sugar work, but when it came to a sunny side-up egg, forget it. Everyone has their kryptonite, even chefs.

For those of you cursed by the incredible, edible egg, this how-to is for you. Follow our step-by-step instructions for scrambled and sunny side-up eggs, and you'll be a short-order chef is no time. Whether it's Easter brunch for 10 or Sunday night supper for four, the only thing that will crack under the pressure will be the eggshells.

Scrambled eggs may seem simple, but they can dry out in no time. Or worse, they can be runny. We love scrambled eggs, but nothing takes away our appetite faster than gooey eggs. The trick to perfect scrambled eggs is not leaving them on the stove unattended.

Heat a stainless steel skillet on medium-low heat. Some people use butter to grease the skillet, but we like cooking spray. While the pan is heating, crack two eggs in a bowl and add about 1 tablespoon of milk or half and half. Season with about half a teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Whisk with a fork until the mixture is pale yellow.

Once the skillet is heated, pour the eggs into the pan. The eggs should not sizzle. Let the eggs slowly cook in the skillet without touching them. Once the edges of the eggs start to solidify and turn white, turn the heat up to medium-high. Use a spatula to break up and move the eggs around the pan for about two minutes. Then, serve immediately. Do not let the eggs sit in the pan after they are done. They will continue to cook and dry out.

For a sunny side-up egg, heat a stainless steel skillet on medium-high. Make sure to grease the pan with cooking spray before you heat it. Once the skillet is hot, crack the egg directly into it. (If you are worried about shells, you can crack the egg in a separate bowl and slide it into the hot skillet.) The egg should sizzle, which will keep the white from spreading too much. When the egg white has become solid and the yolk is still jiggly (about three minutes), gently slide the spatula under the egg and slowly flip it. Then, cook the egg for approximately one minute. When the egg is ready, gently slide it onto a plate and serve. Sometimes getting the egg from the skillet to the plate is the trickiest part. Just make sure you are gentle with the egg, and take your time.

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