Last week on Masterchef (team Christine!), the contestants were put to the ultimate culinary 101 pressure test when asked to cook the perfect egg...four ways...in 20 minutes.
Ramsay and his fellow judges were looking for the "one perfect soft-boiled egg," "one impeccable, sunny-side-up fried egg," "one stunning, perfect poached egg" and "one absolutely phenomenal three...egg...omelet."
That's a lot of pressure, but luckily, we have no Ramsay, no time restraints and no cameras in our faces waiting for us to inevitably break down in an ugly cry in front of the judges and all of America.
Perfecting these eggs at home is actually not intimidating at all.
Today, we'll be focusing on the frying pan, giving you tips and tricks to making absolutely stunningly and impeccably perfect three-egg omelets and sunny-side-up eggs.
Here's what you do:
The Perfect Three-Egg Omelet should be a light, pale yellow, fluffy and delicate.
To start, you'll need the right pan. A seven-to-eight-inch nonstick frying pan or heavy-bottomed cast-iron skillet works best. I prefer nonstick because, well, it doesn't stick.
Heat frying pan over medium heat, being sure not to set too high (we do not want the eggs to cook too hard or too fast). Coat bottom of pan with a little bit of oil and about 1 tbsp butter until butter foams. Swirl to coat evenly.
Meanwhile, crack three eggs into a large bowl and whisk vigorously until mixture is light and even-colored. Whisking quickly adds air to the mixture. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Pour mixture into center of pan and use a rubber spatula to stir vigorously for about five seconds. Gently shake the pan to distribute. Bottom of eggs should begin to set.
Use spatula to push eggs toward center and tilt pan to fill in gaps, repeating all around for about 20-30 seconds. Eggs should still look soft on the top. Give the pan one last swirl and turn heat to low.
If adding toppings, do so now.
Let cook over low heat until the top begins to set, about 30 seconds. Use spatula to gently dislodge the omelet from the edges of the pan.
Shake pan to loosen mixture from bottom. Using a thin metal spatula, gently fold over 1/3 of the omelet. Tilt the pan over the serving plate and gently slide eggs onto plate, unfolded side first. Tilt the pan further and gently fold the omelet over itself to create a tri-fold.
Serve hot and be proud.
Sunny-Side-Up Eggs should be fried on one side with opaque whites and a runny yolk.
Use a heavy cast-iron pan or non-stick skillet.
Heat butter or other fat (bacon fat is fantastic) over medium heat until foaming. *To see if pan is hot enough, add a drop of water. If it immediately sizzles, the pan is hot enough for eggs to stay in place when dropped.
Crack eggs separately into bowls and pour into pan one at a time. (You can also crack directly into the pan, gently dropping the eggs one at a time).
Immediately reduce heat to medium-low and move spatula around sides of egg to prevent sticking.
As the eggs begin to set, use a spoon or brush to baste the butter or fat onto the eggs.
Season with salt and pepper now or once plated.
Cook the eggs, basting as they cook, until the whites are a solid, opaque color and are firm, with yolk that's thick but runny. Shake the pan gently to loosen bottom from pan.
Tilt pan, slide onto plate and serve.
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*For over-easy eggs (or as I
call them used to call them, dippy eggs), use a spatula to flip after shaking loose from pan. Cook for another ten seconds, then flip back over and serve.
Look out for Part 2 of the Non-Pressure Test for tips on cooking eggs in the pot, poached and soft-boiled (and hard boiled too!).