Lemons Lemons are one of my favorite flavor enhancers but you need to be careful of the white pith. If you cook the pith, it turns very bitter. Cooking the rind or pulp is fine but never use the pith or seeds. I remember discovering this disturbing fact cooking chicken piccata for the first time. I thought I could enhance the flavor by cooking lemon slices in the sauce but instead I got a bitter taste I couldn't correct with sugar.
My Favorite Pan My favorite pan is a twenty dollar cast iron pan. I remember vividly how my step-father coveted his iron pan and warned us about not using soap to clean it. Seasoned and maintained properly, an iron pan can last forever. It is better than any non stick pan and far more durable. It's thick base holds heat better than any pan in my arsenal and prevents food from burning by dispersing the heat.
Chef Ramsay wouldn't touch these fried eggs with a ten foot pole but I absolutely love them. I think Andrew Zimmern says it best when he talks about mouth feel. I love the crispy crunch the edge of the egg gets when cooked at a higher temperature. French prepared eggs definitely have a place in fine cuisine but when you just want a quick weekday breakfast, crispy is the way to go. Placed atop buttered toast to absorb the runny yolk, I could eat these fried eggs every day for breakfast.
This recipe is mostly about technique since there are so few ingredients... just eggs, vegetable oil, salt and pepper. Heat a thick pan, like a Cast Iron Pan, on medium heat. Add the oil and turn the heat up to medium high. When the oil starts to smoke you are ready to drop the eggs. As soon as they hit the oil, the eggs should start to turn brown on the edges and bubble if the oil is hot enough. Quickly add your salt and pepper and cover with a lid. Turn off the heat and wait.
After about a minute, remove the lid and the tops of the eggs should be cooked. Don't be tempted to peak ahead of time or you'll release the steam. It's an act of faith to wait. Once you've done it a couple of times, you'll trust the process. Remove the lid too early and you have "chickens" or uncooked white parts. Too late and you have a hard yolk.
To remove excess oil, lay the cooked eggs on a paper towel for a few seconds. The eggs are crispy on the bottom so they won't stick to the towel. There probably won't be much oil if you lift them with a slotted spatula but I prefer the oiliness from these meal to come from the buttered toast.
The more crunch the better I always say so place these crispy eggs atop some crunchy buttered toast. Add a little hot sauce, like Tabasco, and you have a morning meal the will easily keep you full till lunch.