How To Fry An Egg
Posted 21 December 2003 - 10:22 PM
My question is: what's your favourite way to fry an egg? We'll assume the egg is freshly laid, of course. Do you use olive oil, butter, bacon fat, lard, beef dripping; duck or goose fat or a good vegetable oil? Even a good margarine, made from decent vegetable oils? I know margarine has been having a bad press lately - but some are better than others. In Portugal, for instance, all-peanut "Vaqueiro" makes for a very acceptable fried egg.
Do you, as many Mediterraneans do, mix fats: olive oil and lard; butter and bacon fat; peanut and olive oil? Do you separate the yolk from the white, so the white is crispy and golden but the yolk (added afterwards) self-contained and, when pierced, runny? Do you cover the frying pan for a few seconds? Do you use a spoon to scoop up the fat and pour over the whites, to crisp them up?
In Portugal and Spain fried eggs, with nothing else (though we do add bacon and smoked ham for fun), are one of our basic pleasures. I'm curious. In a culture which is so agreeably sensitive to eggs ("over easy"; "sunny side up", etc.) I'd like to know how you choose to fry your eggs. And, now that we're at it, what you accompany them with: hot oven-heated rolls; toast; fried bread; fried or grilled tomatoes; streaky bacon; chouriço...
Please let us know!
Posted 22 December 2003 - 01:30 AM
If you think that I'm about to fall into your trap, you're mad.
Not only I have not investigated the options for frying eggs, but I have a sneaky feeling that even if I had, you would still know much more than I ever will about frying an egg.
Therefore, I feel that you have an obligation to write about 3000 words for us on the frying of an egg. Please!
Posted 22 December 2003 - 08:25 AM
Have I been unlucky with my questions or what? I inquired about Portuguese cuisine - you tell me you've never heard of the country and intend living your whole life without finding out, God be willing. So, pushing my luck and abusing eGullet's and your hospitality, I reassemble, rethink and come back at ya with a simple request for your preferences regarding fried eggs. Your response? Yes, you've heard rumours about them and trust they do exist but, to be frank, you can't be bothered. Perhaps someday - don't call us; we'll call you. With the sweetest words, you echo Cole Porter's "What Is This Thing Called Fried Eggs?" and invite me, a mere amateur, to provide my own answer.
Better luck next time, I hope. Just let me say (and I'm sure I'm not the only one) how enchanted and enlightened I've been by your full, candid, honest and wise answers to other members' questions. The great thing about these Q&As is that, when the guest is as sincere and knowledgeable (and what the English call "game") as you are and the questions are as interesting as these were (with fascinating addenda to boot), I'm entirely satisfied by proxy, as it were.
So I'll let you off for now, Dr.Steingarten - but don't let it happen again!
P.S. No, kidding aside, thank you ever so much! :)
Posted 23 December 2003 - 08:14 PM
A chef/teacher at the school I attended would test other chefs by asking them to make him an omellete. He believed he could tell the chefs worth by how the omellete turned out. Therefore I have never taken eggs lightly.
I am curious of your favorite way to fry an egg. It sounds like you take it seriously.
Posted 24 December 2003 - 01:45 AM
okay. once you've achieved this.
you must be hungry for this egg. very hungry. and you will eat it with passion. and desire and satisfaction, and if you are anything like myself, you just might emerge from the table with a bit of yolk in your eyebrows from the sheer motion and excitment of your egg eating.
and you will feel good, very good.
forget those others who eat every day of egg white omelets. eat a good egg rarely and you'll revel in it. omigod. i think i need an egg soon. i can only eat an egg when i'm very hungry. and i like them for lunch or dinner, too, continental europe style. anyone else out there addicted to oeuf en meurette? (but then i was the person who, during the years in Britain when eggs were really awful, went on egg holidays: to greece, france, italy, wherever, with my little plastic egg container, and brought back a happy half dozen in my carryon.
Posted 27 December 2003 - 04:06 PM
Have I been unlucky with my questions or what? I inquired about Portuguese cuisine - you tell me you've never heard of the country and intend living your whole life without finding out, God be willing.
I hope you're kidding. Or is it a language problem. Can't be that because you've already told me how much you like my books. And you've otherwise been very charming.
I said, of course, that I was deeply flattered that you, a Portuguese, would think I could have anything enlightening to say about Portuguese food. And that even if I could, I don't, because I've never been there, though everyone encourages me to do so, and I have it on my list. But I can't tell whether the seafood near the southern border with Spain is the best in he world, or on the northern border near Galicia.
Can you at least answer that question?
Posted 28 December 2003 - 08:15 PM
Of course I was kidding! I appreciate your honesty above all else and the fact that, unlike so many others, you won't bluff your way through something you haven't thoroughly investigated - that is truly encouraging.
About the seafood: It changes quite a bit as you travel up the coast. The Algarve is the poorest as its waters are a bit too warm - but you get the best "ameijoas" (Venus clams?) and "navalhas" or "lingueirões"(razor clams?) there. The "gambas" (prawns) are fine but their quality and size have decreased. The cuttlefish and the various forms of tuna are very good.
Further up, around Vila Nova de Milfontes (Southwest Alentejo) you get delicious southern "percebes" (goose-neck barnacles); "búzios" (conch); the best squid and a variety of fish not caught elsewhere. Setúbal, nearing Lisbon, has the best red mullet and langoustines.
The area round Lisbon (Cascais) is where the best "robalo"( sea bass); "linguado"( Dover sole) and "sargos" (a creamy bream) are to be found. "Navalheiras" (small crabs) are delicious and plentiful. A rare treat are tiny slipper lobsters and wild lobsters.
Up towards the North, Peniche (which some reckon has the best fish market) has the best spider crabs, spiny lobsters, sardines and "carapaus" (horse mackerel).
In the cold waters near Oporto, the best, plumpest shrimp is to be found - this has always been the most expensive shellfish.
Although a few luxury restaurantes up and down the coast have a decent selection, demand is so high that you have to go local (and know people) if you want the real thing - live, wild shellfish boiled in sea water while you wait. It's complex, believe me. Even for ridiculous prices, the best restaurants cannot obtain the freshly hand-caught shellfish and fish which is greedily consumed "in situ" the moment people set eyes on it.
Second-best are traditional "marisqueiras" - the best of which are in Oporto, Lisbon and Setúbal. But they deal in volume so lobsters, langoustines, crabs etc will be kept alive in tanks, which affects their flavour severely. If I had to choose somewhere as base I'd probably choose Oporto - nearby Matosinhos is the shellfish and fish mecca.
Please e-mail me if you ever decide to come and I'll draw up a map and provide you with letters of introduction so you can bypass the many barriers.
All the very best and thanks again for your kindness - I'm sorry my little joke didn't translate well!