America’s Test Kitchen’s idea of the perfect fried egg – offered in their weekly recipe email this morning – differs from mine in one respect: I consider fried eggs with crisp edges to be partially burnt and, like a typical Starbucks roast, a bit unpleasant. I also disagree with their use of oil in addition to butter; I think it’s in there primarily so they can burn the edges but not the butter. Oil is also going to give you rather greasy eggs unless you pat them with a paper towel before serving.
If I got such eggs at a diner, I’d cut the crunchy edges off and drop any daft plans I might have for a return visit. The same goes for scrambled eggs that look and taste like a pile of sunbaked boulders. Standards must be maintained.
Below, my perfect butter-fried over-easy eggs in progress. All they need from this point is a flip of the wrist and another couple of minutes on medium-low heat.