Happy Leap Day!
This morning, I had planned get up and to try cooking something totally new. I mean, isn't this supposed to be the magical day for trying things you normally wouldn't do? (Or maybe, just maybe, I watch too much TV.) I racked my brain. Haggis? Squab? Jello mold? Croquembouche? By the time I had gone through a list of possibilities, it was that iffy time between breakfast and lunch. I was getting hungry, and finally settled on adding a twist to something I make about 10 times a month.
Fried eggs. Or more specifically, fried eggs with oyster sauce. It's pure comfort food, and something I've raved about periodically on this blog but have never formalized into a recipe. I fry up the eggs until the whites are all set but the yolks are still runny, transfer them to a bowl with rice or noodles, add an oyster sauce/soy sauce combo, and mix everything up. It's incredibly addictive, either as a slightly hedonistic weekday breakfast or a super-fast lunch or dinner.
(Necessary disclaimer: I personally prefer my eggs slightly undercooked, and almost always buy free-range eggs. But definitely cook the eggs until the yolks are set if you feel more comfortable, or if you're pregnant.)
Over the hundreds of times I've made fried eggs in my life, I've developed a few tricks for getting them to the perfect crispness without over-browning the bottoms and edges, or having them stick to the pan:
- Crack the eggs into a bowl first. This way, you can pick out any stray pieces of eggshell. Plus, the eggs stay together better when you add them all at once.
- Add the eggs to a hot wok or pan. The oil should be glistening before you add the eggs, so they won't stick and so the edges will begin to crisp almost immediately.
- After about 1 minute, lower the heat to medium. This way, the egg whites have a chance to fully set before the bottoms over-brown.
- The egg whites around the yolks have the hardest time cooking because that part is usually the thickest. Use a fork or edge of a spatula to poke holes around the outside of the yolks so the uncooked egg whites on top can seep through, make contact with the pan, and cook.
The only difference between these eggs and the ones I normally make is that I chopped up some kimchi and spooned it onto the egg whites as they were setting. But since I keep talking about how great and simple these eggs are, and for whatever reason had never posted the recipe, here it is.
Croquembouche may have to wait for another day.
Fried Eggs with Kimchi
- 2 teaspoons oyster sauce*
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup chopped kimchi
- 1 scallion, thinly sliced or shredded
- In a small bowl, combine the oyster sauce and soy sauce and stir until well-mixed. Set aside.
- Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Crack the eggs into a small bowl, then once the oil is hot enough, carefully pour the eggs into the hot oil. Spoon the chopped kimchi over the egg whites as they are setting so they get cooked into the eggs. After 1 minute, lower the heat to medium so the bottoms get crisp without over-browning while the egg yolks are still setting. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes to your desired level of doneness. (If the egg whites around the yolk are taking a while to set, use a fork to poke holes around the outside of the yolks. This way, the uncooked egg whites on top can seep through, make contact with the pan, and get cooked.)
- With a wide spatula, carefully transfer the eggs to a plate. Spoon the oyster sauce mixture of the eggs and top with scallions. Serve alone or with rice on the side.
Note: This dish can be made completely vegetarian by using vegetarian oyster sauce, which gets its flavoring from mushrooms.