Growing up, my mom always made us breakfast on Sundays. If she wasn’t making her famous crepes then she would make us eggs. And mama made the best eggs, ever.
Breakfasts on Sunday, were always so warm and fun in our house. You could usually find babushka sitting on the chair by the patio window reading a Russian newspaper and she would put the paper down to either tell us yet another crazy rememdy they were writing about or to listen to one of my brother’s funny stories from the night before. My dad would be reading downstairs on the couch or outside on the patio. While my mom stood by the range or the sink, cooking up breakfast and other yummies for the day. Sometimes babushka was right by her, when they were making something a bit more labor intensive like galuptsi . I sometimes chilled at the table focused on the kitchen TV or tried to get into every pot and pan to check out what my mom had bubbling up. ”Go relax Mila, you will have all the time in the world to cook in your days to come.” How right she was.
When she made her eggs, they were nothing less than perfection. And I was unable to replicate them for a long while. I always thought it was one of those mama things. That only mama’s eggs were that good. They were always so very perfectly fried and the yolks were a perfect pale pink…every time. And the yolk oozed out so perfectly over my toast that it reminded me of something an artist would draw rather than something waiting to be gobbled up.
Her eggs also had the perfect browned and crispy edges. They were just the right accompaniment to the oozing yolk. My dad always mopped up the last traces of the yolk with his toast. He had this skill to ration out his bread and eggs so that the last bite was always used for the mopping of the plate. And he would finish each bite the same as he started the meal with a “mmmmmmmmmmmmm” and say to my mom, “who needs a restaurant when food at home tastes better.” My mom always smiled and said, “yea, yea ok,” and waved her hand at him jokingly dismissing him. He would always come up behind her and kiss her on the cheek to reassure her.
I tried for years to make these eggs without flipping and they just never ended up right and bubbly like mama’s. And I definitely remember, she never flipped hers.
Time passed and I forgot all about her egg skills. Until one day…when I was in culinary school, in a class where you make breakfast for the school, primarily eggs and omelettes made to order.
There was one chef’s order that brought fear into everyone’s hearts. Chef Klaus Tenbergen was a German bread and pastry chef, who reminded me very much of Gordon Ramsey. Chef Klaus was an intimidating looking man, with a deep voice and a heavy German accent. And everyone who had not yet taken his bread and pastry class with him, were terrified of him. Why? Because he always asked for what seemed to be the most difficult of orders. He would ask for his eggs to be “fried and crispy” in butter of course. What?!? Fried and crispy eggs? This isn’t French fries! It’s eggs. Fried and crispy?! But why?
And then I remembered. Mama’s eggs. Why? Because fried and crispy is delicious that’s why! And purely by miracle and dumb luck I figured out how to make Chef Klaus’s eggs juuuuuuust right. I was making his eggs and accidentally covered them and ran off to make someone else’s omelette order. When I turned around and looked at the eggs a few minutes later, I was shocked. As I removed the lid and a gush of steam rose into my face, I saw the beautiful color of the pink yolks and the crispy edges. Someone, possibly mom, was definitely watching over me that day. Because when I handed those egg’s to Chef Klaus, he smiled. And a smile from that man was as good as gold in Kendall College. Chef Klaus, was the only Chef I had in school who remembered me and always said hello to me in the halls. From my first day with him in bread class to my last day, he always smiled warmly and hugged broadly.
Later, when I was in his bread making class, he explained why he did that.
#1. it was because he liked asking the students to do something different.
#2. Because when the proteins in the eggs caramelize, it leads to crispy deliciousness.
So thanks Chef, for making us work a little harder and outside of the box and for making me remember how to make my mom’s eggs.
So since this is a technique, I will not be using a recipe, but instead just describe the technique.
First, place 2 tablespoons of butter into a non-stick pan over medium heat until it starts to sizzle.
Next crack open two eggs and add to the pan. Season well with salt and pepper.
Then, cover the eggs with a tight fitting lid. And let steam for 1-2 minutes to achieve over easy, 2-3 to achieve over medium and 3-4 minutes for over hard. Once the yolks have turned a beautiful pink color, they are over easy.
Why does this method work so well? Because of the steam you create inside the pan. It lets the eggs cook beautifully and gently and the high heat allows the edges to get nice and crispy.
Categories: Mila Furman