Cast Iron Pans Cast iron pan owners swear by them for their even dispersal of heat and non stick nature. However, iron is not as happy go lucky as other metals. Initially, the pan must be seasoned with vegetable oil in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for at least an hour. Each time you heat the pan with oil, it will season till it obtains a beautiful dark color. Don't wash off the black patina thinking it is dirty. In fact, never use soap or scour the pan or you will remove the essence of the pan. Dry your iron pan on the stove with medium heat but watch it so it doesn't burn.
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.