If you’ve been cooking all your life – even just a home-schooled hack – you think you probably know it all. And when it comes to breakfast, is there really anything new under the sun? It took my good friend Billy – director, film professor, fantastic cook – to throw me a tip that has actually changed my eggy life.
I am an over medium kind of guy. A little butter, reasonably hot pan, in it goes, maybe two at a time. Let it set for as long as you dare, and then – the flip! I cannot begin to tell you the number of yolks I have decimated attempting to perfect The Flip. I used to entertain my boys when they were little flipping those eggs. They ended up broken, splattered, and occasionally on my Puma Clydes.
One day Billy and I were chatting about eggs. We co-coached our kids’ Little League team and that’s the kind of thing you talk about during spring practice. And I shared my frustrations with him. Billy has this way about him. He’s a real take-no-shit, half Brooklyn/half L.A. Latino guy, and he said simply this. “Dude, just add water.”
“Huhhh?” I replied. That sounded like a terrible idea. So after practice, I went over to his fabulous kitchen and he demonstrated. He cracked two eggs in his envy-inducing, utterly seasoned black iron skillet. He let them go for about 3 minutes. Then he turned on the sink, palmed about 4 tbsp of water and dumped it in the pan with a big splashy sizzle. He grabbed a large lid, covered the steaming eggs, and he stared at me with those “duhhh, c’mon man, everyone knows this trick” eyes.
Sure enough, three minutes later, off came the lid, no flipping required, and there you go – two perfect over medium fried eggs to enjoy as you please.
That’s the thing writers love about cooking. We toil and slave all day over sentences. But you can’t flip words. You just move the letters around. Try as you may you still usually end up with some semblance of gibberish. But food? You can do something concrete here. Crank up the heat. Add some spice. Chop in some herbs. Or perhaps just add water.
My mother kept an old wooden recipe box. Today people tap away at their phones. Me? I have Billy’s instructions. Brooklyn in the house. They serve me every time.