Fried Duck Egg Sunny-Side Up

Fried Duck Egg Sunny-Side Up

You already know how to cook an egg, don’t you? You’re going to want to try this method we learned from Chef John Besh.  He was speaking with Lynne Rossetto Kasper on A Splendid Table. This simple technique is all about the flavor and innate deliciousness of a good old-fashioned, organic farm egg.

If you are lucky enough to get some duck eggs from us, this is the method we use to pay homage to these big, rich delicacies. Duck eggs are a phenomenal treat prepared this way but this technique works great with any farm-raised egg.

Fried Egg Sunny-Side Up …… John Besh as told to Lynne Rossetto Kasper


When you take a beautiful farm egg that’s been raised on this great diet and you do as little to it as possible and you cook it ever so gently sunny-side up, it would just be perhaps the tastiest thing you’ve ever had in your life.

I take a little chilled farmstead butter and rub it in a relatively liberal manner around a small cast iron pan. I don’t want the eggs to really spread out too much, and I’d like this to be a cool pan if possible.

What I want to do is crack an egg and place it over low heat. Not low low low; on the burner at your house, a medium-low to medium flame.

The beauty of this is that it’s all about the egg, and it’s all about the little smear of butter. I want the egg to coagulate really slowly, so I watch the egg whites slowly turn this opaque color. What I don’t want is what my grandmother used to have happen in her cast-iron skillet: sizzle and pop. I don’t want the eggs to start to caramelize. When carmelization takes place, it adds flavors that distract us from the creaminess of the white and the yolk itself.

It starts to bubble ever so slightly. That’s when I move it to as low a heat as possible, because I want the whites to coagulate in the same time that it takes the egg yolk just to heat all the way through.

Finally, I take a little bit of sea salt and just give a small dash with my fingertips right over the eggs.

You have perfection.

We started off and I had all these little canisters of spice this and spice that. We had various oils and creams and all these different goodies that we could add to the egg. But we’re distracting it. This, I think, is cooking at its purest. It’s something so simple.

It goes against the grain of everything that we’re taught as cooks. Our inner chef wants to overdo everything that we cook, we want to over-season, we want to mask, we want to manipulate, but if we can restrain ourselves from doing that, we will allow this egg to become almost magical.

That’s it. If you want to learn how to make cream of any vegetable soup, follow the link above and Chef John lets you in on the simple secrets to making it using only a little cream.

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