When I talk to people about their frustrations with food preparation, an item that comes up often is cooking eggs. Inevitably, the issue is not having the right equipment. Having the right tools for the job is crucial: a non-stick skillet and a rubber spatula. Eggs can readily become part of your rotation of quick comfort food.
Eggs are a versatile, inexpensive source of protein that are quick to prepare. I like breakfast food but am not one to eat much in the morning, so eggs become dinner when I want something quick and light. They come perfectly packaged for solo meals, all shelled up, ready for the portion size of your choice. Be sure and look at the date on the carton when you purchase so you get a dozen that will have a life of more than a few days. Don’t forget the option of hard boiling them for salads and lunches.
Start building your egg cooking confidence with scrambled eggs. Pull eggs out of the refrigerator 30-60 minutes before using. The shells are less likely to shatter if they are at room temperature. In my never-ending quest to dirty as few pieces of kitchenware as possible when cooking solo, I scramble the eggs right in the skillet. Turn burner to medium high heat. Add a small pat of butter, margarine or even olive or vegetable oil to your skillet, about a tablespoon. Put skillet onto hot burner and warm it up. Have rubber spatula ready. Crack eggs into the warm skillet and immediately break the yolks with the spatula. Continually move the eggs in the pan with the spatula to scramble. If I am eating toast with my eggs, I will have put the toast down before I started the eggs.
I enjoy fluffy yellow eggs on their own so if I am including a vegetable, I do it on the side. I would drop some baby spinach right into that warm pan after I slid the scrambled eggs out. Or, I would have put some broccoli in the microwave, before I started the eggs. A great feature of eggs is they will take to many seasonings including curry powder, chili powder, or smoked paprika, for example. Be cautious at first, you can always add more seasoning. It is impossible to remove it. A dash of salt is essential.
Then, don’t be afraid, next time, to try sunny side up or over easy eggs. Don’t panic if they break; they can become perfectly tasty scrambled eggs! As before, heat the skillet with the slight bit of butter or margarine but this time, use medium low heat. Again, have your spatula handy. Crack your eggs into the heated pan firmly enough so you get a firm break all the way through the shell but not so forceful that you shatter the yolk. As the whites begin to cook, you want to very slightly tilt the skillet to move the uncooked whites to the edges (edges will be cooking quicker than the interior). You can use your spatula to lift the cooked white while tipping the pan to let the liquid white. A sunny up egg will have a loose yolk but I enjoy it for my toast or potatoes. An over easy egg will firm up the yolk just slightly. Using your plastic turner, flip each egg in the pan after the whites have set. Then, slide it onto your plate.
An 8 inch non-stick skillet will be plenty room for two or three eggs. The care of the pan is important not only to prolong the life of the pan but for the quality of your food. Most important is to not scratch the interior surface. Therefore, do not use metal utensils, ever. A rubber or wooden spatula should be used. Do not put a non-stick pan in the dishwasher. Wash it by hand with mild dish soap and avoid using abrasive scrub pads. When storing, if stacking it with other pots on your shelf, cover the non-stick surface with a layer of paper towel or a cloth kitchen towel to protect it.