Spanish-Style Fried Eggs

By Ezra Klein

Like Ari Weinzweig, I love Spanish-style fried eggs. But his encomium is a bit quiet on the technique. Since this is something I’ve recently learned, however, I’m happy to share.

Take a small pan. Eight inches at the most. Heat a quarter cop of olive oil until it’s really freaking hot. Tilt the pan sharply upwards and — this is important — away from you, so the oil collects in a little pool at the opposite edge of the pan. Crack an egg into the oil bath (I usually pour it in from a small cup) and use a wooden spoon to nudge the whites atop the yolk. This won’t quite seem to work, but it helps the egg keep shape. Fry the egg with the pan tilted upwards. This fried egg will not look like past fried eggs. It will not be a flat crunch of white with a creamy mound of yolk. It will be an egg basket. An egg puff. An egg bassinet. It will grow and warp and bubble in ways that are actually a bit grotesque, but unbearable delicious.

Let the little guy fry for 30 or 40 seconds while basting the top with the oil. When it’s golden and puffy and delicious looking, but the yolk is still quite wet, transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat for as many eggs as you want to eat. I like to serve it atop well-salted rice and a spicy, thin tomato sauce (almost a salsa).

9 responses to “Spanish-Style Fried Eggs

  1. Sounds sort of like a higher-heat version of oil poaching. You get a similar result, but without the risk of horrifically burning yourself.

  2. Yeah– what the hell? “Sharply tilting” a small pan filled with 1/4 cup of boiling oil over a flame doesn’t strike me as the most prudent way to fry an egg.

  3. This sounds AMAZING

  4. This is how my family makes eggs, only they call them Italian oil basted eggs. They don’t do the pan tilting thing — I’d guess that’s only necessary if you’re trying to conserve oil. We have a dedicated egg pan always on the stove filled with olive oil that’s reused from day to day until it’s changed after about a week.

  5. I’m trying to imagine how it’s possible to do all that with one hand, while the other hand holds the pan aloft and doesn’t spill oil into the open flame.

  6. another southpaw

    “I’m trying to imagine how it’s possible to do all that with one hand,”

    it must be possible, on account of, i have heard recordings of oscar peterson play piano so perfectly with one hand, that i believe anything is possible.
    and if you can listen to old recordings of art tatum playing the “tiger rag,” you wouldnt believe he was playing that without four hands!
    with faith, talent and skill, all things are possible.
    and when you are cooking, you can even sprinkle in some mustard seeds:-)

  7. I’m with Becks on this one…people need to invest in a deep fryer. I really don’t understand why they are so unpopular when so much of the food eaten when not at home comes out of the fry-max.

  8. Don’t forget the part where (after cooking) you sprinkle salt on the yolk and dig into it with pieces of bread. Once the liquid yolk is gone you can eat the rest of the egg.

  9. It’s so bloody simple to fry eggs, why all the fuzz?
    I’m from Spain and we always say if you can’t even fry an egg you are just useless.
    We don’t tilt and shake the pan. We just pour quite a bit of oil, a bit more than just to cover the pan (and note most spanish people don’t actually fry eggs in olive oil but sunflower oil), you crack the egg and simply with a spoon or other cooking tool lift the hot oil and poor it all over the egg. Also I can see in every blog about spanish style eggs no one mentions to top the yolk with a tiny bit of sea salt before frying it.
    The egg white has crispy ends and the yolk should be liquid. We normally just dip chips in the yolk and eat the rest of the egg when there is no yolk left. These eggs are also yummy if you put them in a sandwich with some ham and cheese.

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