Methods of frying
When ordering eggs in North America, one is invariably asked "how would you like your eggs?" This often bewilders visitors from Britain or Ireland, where this terminology is rarely used. North Americans may choose between the following methods (and refer to the British and Irish method as 'Sunny side up'):
- 'Over hard', also called 'hard' — cooked on both sides until the yolk has solidified.
- 'Over medium' — cooked on both sides until the yolk is fairly thick but still a liquid.
- 'Over easy', also called 'runny' — cooked on both sides (not clear) but yolk is still liquid. This is occasionally called 'sunny side down.' These are also commonly referred to as 'dippy eggs' or 'dip eggs' by Marylanders and by Pennsylvania Dutch persons living in south central and south eastern Pennsylvania. Also called 'treasure eggs' in the southwest of Pennsylvania.
- 'Sunny side up' — cooked only on one side; yolk is liquid (the oil or fat may be used to baste the sunny side, however). This is often known simply as 'eggs up'
- Another style known simply as 'Fried' - eggs are fried on both sides with the yolks broken until set or hard. These are common in asian variations of western breakfast, as well as fried egg sandwiches.
Cover the bottom of a heavy sauté pan with a few tablespoons of some sort of fat (cooking oil, margarine, butter, bacon fat, etc.). While the oil is heating, use a drinking glass to ream a circle out of a slice of plain bread with a good crust. When the oil is hot, add the bread and lower the heat. In a minute, when the bread is browned, turn it over and break an egg into the center, and sprinkle with salt, fresh black pepper and dried herbs (optional). Cover the pan and cook until the white is just set.
In the United Kingdom and the American South and other portions of the English-speaking world, this concoction is often known as "eggs in a hole" or "toad in the hole", not to be confused with the sausage and Yorkshire pudding dish of the same name. In Australia it is sometimes known as a "square egg". It is often a breakfast favorite among children. In New Jersey and South Philadelphia, this may be known simply as " Alabama eggs" or "Alabama-Style Eggs". This style is also referred to as a "nest egg", "nested egg" or "egg in the hat". Another variation is to stack two slices of bread and then cut a square out of the center of both and drop two eggs in, cooking thoroughly.
Sebastian Faulks in his book "On Green Dolphin Street" writes: "...plied her with eggs over easy, sunny side up..." (p. 125)
Other fried egg methods
The 1918 Fannie Farmer cookbook says that fried eggs should be cooked on one side and then have molten fat spooned over the tops.
A single sunny-side-up egg served over white rice is a popular side-dish eaten at lunch time in Mexico and other Latin American countries. It is also popular in east Asia, topped with a dab of oyster or hoisin sauce. In Spain, it is served with tomato sauce and called Arroz Cubana.
In Korea it is common to put a fried egg on top of a dish known a bibimbap (mountain vegetables over rice, usually with a spicy pepper sauce).
'Sunny side up' eggs have experienced a decline in popularity as fears of salmonella poisoning have become more prevalent. Some restaurants have added legal disclaimers to their menus, warning against eating undercooked eggs. (In some of the United States, such as Michigan, this disclaimer is required to be present for all restaurants serving eggs.)
The term "fried egg" may also refer to the ball landing in a sand bunker in golf, with at least half the ball under the level of the sand.