There is something just so familiar about a plain fried egg. Less familiar is a precise method for doing it to specification, with confident control over the process. Here are the basic guidelines.
  1. Put some bread in the toaster.
  2. Place a heavy, good-quality pan over medium-low heat for about a minute.
    Cast-iron or stainless steel, for example (avoid nonstick coatings). Have a tight-fitting cover handy.
  3. Add a little butter and/or olive oil.
    When butter foams and/or olive oil slides, swirl to coat the pan. (And can be more than a little.)
  4. Crack each egg into a saucer.
    This is your insurance policy. If some shell gets in, you can remove it. If the yolk undesirably breaks, you can use the egg for something else.
  5. Slide the egg(s) into the pan.
    Make sure there is room for each egg to sit in its own spot without crowding.
  6. Sprinkle lightly w salt & pepper.
    Keep the heat medium-low.
  7. Sunny-side up
    (The yolk is set on the bottom but remains creamy. The white is firm and light golden on the bottom.) Cover the pan and cook 3-5 minutes.
  8. Over-easy
    (The yolk remains creamy but becomes covered by a cooked film of white.) Same as sunny-side up, gently flip and cook very briefly on second side. Slightly longer for over-medium.
  9. Steam-basted
    (Similar to over-easy, but turning is unnecessary.) Begin as you would sunny-side up, but when edges turn opaque (about 2 minutes in) add 1tsp water per egg, directly to the exposed surface of the pan. Quickly replace the cover to hold in the steam; cook till whites = set and yolks = thick but not hard (about 1.5 minutes longer).
  10. Serve right away!
    With the toast. And enjoy often because...egg goodness is indeed real.