Kitchen DIY: Fried Eggs

I know you’ll think I’ve really flipped out over this one, but I was reading MFK Fisher’s hilarious essay ‘How Not To Cook An Egg’ (in Love in a dish and other pieces) and it occurred to me that I had never fried an egg. I remember my dad making them occasionally for breakfast when I was a child, but I’ve never been that keen on eggy dishes. In fact, I never really fancied them at all until I was pregnant and eating a runny egg yolk was seen as akin to shooting up in the toilets.

Fisher’s piece on eggs is a wonderful piece of writing, with all sorts of historical fact (and fiction) and useful information – such as the method for ‘frying’ an egg that I’ll detail below. But above all I love it because it begins with this line:

Probably one of the most private things in the world is an egg until it is broken.

Fried Eggs a la MFK Fisher
Fisher says that a biochemist once told her that every minute an egg is cooked makes it take three hours longer to digest. Whether this is true or not, it makes sense to me for eggs to be as lightly cooked as possible. Don’t make me tell you about the powdery, sulphur-laden boiled eggs of boarding school lunches, I couldn’t stand to relive them.
Fisher calls this method “a compromise” – I call it quick and foolproof.

The freshest, most free-range eggs you can get, at room temperature
Olive oil

Heat a shallow, heavy pan and drop in a knob of butter and a drop of oil. Heat until it is sizzling, then break in an egg or two. Clamp a lid on tightly, turn off the heat and leave for three minutes. When the time is up, slip the egg(s) onto a slice of freshly made toast. The eggs will be “tender and firm and very good”.

How do you fry eggs?

Kitchen DIY: Make your own mayonnaise

Given that I live with a mayonnaise denier and a toddler who shouldn’t be eating raw egg (if you believe the books of childrearing doom), I don’t go in much for making it. We don’t even have the bought stuff in the fridge. But the other night I was suddenly possessed by the need to whip some up. (These odd compulsions often strike when I have a lot of other, more important things to do. Does that happen to you?)

Easy Homemade Mayonnaise

DIY Mayonnaise
Really, this is so easy. I made it in less than five minutes – by hand – while supervising the Small Girl “doing some cooking”. Then I shredded a celeriac in the food processor and made a sort of remoulade by adding a little more mustard and lemon juice to thin the mayo down a bit. Both the mayo denier and our daughter wolfed it down. What they don’t know won’t hurt them, etc…

1 free range egg yolk
1/2 clove garlic
good pinch of salt
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1tsp white wine vinegar
pinch of sugar
150ml oil (half olive, half vegetable oil), in a jug
more salt, pepper, lemon juice

Crush the garlic with the salt in a mortar and pestle or with the flat side of a knife until it forms a paste. Scrape this into a small bowl and add the egg yolk, mustard, vinegar and sugar.
Whisk together (I use a miniature whisk to add to the fun). Continue whisking with one hand while adding drops of oil from the jug with the other. Increase the drops to a thin, steady stream – don’t go too fast – and continue whisking until you have a thick, glossy, mixture. Voila – c’est mayonnaise!
Add more salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. Use immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to two days, if it lasts that long.