Penne for your Thoughts: Feeling Eggstitential Anguish

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MATT LOWRIE // THE FLAT HAT

FOUR ‘EGG’STRAVAGANT STRATEGIES TO AVOID RUSHED BREAKFAST SCRAMBLES, HATCH DELICIOUS MEALS

What came first, the chicken or the egg? I don’t care because we’re talking about cooking eggs and not chicken. The art of cooking delicious eggs is an intimate and accessible experience for anyone willing to spend the time to get it right. Sure, you can go ahead and throw an egg in a hot pan with a little bit of shell and salt and call it fried. While you crunch through your rubbery egg and think, “Wow I’m so independent. Life will be easy, and I don’t need to learn anything else,” you see that a food porn account you follow on Instagram posted a photo of a runny yolk cascading over avocado toast and suddenly feel self-conscious about your single, sad, burnt mess. “Why doesn’t my egg look like that? I did everything right. I put the pan on the stove and the egg in the pan…so what’s the difference?” you think to yourself. So much is different. Take my hand and let’s take a journey through Eggland together. The best wisdom I can impart upon you before our four-dish journey is this: be creative and be patient.

MATT LOWRIE // THE FLAT HAT
  1. The Scrambled Boy

Before you even think about scrambled eggs, I want you to recite this mantra out loud 10 times: low and slow. Scrambled eggs should not be done diner-style where they’re all dry and chewy. In their best form, scrambled eggs are fluffy, light, fatty, salty and maybe even cheesy. First, get your eggs. I usually use two eggs for one person, but if you’re on a budget one large egg works fine. While you’re preparing the eggs, you should have a pan heating up on the stove. Make sure the heat is set to low — remember, low and slow — and that you’ve put a touch of oil and a little slice of butter in the pan. The oil will keep the butter from burning and the butter gives the eggs flavor. Butter is your best friend, so treat him well and he’ll take you to Flavortown. Always crack your eggs into a bowl first, not the pan. This is to make sure there’s no shell and so that you can mix it all together. Add some salt, pepper or whatever herbs and spices you like. If you want to get creative, experiment with different spices or even different oils — basil oil adds a lovely flavor that you can pair with roasted tomatoes. Whatever you do, don’t put sugar in your eggs. Don’t do that. Don’t. This is a savory dish, not a cake. Whip those bad boys up with a fork. You want the yolk and the whites homogenized as much as possible. Once your pan is heated up — I recommend a non-stick pan (even the ones you buy on TV are pretty good) — pour the eggs in. Don’t touch them for a little bit until you notice the bottom is starting to get somewhat solid. Using a rubber spatula, make long strokes through the eggs for long scrambled strands. Once they’re cooked to your liking — I like them somewhat soft — take them off the stove and put them directly into your mouth.

MATT LOWRIE // THE FLAT HAT
  1. Fried

Slap a bunch of oil or butter into that fancy non-stick pan you have and crank that heat up. We’re frying an egg and there’s nothing you can do about it. Strap in. You want the pan hot so the oil gets hot, so your egg gets fried, so you can eat it, so you can get on with your day, so you can repeat this whole nightmare tomorrow and wonder why every day is blending into the last, and ultimately wonder if you should just go ahead and shave your entire body just to add a little spice to your life. Crack your egg into a bowl, but do not mix it up. You’re not some peasant making scrambled eggs — this is a masterclass in lipid-powered induction cooking. Slip that fowl’s ovum into the pan and listen to that glorious sizzle. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on top — or don’t, I don’t care. For a runny yolk and a fried bottom, I put a lid on the pan so the top of the egg cooks as well as the bottom. You can also flip the egg, but that involves more work. Gross. Once it looks done it should be done. Take it out of the pan using a spatula.

MATT LOWRIE // THE FLAT HAT
  1. Soft boiled

A soft-boiled egg is a poor man’s poached egg and a rushed man’s hard-boiled egg. Put a whole, uncracked egg into boiling water for 6 minutes. Take it out and put it into an ice bath to stop the cooking. That’s it. Peel and eat like a shrimp.

MATT LOWRIE // THE FLAT HAT
  1. Poached

Boil some water, put some salt in there, and let’s get crackin’. Once the water is boiling, take a stirring utensil and stir the water into a whirlpool. Crack your egg into the center of the vortex and watch it whiten up. After a few minutes take it out with a slotted spoon and put it on that avocado toast you saw earlier. If you can afford it, that is. Ya know, the economy and stuff.

Now that you’ve mastered the ways of the egg, feel free to play around and find what you like. Some sinners enjoy an overcooked fried egg with a hard yolk, though normal people do not. Your next step is to open a greasy spoon diner and name it something appetizing yet mildly upsetting. No puns. This is a business, not a Pinterest board. Go make some eggs and get on with your day. It’s not that deep.

Egg Assistance provided by Ethan Brown.