We’ve already covered the superiority of an olive-oil fried egg: its lacy edges, its golden-brown underside, its still-runny yolks. We eat it for breakfast, for lunch, for dinner, for a late-night snack after one too many beers. But fried eggs still risk a grave disappointment: those undercooked, still-clear whites that can gross out even the most enthusiastic egg eater. The surest way to avoid this, we’ve found, is basting: essentially spooning hot oil over the whites so they firm up quickly. It’s a technique used often in Spain.
Here’s how to do it: Crack your egg into a generous amount of hot oil, sprinkle on some salt and pepper, and watch it bubble and sputter. Once your whites have begun to set up, grab a large spoon in your dominant hand and the handle of your pan in the other. Gently (and carefully!) tilt the pan away from you so the oil pools, then spoon it over the whites of the egg. This move—similar to butter basting a pork chop or a chicken breast—ensures that your whites set up before that magical runny yolk turns chalky or the egg’s bottom burns. It also (bonus!) adds flavor, particularly if you’re using a high-quality oil. A little white might creep over your yolk, and don’t worry if it does. Just pull the egg once the whites are well set, and lay it on whatever fried egg vessel you have handy: toast, grains, or a mountain of roasted vegetables.