This tip on how to cook perfect sunny-side eggs comes from John Besh, the Louisiana-based chef known for his celebration of the food of New Orleans. It's a slow method and very much about creating the creamiest egg whites possible. No caramelization, no super crispy lacy edges — this is about a custardy set white around a shimmering, gooey yolk. What this method requires in patience it makes up for in results because it will give you the silkiest, creamiest sunny-side-up egg. Here's how to do it.
A Cold Pan and a Bit of Patience
I've only used this trick to make a single egg a time. I'm sure it would work well with a larger pan and a few eggs, but in this case we'll talk about it terms of one egg. So with that said, you're going to need the smallest cast iron pan you have. If that's a nine-inch, so be it.
Now butter the pan. Yes, butter the cold pan pretty liberally so you can see traces of butter on the bottom and up the sides. Crack the egg into the pan and set it over medium-low heat. Now you wait. The point is to cook the egg whites and the egg yolk at the same time, without browning the egg whites. You have to sort of linger over the pan, turning down the heat a bit if you even so much as sense it beginning to fry.
Once the whites are fully opaque, salt the egg yolk and give it a nudge with a fingertip. It should still feel slightly chilled. That's when you remove the pan from the heat and let it finish cooking in the residual heat of the pan for a minute or two more. By then, when you touch the yolk it should be warm and just set. The egg will slide right of the pan and you and your patience will enjoy the perfection of the ideal sunny-side-up egg.