Kitchn Love Letters

Julia Turshen Taught Me the Secret to Perfect Fried Eggs

published Feb 26, 2020
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Credit: Jesse Szewczyk

We’ve talked about the magic of eggs fried in olive oil before, but I recently discovered the combination of hot, crispy fried eggs and cold, creamy Greek yogurt, and it blew my mind. I’ve had the two items for breakfast many times before, but never together. I always considered yogurt and eggs mutually exclusive breakfast items.

After a bit of research I found that the combination off eggs is actually not that unusual, depending on where you live. There’s a traditional Turkish dish called cilbir consists of poached eggs served over garlicky yogurt. But while I love a good poached egg, they’re a bit tricky to pull off on a weekday (though some methods are easier than others).

That’s why I’m so obsessed with the recipe that turned me on to this magical breakfast. It comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, which I’ve been turning to over and over lately — Small Victories by Julia Turshen — and it uses fried eggs in place of poached eggs. Turshen’s version is the perfect weekday alternative to the classic Turkish dish.

But it’s not just the combination of hot fried eggs and cold Greek yogurt that makes this recipe so special; it’s the way Turshen fries her eggs that really makes this recipe unique.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

The Secret to Perfect Fried Eggs Is Water

Turshen’s recipe instructs you to heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and crack your eggs directly into it. After that, you add a few drops of water directly into the skillet (not on top of the eggs) to create a bit of steam. Place a lid on top to trap the steam, then let them cook. This helps steam the tops of the eggs so you end up with a perfectly runny yolk without any stringy, uncooked whites.

All it takes is one teaspoon (give or take) of water to create the steam, and you can even use a heat-proof plate as a cover if you don’t have a lid handy. The technique is called steam-basting, and it’s one of those clever tricks that can seriously upgrade your breakfast routine. It definitely taught me something new — so thank you, Julia!

Your turn: What’s your favorite way to make fried eggs? Tell us in the comments, below.