There is an art to making the perfect runny egg. The white needs to be fully cooked but the yolk must be carefully preserved in its runny, warm state. The problem with flipping a fried egg is that it's very easy to break the yolk, so the steam-fried egg is the perfect solution.
My mom used to make everyone in the family runny eggs on weekends. I, like my father and his father, have never been a compartmental eater; when my siblings were eating their pancakes and eggs on separate plates, I poked my yolks so that they would mix with the syrup and be sopped up by the spongy pancakes. I am firmly on the side that there is no point in having a runny egg if you don't have something to soak up the yolk.
I like my eggs on top of crusty bread, waffles, pot roast, or like today, over roasted vegetables.
I want to share my technique for a steam-fried egg. It may not be earth-shattering, but it can definitely save you from the time-consuming, pot-stirring involved in poaching an egg.
The Perfect Steam-Fried Egg
Step 1: Butter the Pan.
A small,non-stick saute pan over medium heat works best. Allow the butter to melt completely before step 2.
Step 2: Crack in 2 eggs.
If your eggs are especially fresh, the yolks will be firmer and less likely to break.
Step 3: Allow the whites to cook.
This may take a minute or two. You will know you are ready to move to step 4 when the whites begin to slightly bubble under neath.
Step 4: Add 2 tablespoons of room-temp tap water and cover.
This is where the steaming comes into play. If the pan doesn't sizzle immediately when you add the water, it's not hot enough. It will take between 1 and 2 minutes for the whites to complete cooking and the top of the yokes to barely firm up. When you remove the lid, there should be very little water remaining.
Step 5: Uncover and check for doneness.
You should be able to touch the yolk lightly with your finger without it breaking, but there should be considerable give and "jiggle" to the yolk. If you over-cook, give these to your spouse/friend/roommate and make yourself a new pair. Tim, being a compartmental eater, has endured his fair share of over-medium eggs and thankfully loves me regardless. He knows how I feel about eggs.
Step 6: Prepare your plate.
I roasted some red peppers, onions, potatoes, and cauliflower tossed in olive oil, salt, and pepper at 400 degrees F for 40 minutes.
Step 8: Eat.
Step 9: You're welcome.