When I was a kid, my mom was the only one who made eggs the way I liked: fried hard and flat, the yolk thinned out and devoid of taste and texture, much to her chagrin.
Since then I’ve learned how to eat an egg properly, and lately I’ve become fascinated with cooking the perfect one. How could I not, with Instagram and Snapchat loaded with clips of scrollable, gooey yolk porn? If there were such a thing as “the year of the egg,” 2016 would be it.
“My first memory of cooking is eggs,” says Alvin Cailan, founder and chef of the famous LA-to-Vegas transplant, Eggslut. “Eggs [were] the one thing I knew I could do in my sleep.”
I begged Cailan to show me how to make the best eggs, three different ways, starting with Eggslut’s signature soft scramble, then the delectable sunny side up and finally the simple, standard over-easy.
At the Eggslut kitchen inside the Cosmopolitan, Cailan breaks out three pans—one deep and wok-shaped and two smaller. We start with the scramble—seven eggs poured into the large, cold pan, with two giant hunks of butter. Chef quickly stirs the egg-and-butter mixture before getting the pan to low heat. For the next seven minutes, he’ll painstakingly stir the mix as if making a luscious risotto. “The best eggs are made slowly,” he says. “This is definitely a way to win someone’s heart in the morning, for sure.”
As soon as he’s started his famous soft-scramble, he cracks an egg in a small pan. This will be sunny-side-up. The trick? Throw some oil in the pan and let the egg cook on low heat until all of the white is cooked. The egg sizzles to perfection while Cailan concentrates on the scramble, which is starting to thicken up nicely. As he continues meticulously stirring the egg mixture, the yellow liquid starts forming velvety sheets. He won’t season them until the last minute, and when he does, he’ll keep it simple: salt and chives, which “have a really great affinity for each other.” When the eggs start to really congeal, he removes them from the heat and transfers them to a cool pan, leaving them to thicken on their own. By this time our sunny-side-up is a deep amber. He cradles the egg on a spatula, lets the excess oil run off and voila! Our second egg is done.
Last is “a completely different beast.” Unlike the others, the over-easy gets done on high heat. Once it starts cooking, Chef gives it a wiggle to evenly distribute the heat. He gives it a quick flip after a minute on the burner, to cook the white over the yolk—for about 20 seconds—then flips it back. Our lesson is done.
Normally the eggs would be served on Eggslut’s fresh brioche buns, but today I taste them on their own. Each one is delectable, but the scramble is ridiculous—silky and smooth, almost cheesy in flavor. Hey mom, next time you’re over, the eggs are on me.