Cooking a simple egg should be easy, yet there are countless variations on how to do it just right.
Some say you should keep your pan on a high sizzle, while others maintain only low, even heat will do. Some love them runny. Others demand they be cooked through.
What's the perfect way to cook an egg? We asked chefs for their advice.
"Usually, people leave it in the pan over the heat too long. Get your butter – or I use olive oil – hot. Crack your egg in, and once it's in the pan, wait 10 seconds. Take it off the heat. Let it sit for two and a half minutes in the pan, and the residual heat will cook it through.
"The result is not crispy on the bottom. It's cooked just right.
"This is the way I do it at home. But that's the one thing about eggs, and that's why cooking brunch sucks: Everyone's got their own special way."
– Chef Derek Dammann of DNA restaurant, Montreal
"Start with a pan, tempered by heat, at medium-low. Get lots of butter in there, and you just slowly stir with a spatula until the albumen [egg white]note>// starts to coagulate. Keep stirring and keep folding it and folding it and eventually, you're going to have a fluffy egg.
"It's very important, though, that when you make scrambled eggs, you mix it, but not too hard. You don't want to work the proteins too much. And only season when you're actually cooking it. Otherwise, it starts to break down the liquids.
"When I think of scrambled eggs, I think of fluffy peaks, stuff that kind of just pillows on the plate."
– Chef Aaron Joseph Bear Robe of Keriwa Café, Toronto
"Separate the yolks from the whites, and season with just a bit of salt and some walnut oil. Put the yolks all together in a bag. Vacuum seal it and put it into a circulating water bath at 65 C.
"About an hour and a half later, we take it out and chill it down in an ice bath. Then we strain the egg yolks through a fine strainer, and you get this really supersmooth, rich, semi-dense egg yolk that we put in squeeze bottles, so you can make ribbons on the plate, or dot them. It's something that we use in tartare dishes, for example.
"[The cooking technique]gives the yolk just an amazing texture that is unachievable any other way. It's not liquid and it's not cooked. It's kind of in-between."
– Chef Marc Lepine of Atelier restaurant, Ottawa
"I would just put the egg in a pot of water, bring it to a soft, rolling boil and wait three and a half minutes. Remove it from the heat, and you're pretty much good to go. Just rinse it under cold water for a little bit to stop the cooking.
"This is a childhood thing for me. This goes back to my mother serving strips of toasted rye bread with lots of butter, and knocking off the top of the egg and having it sit in my favourite egg holder that my brother and I used to fight over."
– Chef Joël Watanabe of Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie, Vancouver
"Start with a nice, fresh egg, boiled to whatever degree you'd like. I like them to be just a little bit runny inside, not quite a hard boil. You're going to cool those down, peel them and set those to one side.
"The next component is a really good sausage meat. We season it with a harissa sauce, but a more traditional one would be seasoned with sage, thyme, nutmeg and mace.
"Take the egg, roll it in some flour, and then pack the sausage meat onto that, so you totally encase it. Then dip it into flour again, then into an egg wash and then into breadcrumbs. Do that twice, so you get a nice coating of breadcrumbs. Then it's deep-fried (about three to four minutes). Take those out and you get deliciousness."
– Chef Andrew Carter of the Queen and Beaver Public House, Toronto
These interviews have been condensed and edited