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I recently discovered this video of Jaques Pepin frying a couple of eggs. I never really liked fried eggs before and I think this is because I'd been doing it wrong — with the heat too high. I've since been enjoying fried eggs quite a bit but I like the yolk slightly less runny. Usually where it's just a tad bit congealed but not hard.

I found a few places that outline the different names for fried eggs, which go something like this (from https://www.eggs.ca/eggs101/view/7/how-to-fry-the-perfect-egg):

  • Sunny side up: The egg is fried with the yolk up and is not flipped.
  • Over easy: The egg is flipped and the yolk is still runny.
  • Over medium: The egg is flipped and the yolk is only slightly runny.
  • Over well: The egg is flipped and the yolk is cooked hard.

The closest thing seems to be over medium but I'm not flipping the egg. So what would you call sunny side up with only slightly running yolk?

  • Well, according to the video you’ve linked it seems to me that the key is simply to use lots and lots of fat. That’s like 40g of butter just for two eggs. No wonder they taste great and have good heat distribution. – Michael Oct 13 at 6:36
  • Just "medium" without the "over". I've heard that in diners before. – Todd Wilcox Oct 13 at 7:22
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    Now read theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2012/nov/08/… . "flipping" isn't the only possible variant, and this "over easy" nomenclature isn't universal. – JdeBP Oct 13 at 7:30
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This would generally be known as a variant of "basted eggs".

The idea of basted eggs is to apply heat from the bottom (from the pan) without flipping, but additionally cook the tops with liquid. The two ways of doing this are (1) to spoon hot fat over the eggs, or (2) to add water and cover the pan to allow steam to cook the tops.

My normal method of frying eggs is similar to this one, but at lower heat and cooking for longer uncovered. If you get it right, the white ends up fully opaque while the yolk is still deep yellow.

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  • I like both answers but this one seems slightly more correct to me based on the couple links I just read which refer to "steam basted" eggs. – billynoah Oct 12 at 21:24
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    To Isabella Mary Beeton, what you describe is just plain EGGS, Fried: "whilst they are frying, ladle a little fat over them". Bregion and Miller similarly just called them simply fried eggs: "while they are frying, keep pouring some of the fat over them with a spoon". Delia Smith agrees. There isn't universal agreement across times and cultures, even just in English, on this being anything but the plain way of frying eggs. – JdeBP Oct 13 at 7:28
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    @JdeBP Yes, my answer reflects the most common terminology which is specific to the particular details of cooking mentioned by the OP, but usage differs between cultures and between individuals. – Sneftel Oct 13 at 7:48
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    I have my doubts that all of this "over easy" and such from the question even is the most common terminology, given that some attribute it to "Diner lingo", a North American slang, and most authorities list it as being from the U.S.. "Basting", perhaps, but many seem not to call out basting as some special distinctive technique of frying eggs separate from just frying them, as I said. They just call this "fried eggs". – JdeBP Oct 13 at 8:15
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    @JdeBP Haha, good point. If you're looking for a word for a specific thing, you shouldn't ask someone who doesn't draw a distinction between it and other related things. :-) – Sneftel Oct 13 at 10:15
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It's just a variant of a sunny side up eggs.

Have a look at the sunny side up description on the wikipedia page.

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    Interesting. I read a ton of definitions and they invariably assert that sunny side up has runny yolk. – billynoah Oct 12 at 18:36
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    What you call a certain way of cooking eggs seems to be heavily dependent on region. Here in the midwestern US, if (in the before-times when I went to restaurants) I ordered a sunny side up egg and received one with a firm yolk, I would be quite unpleasantly surprised – BThompson Oct 12 at 19:35
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    Thanks @BThompson - that's a very good point. Also you need to factor in the incompetence of many grill cooks :-) – billynoah Oct 12 at 21:25
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The technique shown in the video falls, more or less, under the general technique called Braising:

a combination-cooking method that uses both wet and dry heats: typically, the food is first sautéed or seared at a high temperature, then finished in a covered pot at a lower temperature while sitting in some (variable) amount of liquid (which may also add flavor).

Though Jacques has not added any liquid, in this situation that comes from the eggs themselves, which contain a lot of water. That turns into steam and creates the "wet heat" that poaches the tops of the eggs.

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  • He adds water around 1:47 – billynoah Oct 15 at 11:54

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