There are all sorts of ways to fry an egg, ranging from over-easy to toad in the hole, and they are all relatively easy. If you have mastered one technique for frying an egg, you can probably handle all of the various ways in which you can fry an egg. In all cases, remember that patience is a virtue when it comes to cooking eggs. If you cook on medium heat, the egg will be far less likely to stick and burn, and you will find that you do not need to use that much oil, butter, or lard.
The easiest and perhaps most classic way to fry an egg is sunny side up. To fry an egg in this way, cooks simply break an egg into a warm, oiled pan, and cook it until it solidifies. The result is a bright yellow yolk in the midst of a halo of egg white. People may also call refer to eggs cooked in this way as “eggs up,” and the yolk of a sunny side up egg tends to be slightly runny.
For cooks who want to add a twist to the process, the egg can be flipped in the pan halfway through the cooking process. If the egg is cooked until the yolk solidifies, it is known as an “over hard egg,” while an egg with a runny yolk is said to be “over easy.” Over medium, as you might imagine, lies somewhere in the middle.
Advanced players can make toad in the hole, also known as egg or eggy in the basket. This type of fried egg is made by cutting a hole in a piece of bread, placing the bread into a warm oiled pan, and cracking an egg into the hole. As the egg cooks, it will solidify and fill the hole, infusing the bread with an eggy flavor, and the bread is usually flipped to ensure that both sides are thoroughly toasted.
Many people develop a preference for a particular way to fry an egg, which is why staff at diners will always ask how customers want their eggs. Some establishments, unfortunately, will not make runny eggs due to concerns about salmonella and other bacteria. The risk of salmonella in runny eggs varies, depending on the source of the egg. Chickens raised without antibiotics tend to produce safer eggs, as their bodies have not developed dangerous bacteria which could be present in their eggs, and free range chickens lead cleaner lifestyles which reduce the risk of fecal contamination of their eggs. Immunocompromised individuals should avoid runny eggs, no matter what their source, as they are more vulnerable to infection.