Stumbling across an exciting new way to eat eggs can be the difference between making time for breakfast and skipping it entirely. I’ve gone through several egg phases in the last few years: easy poached eggs had a good run until I discovered cornstarch eggs, which were recently unseated by hard-boiled eggs with a twist. Melissa Clark told me to put butter on my eggs and she was right.
I know what you’re thinking: “Ew.” But we put butter in and around our eggs all the time; after all, Hollandaise sauce is basically an excuse to drench poached eggs in melted butter. Skipping the usual middlemen—toast, English muffins, well-buttered skillets—and buttering your eggs directly is just a shortcut. It’s completely logical, really.
Buttered eggs are more than a logical shortcut. They completely transcend their description, though it’s not immediately clear how. What makes this tiniest of hacks so life-changingly effective? Is it just that butter and egg yolks taste incredible together? After some thought (haters will say too much), I’ve decided that the magic lies in butter’s ability to upgrade a breakfast of convenience. Boiled eggs start to feel pretty ho-hum after awhile, especially if you eat them most mornings—but even the smallest knob of butter is completely transformative. Suddenly, my go-to protein-rich breakfast has become a treat; something I actively look forward to. I eat buttered eggs every morning now, and I’ve never felt more powerful.
Here’s my usual procedure: Bring a pot of water to an absolutely raging boil, gently drop in the eggs, and cook for 8 1/2 minutes. (This gives me yolks that are about 90% set and 10% jammy, which I’m all about right now.) Cut peeled eggs in half and smear with a little bit of butter; sprinkle with crunchy salt, crushed red pepper flakes, and Frank’s Red Hot. Consume immediately.
There’s no wrong way to butter an egg, but I’ve discovered that a little temperature contrast goes a long way. If you eat your eggs hot, fridge-cold butter will soften perfectly without turning into a total puddle; if you boil them in bulk and keep them in the fridge, room temperature butter works best. Other than that, the toppings can be anything you want them to be, from plain old salt and pepper to everything bagel seasoning. My boyfriend likes his with furikake, and we’ve both been extremely into buttered eggs with the zhoug from Trader Joe’s. I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of buttered eggs with Frank’s, but on the off-chance I do, my new favorite topping is is probably already in my pantry.
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