Brown Butter Is Key To Andrew Zimmern's Decadent Fried Eggs

Whether sunny side up, over-easy, or over-medium, there are a number of techniques when it comes to making the best fried eggs, from the method of cooking them, to how to flip eggs to stop broken yolks. If your favorite bit of a fried egg is the crispy edges, then chef and TV personality Andrew Zimmern has a trick for that, too. His top tip is to fry the eggs in brown butter.

Brown butter, which is simply regular butter that has been cooked until the milk solids darken, is much loved by many chefs for its depth of flavor. Known by the French as beurre noisette, it has a warm, nutty aroma, and a rich, caramelized taste that pairs beautifully with a number of dishes, from poached fish or pasta to mashed potatoes.

While beurre noisette sounds fancy, it's actually incredibly easy to make brown butter at home. And when used to cook eggs, in particular, the brown butter not only adds flavor but also texture, giving the eggs a soft center that becomes crisp around the outside.

Use brown butter to give fried eggs extra crispy edges

For Andrew Zimmern's fried egg recipe, which the chef shared on Instagram, the key to those "wonderful crispy edges" is to hard sear the eggs in browned butter. As the eggs sizzle in the toasty fat, the outsides take on a crisp, almost lacy texture — while the yolks remain soft, hot, and delicious.

To make the brown butter for fried eggs, melt a tablespoon of unsalted butter in a hot cast iron skillet. Break in two eggs, and let them cook quickly in the foaming butter, which will begin to turn brown. Without moving the eggs, fry them until cooked to your liking and the edges are crisp, seasoning with salt, pepper, and herbs if desired.

But if you want to make brown butter in larger quantities, or prepare a batch in advance, then that's easy enough, too. To make around ¾ cup, it's just a case of melting a couple of sticks of butter in a pan over medium heat and swirling it until the butter becomes browned but not burnt — which can happen very quickly, so keep an eye on it. Remove it from the heat and pour it into a heatproof bowl as soon as it's ready, so it doesn't carry on cooking. The brown butter can even be frozen, once cooled, in ice cube trays, so you always have a portion to use straight from the freezer, whenever the craving strikes.

More ways to elevate eggs using brown butter

If fried eggs with crispy edges aren't for you, then there are plenty of ways that nutty brown butter can be incorporated into other egg dishes, imparting a luxurious taste and texture. Softly scrambling eggs in brown butter rather than regular butter or oil adds heaps of flavor for a decadent breakfast or brunch.

Omelets are another egg dish that can be taken to the next level by using brown butter. The nutty flavor pairs especially well with earthy mushrooms, which can be fried in the brown butter before adding the whisked eggs, or try adding cheddar or Parmesan cheese for extra gooey richness.

If poached eggs are your favorite, why not try using brown butter to make an ultra-rich hollandaise sauce to create tasty eggs Benedict? Whisk egg yolks and white wine vinegar in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, and slowly pour in the brown butter, whisking constantly, for a heavenly sauce to pour over your poached eggs, bacon, and toasted English muffins. Simple and versatile, however you like your eggs, brown butter can help make them even better.