Cooking For One: The Perfect Fried Egg

DISH: Olive Oil Fried Egg with Portabello Mushroom Home Fries
MAIN INGREDIENT: Egg, Mushroom, Garlic

I grew up under the impression that plain, good old olive oil—the rich, golden green stuff—makes everything better. I’d watch my mom, queen of simple humpty dumpty fare, make herself a cup of frozen peas and then pour olive oil into the mug until it began to creep up the sides, enveloping the green morsels, and making more than several gentle glug glug noises from the gallon-sized bottle. Dishes like these were meant to be eaten with a spoon, the olive oil taking the place of chicken stock for a quick, healthy lunchtime soup of flash-frozen vegetables and monounsaturated fatty acids.

The concept of drinking oil might seem unhealthy to some. And while I don’t recommend squandering half of an expensive bottle on your vegetables, since I’m a quarter-lifer, have inherited my mother’s metabolism, and don’t yet have to experiment with Lipitor cocktails for my cholesterol, there is one item I still give her olive oil bath. Yes, the fried egg.

I don’t think there is anything more comforting than breakfast for dinner, especially a dinner composed of a perfect fried egg. If I could bottle warm, runny egg yolk and use it as a condiment, much like my mother does with EVOO, to douse my peas, sandwiches, and various comfort starches, I would, though my ascent to middle-life might be slightly less graceful as a result. Nonetheless, I haven’t found an apt substitute in the fat department for creating that perfect yellow goodness, while leaving the egg whites crispy with perfect golden-brown edges, than frying the egg using my mother’s method.

Her fried egg, doused (of course) in olive oil on the stove, has become my Cooking For One staple over the years, paired with whatever fresh, healthy vegetable I can feel least guilty about saturating in yolk and, if I’m feeling daring, a little bit of additional olive oil for good measure.

From my kitchen, where sometimes one ingredient can create perfection, to yours,



Olive Oil Fried Egg with Portabello Mushroom Home Fries
Makes 1 serving

my farmers’ market find


1 egg (or two)
1 portabello mushroom cap, sliced
1 clove garlic, sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp dried or fresh thyme, minced (optional)

In a small non-stick saute pan, heat 1/2 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Lay the portabello slices flat in the pan and cook until dark brown and crispy on both sides, adding any additional olive oil as needed to prevent them from burning. This will take about 5 minutes.

When the mushrooms have shrunk, and are browned, cooked through, and tender, add the thyme and red pepper flakes.

Push the mushrooms to one side, and add an additional teaspoon olive oil to the other side of the pan and fry the garlic until golden brown, less than a minute. Stir to combine and set the whole mixture aside on a serving plate.

Coat the pan in the remaining olive oil and allow it to get hot. Crack the egg in the pan and immediately rotate so the whites are evenly distributed. Allow egg to fry in the oil (beware, this may splatter). When the edges have begun to crisp up, but the top is still slightly under cooked, tilt the pan, and with a spoon, douse the top of the egg with the hot olive oil collecting in the corner. Once the whole egg is cooked and crispy, remove from the pan and serve along side the mushroom home fries.

Posted in: Single Serving
  • Jessie

    Ah, the fried egg, my favorite go to cooking for one meal. YUM!

  • Sara Bennett

    I recreated, as closely as I could, the fried soft-boiled egg I had at one of the Culinary Institute’s restaurants last week. At the restaurant, the egg was on top of a thinly-spread broccoli-based pesto and served with roasted cauliflower and broccoli. For our dinner last night, I skipped the pesto. The egg was not quite as delicious as at the CIA, although it does look very impressive. It’s a little too much work for a quick meal at home, but I can imagine making it again when I want to impress my guests. So, here’s the recipe:

    Soft-boil an egg (according to the chef at CIA, exactly 5 minutes 10 seconds). Immerse in cold water and peel. (This is the part I found so time consuming. You have to handle the egg really carefully or the yolk will spurt out. If you’re just peeling one or two, it’s not a big deal. I was making 6.)

    Have two bowls–one with a beaten egg and one with a mixture of Panko and ground nuts. I used pecans; the CIA used almonds. Coat the boiled egg, first in the egg, then in the breadcrumb mixture.


  • Phoebe and Cara, the Quarter-Life Cooks

    Sara: that sounds delicious—thanks for reporting back on making it! Maybe all the makes it a good Cooking For One dish, then, as long as you don’t mind impressing yourself…

    Jessie: soon we’ll try your egg on avocado combo, which sounds ridiculously good.

  • Jane

    Hi! I recently saw the Julie & Julia movie and then I found your marvelous blog!!!

    I just see this recipe and I think I'll try it to night for me and my boyfriend (who is the guinea pig who eats all my culinary experiments)

    Sorry if my english is bad!! Greetings from Nuevo León, Mexico!

  • patsy

    yum, nothing beats a portabello & egg addition is appetite perfection

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