Let's agree on some things: breakfast is the absolute best. Eggs are an integral part of breakfast. Ergo, topping any plate with a poached or fried egg makes it Instant Breakfast. Don't believe me? Take that leftover pasta out of your fridge, heat it up, throw on an egg so runny it could win a marathon, and tell me that doesn't taste like some Instagram-worthy feast.
I'm not alone in this passion for the Runny Egg. Eggs are having their moment and are so beloved that they have their own hashtag (#putaneggonit). But why are they so popular? I mean, when I stop and think about it (usually I try not to) partially cooked egg yolk is just a slightly funky-tasting goop.
Unlike middle school popularity, there is a scientific explanation for a runny egg's cultish following, according to a recent video from Cook's Science. A yolk is half water and about one-third fat. Did your lizard brain just perk up at the F-word? Fat gets even better when nicely and thoroughly intermixed with water — this is called an emulsion. You know what else is an emulsion? Butter. And mayo and cream. You get my point.
Science is rad! Cooking is magic!
However, there is one thing standing in the way of breakfast all day, every day. Eggs are finicky and cooking them to perfection is kinda hard because the white and the yolk cook at different temperatures. More often than not, I tell myself, These look like they need just one more minute, and then wham! my fried eggs are crunchy little rocks, and my plans to crown toast, hashbrowns, or ratatouille with a runny egg have been dashed.
But as with most of our problems, science has a solution. Dan Souza and Molly Birnbaum of Cook's Science and America's Test Kitchen decided to take the egg whites out of the mix and just cook the yolks to make the perfect "runny egg sauce." They whisked them with some salt, poured them into a plastic baggie, and dunked the baggie in 149-degree-Fahrenheit water in an immersion circulator (aka sous vide) for 32 minutes. Egg yolks pasteurize at 144 degrees Fahrenheit after six minutes, and the extra time ensures the perfect saucy texture. The sauce can be made sans-sous vide as well, according to the recipe, and kept in the fridge for up to a week.
The end result is a quasi-pornographic video montage of golden, runny egg sauce oozing into a plastic squeeze bottle and then being drizzled to a jubilant disco beat onto toast, burgers, pasta, pizza, ramen, you name it.
Top anything with perfectly cooked runny egg... from a bottle
It's mesmerizing, and my lizard brain is so, so on board. Pow! Science is rad! Cooking is magic! Time to watch cooking vids all day and buy a sous vide online and muck about in the kitchen! That part of me wants a bottle of runny egg sauce in my fridge, because why not? And that part of me snarkily bets that by next year every brunch spot worth its salt will offer runny egg sauce, because trendy suckers (me) might pay like $5 extra for it rather than just getting a side of poached eggs.
But another part of me says, Whoa, pump the brakes. A squeeze bottle of egg goop? Isn't that a little horrifying? Have you actually imagined pulling a cold bottle of that out of your fridge, and "drizzling" it on something? You know it won't look like the video. Plus, the bottle will probably make that weird farting sound. Just stick with your frying pan... for now.