Image adapted from whitneyinchicago, Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0

You’ve had them poached, fried, scrambled, and baked, but have you had your eggs basted? This unusual preparation isn’t common here in the U.S., and many cafes don’t even offer their eggs in this style. Yet basted eggs are a beautiful thing: it’s like having your eggs sunny-side up but still a bit cooked on the top. Here’s how to do it.

The idea of basting eggs is like basting a turkey or a chicken. You’re taking liquid that the food is cooking in and basting it over the food as it cooks. This helps to cook the surface of the eggs without having to flip them over in the pan—so they remain sunny-side up, but the top of the yolk will cook a bit through and not be completely runny (a turn-off to many diners).

Classically speaking, you’d baste your eggs with the same fat they’re cooking in (butter or oil). You’ll fry them gently in a healthy amount of fat, and baste the tops of them with some of the fat as they cook. Continue basting the tops of the eggs until the whites are set and the yolks are still just a bit runny, then serve. Rachelraymag.com has a light lentil salad recipe that shows this method of basting eggs.

Another way to prepare basted eggs—not classical technique but easier and a bit leaner—is to simply cover them as they cook. The steam that’s produced inside the pan as it’s covered provides the “basting” liquid to help cook the eggs through. You can even add a tablespoon or two of water to the pan before you cover it, as the extra liquid will increase the steaming process. To see an example of this technique, visit Food Network for their potatoes and basted egg recipe.

Whether you baste your eggs with fat or cover them to steam as they cook, the basted egg is a fun technique to try out at home. It’s as simple as making any old fried egg but has the sophistication of a poached egg.

Let us know if you’ve had basted eggs before, and how they were prepared.

Image adapted from whitneyinchicago, Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0