Whether you like your eggs firm or runny, fried or poached, it isn't always easy to "decode" the breakfast menu at your favorite brunch spot. With so many ways to cook eggs, they have an ordering language all of their own. Here is an egg glossary so that you won’t be left speechless the next time a waitress asks how you’d like your eggs.
Hard Boiled—An egg cooked in boiling water with the shell intact.
Hard-boiled eggs are cooked through until both the whites and yolk have completely set.
Soft Boiled—An egg cooked in boiling water with the shell intact. Soft-boiled eggs are cooked only to the point at which the whites are set but the yolk is still liquid.
Poached—Eggs that have been removed from their shell and then cooked in a hot liquid. The cooking liquid can be water, broth, or any sauce. Poaching in water is often used as a way to cook eggs without having to use extra fat. Poaching in broth or sauce adds flavor to the cooked egg.
Eggs Benedict—An English muffin topped with ham or Canadian bacon, a poached egg, and hollandaise sauce. Twists on this traditional version may replace the ham with tomato, spinach, crab cakes, and even lobster.
Sunny Side Up—A fried egg that is never flipped or cooked yolk-side down. The whites cook until completely or partially set while the yolk remains liquid.
Over Easy—A fried egg that, after it is cooked on one side, is flipped and cooked yolk-side down only long enough to create a film over the top of the yolk, leaving the center of the yolk liquid.
Over Hard—A fried egg that is cooked on one side, then flipped and cooked yolk-side down until the yolk has completely cooked through.
(You can also order your eggs as "over medium" if you'd like it somewhere in the middle.)
Scrambled—Raw egg whites and yolks are beaten together and then added to a skillet. Sometimes milk, cream, sour cream, or cream cheese is added. The beaten egg mixture is gently mixed as it sets to create a curdled texture. Most of the time the eggs turn out firm and occasionally dry; soft-scrambled eggs will result in a creamier finish.
Omelet (Omelette)—Eggs that have been beaten and then cooked quickly in a frying pan. Omelets are often folded over a filling of cheese, vegetables, meat, or a combination of ingredients. Most restaurants will also offer an egg white omelet where only the egg whites are incorporated.
Frittata—Eggs that have been beaten along with ingredients such as cheese, vegetables, and meat; the mixture is then cooked slowly over a low heat and either flipped or placed under the broiler to brown the other side.
Shirred or Baked—Eggs that have been baked in a ramekin (sometimes with butter, cream or other sauces) until the whites have set but the yolk is still liquid.