Some might say there is no such thing as “too much butter,” and if they did say that, they would be correct. But thanks to the fat-phobic society we live in, “too much butter” exists as a concept, causing even the most diehard butter fans to, at some point, wonder “is that too much?” after adding a glob of butter to a frying pan or smearing a thick layer on a piece of toast.
That amount—the amount that gives you pause—is exactly the amount of butter you should be using to frying your eggs. When I recently fried two eggs in a smallish nonstick pan, that ended up being just over three tablespoons of butter—enough to completely cover the bottom of the pan and spill onto the whites of the eggs once I cracked them in there. This amount of butter creates a foamy, salty bath for your eggs to fry in, allowing you to splash hot, sizzling butter onto the uncooked whites so they finish cooking before your yolk starts to solidify. Unlike olive oil, butter browns, but that’s okay; nutty browned butter is really delicious with fried eggs and toast.
Cooking eggs this way also streamlines your breakfast prep. Rather than scooping your eggs out of olive oil or grease (two other fine egg cooking-fats) and transferring them to buttered toast, simply pour the contents of the pan (i.e., fried eggs and several tablespoons of melted or browned butter) onto a couple of pieces of toasted bread. It’s particularly helpful if you don’t have any softened butter around (though we have a workaround for that as well).
So, to recap: Melt at least three tablespoons of salted butter in a pan over medium-high heat until it is nice and foamy (get some bread toasting while the butter melts), then crack a couple of eggs in there. Spoon or splash the hot and foaming butter over the whites until they are set, then slide the eggs onto the toast along with the melted butter (which will soak into the bread). It’s actually very reasonable, and not at all excessive. I might go so far as to call it “elegant,” if I had a good grasp on elegance as a concept.