Aug 4, 2014

Breakfast Classic: Egg-in-a-Hole

For the last few months, I’ve have the privilege of writing for Food Riot, an irreverent food blog, thereby living out one of my secret dreams of being a food writer. Unfortunately, Food Riot has decided to close. Over the next several weeks, I will be reposting my Food Riot articles here for posterity’s sake. This week’s article originally appeared here on April 30, 2014. 

Food Riot Egg in a Hole

I recently found myself short on groceries. My usual strategy in these cases is to fry up a couple of eggs, but, horror of horrors, I was left with just one egg. One egg scrambled isn’t enough for a grown human. A one-egg omelette is adorable, but not a meal. One egg fried is okay, but I needed something more. Just as I descended into panic, I remembered egg-in-a-hole, the second recipe I ever learned.

My first recipe came from the Klutz Kids cookbook, the one that came with plastic measuring spoons, and which I got in my Easter basket around 1992 or so. My grandma said we could cook a recipe from it, so I flipped through to find the best one. Not only did Tuna Wiggle have the word “wiggle” in the title, but it included a tip about throwing noodles against a wall to see if they were done. Perfect. What six year old wouldn’t love a recipe that involved throwing things? We made the tuna casserole, threw the noodles, and never cooked that particular recipe ever again.

My second recipe, however, became a lifelong staple. This recipe, appetizingly named “egg-in-a-hole” has been my breakfast, lunch, and last-minute dinner salvation a thousand times. Egg-in-a-hole, also called eggies-in-a-basket or toad-in-a-hole or any number of other charming, British-sounding names, is an egg fried into a hole made in a piece of toast.

Couldn’t you just make a fried egg on toast? you ask. Nope. Frying the two together gives them both a buttery crust that you can’t get from toast-from-a-toaster.

To make egg-in-a-hole, you will need one piece of bread (preferably a soft multi-grain), one large egg, butter, and a small cup or cookie cutter for making a basket for your eggie. This needs to be smaller than you think: something 1-2 inches in diameter, no bigger. Basically, something that is only a little larger than the size of a egg yolk. You want it to be small enough that the egg fills up the hole in the bread, but you want the egg to fill up the space. You can use a juice cup or small jam jar. I have made a handy diagram to help you understand the construction of the delicacy.

Helpful Egg-in-a-Hole Diagram
Cut out your hole using your cup, but make sure you save the bread that became the hole–that little bread round is the best part. Melt butter into your favorite small frying pan, and gently drop your holey piece of bread into the the butter, being careful not to rip the bread. If you do, don’t worry. Just wiggle it closed and the egg will act like glue. Fry the bread for a few seconds to give it a head start.

Break the egg into the hole and fry. You’ll want to watch to make sure you’re not overcooking the egg, but still getting both sides of the bread browned appropriately. You can do it. I believe in you. When the egg is stable enough to flip, lift it out of the pan with a spatula and add more butter. More butter is always better. Flip the egg back into the pan and let it it finish cooking to your preferred level of doneness. Add salt. Top with the little fried round, or eat the little fried round while you’re waiting for the coffee to be done. Serve.I hope you haven’t eaten your bread round. I know it’s tempting to eat something so little and cute, but please imagine how much better it will be once it’s been fried in butter and salted. I know. Throw the round into the pan with your toast. Make sure it has sufficient butter. Fat is good for you now. There are studies.

If you have timed everything perfectly, you will have an over-easy egg yolk which can be sopped up with toast. If you have timed everything less-than-perfectly, you will still have a perfect, easy breakfast/lunch/dinner.


Egg-in-a-Hole IRL



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