This is a breakfast favorite around my house, although we can’t seem to agree on what it’s called, since different people grow up calling it different things. I personally prefer “Egg-in-a-Basket,” mostly because the sound of the phrase “Toad-in-a-Hole” makes me think of “Toilet-Bowl,” which does not conjur any delicious epicurean visions for me. But who am I to judge? Maybe you call it something even different than that. Moon Over Miami? Birdie-in-the-Nest? Or how about Yarmulke-on-a-Jew’s-Head? Your choices are endless.
Anyway, this recipe is quick and easy, adds visual interest to a breakfast plate, goes with just about anything (or can stand alone), and we like to have it on weekends because it’s a lot quicker, tidier and less of a commitment than pancakes or traditional French toast. And it looks like you worked really hard. So go ahead. Impress your houseguests with those cunning spatula skills.
Begin by coating a skillet with nonstick cooking spray and placing over medium heat. Using circular biscuit cutter (or knife if you don’t have a circle cutter), cut a hole in the center of a piece of stale bread. (If using fresh bread, put in toaster for half a cycle to dry so the hole does not tear out of shape when cut.) A good way to determine the best size to make your hole is by
choosing a biscuit cutter that is just barely larger than a whole egg resting on its side (see photo). Most biscuit cutters come in sets, and you won’t necessarily always use the same one, since egg size as well as bread size can vary greatly. Save the hole centers that you have cut. A good set of biscuit cutters can be had for less than five bucks, and if you decide you want to make this a lot, might be a worthy investment. (I think I gave $3.49 for my set of three cutters.)
Butter bread and center hole on both sides thoroughly and sprinkle with salt/pepper if desired. Place slice of bread face down in skillet. Quickly crack an egg and drop contents into the center hole of the bread, being careful not to break yolk in the process.
When the egg white starts to whiten and thicken, carefully slide spatula all the way under bread slice, supporting the entire center without tearing the yolk. Flip as quickly as possible to avoid letting the uncooked portion of egg white from sliding onto the bread (Otherwise, you’ve just got some butt-ugly French toast with a big hole in the center!). Once the sizzling noise quiets a little and no more popping
is heard, lift the bread carefully out of the skillet. You want to allow the egg to cook at least to a medium-well yolk status or else the yolk will fall out of the bottom and make a huge mess as soon as someone lifts the piece of toast to eat it. Big mess, and not pretty at all. You deserve better props than that.
Place on a serving plate and allow to cool/set up for a minute or two. Meanwhile, throw the circular center piece of bread (already buttered) into the skillet and brown lightly on both sides. Remove with spatula, cover one side of center hole piece with jam, and place jam side up on top of the egg-filled hole in the center of the “basket” (bread slice). Garnish with orange wedges or fresh tomatoes if desired and serve immediately. If cooking for a large group, you can line the finished baskets along a cookie sheet and warm them in the oven as a group before serving.