One of my all-time favorite movies is Moonstruck. Whenever I need a lift, I re-watch it and it never fails to delight me. There is a scene where the Olympia Dukakis character is making breakfast for the Cher character and it always looks so delicious to me. It’s what I call “egg in the bread” and it looks as if she serves it with roasted red peppers. For Matthew and Frances’ final breakfast before they had to leave, I made this old favorite. It’s very versatile and you could easily make a vegetarian version (which I often do) with either roasted red peppers or plum tomatoes or spinach lightly sautéed in garlic and olive oil. You could serve it with warmed ratatouille or sautéed zucchini or mushrooms. Let your imagination (and what’s in your fridge) guide you. What follows is more of a method than a strict recipe, but give it a try. I think you’ll like it.
Egg in the Bread
1-2 thickly-cut slice(s) of Italian, whole grain or sourdough bread for each serving
1 large egg per slice of bread
Unsalted butter and EVOO for the pan
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
Herbs of choice (optional)
1 thin slice of Black Forest ham or smoked turkey (optional)
About 1 generous teaspoon freshly grated cheese of choice (Asiago, Pecorino with truffles, a good sharp cheddar etc.)
- Heat enough unsalted butter and EVOO in a heavy-duty skillet with a lid (cast iron is best) to cover the bottom of the pan. I would say about 1 Tablespoon of each for 2 slices of bread.
- While the butter and EVOO are melting, use a cookie cutter or sharp knife to cut a circle out of the center of the bread that will hold the egg. Save the cut-out piece. You will use it.
- When the butter/EVOO is sizzling, add the bread slices, including the circle that you cut out. Cook on medium high heat until desired brown. When the first side is the color brown you like, turn over the slices. Make sure you have enough butter/EVOO in the pan so the bread and egg won’t stick. Add more if needed. As soon as you turn over the bread, crack the egg into the hole that you created. It will sit directly on the pan. Don’t worry if some seeps under the bread.
- Add a sprinkling of Kosher salt, any herbs if used, the cracked black pepper and the grated cheese. Cover with the lid. Check in about 3 minutes to see if the white of the egg is almost entirely cooked, but the yolk is still soft. If using the ham or smoked turkey or vegetables, add them to the pan now. If using vegetables, I generally am starting with vegetables that have already been cooked and I am simply reheating them. Cover with the lid and cook for about 2 more minutes.
- Using a thin spatula, arrange on a plate and enjoy.