S and I spent 3 cold, shivery days in Sweden together almost five years ago; I had been lonely and searching for purpose in Spain where I was teaching, and she had been adjusting to a return to school in a country where she didn’t speak the language. S’s life had, like mine, gone back to essentials: while I had been spending long afternoons in the kitchen cooking in northern Madrid, she’d been discovering what the cheapest and most nutritious methods for eating in Sweden would be – until she received a scholarship, she was eating food bought through exchanged US dollars, which resulted in high prices.
What she’d found, though, became one of my favorite breakfasts for the years to come. The ingredients were simple: a couple of pats of butter, two pieces of bread, two eggs, and the salt, pepper, or garlic that most suits you. Like a child’s breakfast, egg-in-a-basket provides a good melding of homey flavors but also is rather energetically rich: fats from the yolk and butter, whole grains if you buy whole wheat bread, and protein from the rest of the egg. It needs little butter, mostly there just to create a crusty rim around the eggs, because soft-cooked eggs create their own sauce, perfect to be mopped off the plate with the leftover “hole” of toast that gets thrown in the pan with the egg-in-a-baskets. It was inexpensive and simple and easy to eat, and sitting there in S’s wide-open single-room home, I felt peaceful about food, and the many other things that were uncertain in my life right then.
I have attempted this dish many times since, and have used it to thrill Husband when I serve it alongside a pile of bacon, but this weekend was the first time I’ve ever made it with bread I made myself. Instead of just salt, pepper, and garlic, I added the same italian-herb blend that I’d used in the bread itself, and to my great happiness, the whole thing turned out as perfectly browned as they can get (under or overdone are the main downsides of this breakfast).
With a glass of orange juice, and possible those delicious bits of bacon, this is perhaps my favorite way to start a weekend day.
S’s Egg in a Basket
1. Cut a hole in the middle of two pieces of whole-wheat bread, careful to not sever the outer rim.
2. melt butter in a frying pan and coat both sides of each piece of bread and each cut-out of bread.
3. When the pan is nice and hot, crack an egg into the center of each piece of bread, and let sizzle. When the bottom is opaque, loosen the eggs to make sure they don’t stick as they cook through; season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste.
4. Flip eggs and season the second side, loosening the eggs after they cook.
5. Remove from heat before the egg yolks are completely cooked through; eat hot with other breakfast delicacies. 🙂