My love for the first meal of the day is as unwavering as Ron Swanson’s passionate love affair with breakfast food. In episodes of Parks and Recreation, Swanson points to his framed photo of eggs, bacon, and toast with pride. The large framed photo serves as the centerpiece of his personal office, and it is perhaps my most relatable element of the entire television series. This passion of breakfast food, that Swanson and I share, has existed ever since my Grandfather taught me how to scramble eggs.
“Use a fork,” he said over my shoulder, “It’ll make the eggs fluffier.”
My Grandmother demonstrated how to roll open a hard-boiled egg. My older cousin, Ryan, showed me how to make pancakes — despite the existence of step-by-step instructions on the back of the Aunt Jemima box. My cousin was not the best at cracking eggs open, so I also learned how to swipe pieces of eggs shells from batter. My younger sister taught me that there is no such thing as too much chocolate in chocolate-chip pancakes. My Dad showed me how to use the waffle machine. My Mom informed me that anything can go into an omelette.
I’m a fan of cooking shows and their exhilarating timed competitions, but I was most drawn to the creative aspect of whipping up a dish. After learning the infinite methods an egg can be cooked, I was flabbergasted the day my Mom and Dad cut a hole in the center of a piece of bread and cooked an egg in the center.
This innovative breakfast meal requires minimal effort but undivided attention. The yolk is especially greedy for your attention.
To begin, gather your favorite sliced bread, an egg, and butter. When it comes to butter, my Grandpa instilled in me that more is more, so I lather a generous amount of butter on a square griddle. The exact amount of butter and the heat level is unspecified because I want to leave measurements up to your interpretation and personal preference.
As the pan heats on medium/low heat and the butter begins to sizzle, I’ve already used my butter knife to carve out a large circle in the middle of my piece of bread. I wouldn’t recommend using the end pieces of a loaf, just continue ignoring the two pieces as most of us do, until guilt and pity overcome us and we give in by using them for a sandwich.
Plop the donut-looking piece of bread on the buttered pan and prepare to use even more butter. Place a dollop of butter in the hole you skillfully carved out, then lightly add a layer of butter on the side of bread facing you. This piece of bread should now be completely buttered up, similar to excessively flattering your boss for the coveted promotion.
Crack the egg into the center of the bread, which is now on its way to being toast. Add a dash of salt and pepper onto the egg. Maintain the medium/low heat, in fact, the lower the better. I wouldn’t recommend rushing the egg to cook because you run the risk of cracking the yolk.
The yolk provides the sauce in which you dip the bite of cooked egg white and toast. It is important that the yolk stays uncooked, although personal preference may come into play if you don’t like runny yolk. If you prefer a cooked yolk, then I regret to inform you that this breakfast meal may not be for you and your taste buds, but I can accept the existence of an egg-in-the-nest-toast with a cooked yolk if it pleases you.
Within the minute of cracking the egg, it’s time to turn over the piece of toast. The main goal of this breakfast meal is to avoid cooking the yolk. After years of cooking this recipe, perhaps 3 out of 10 egg-in-the-nest-toasts I create have a cooked yolk. This personal statistic is disappointing to me, but then I remind myself that no one is perfect and cooking is often difficult.
It’s time to flip when the egg white is mostly cooked. You should also pinch a corner of the bread to peek underneath to see if the bread is toasted. If the bread is not toasted, this discovery indicates that the bread did not spend enough time on the buttered, heated pan before the cracking of the egg.
After lathering more butter on the pan pre-flip, I use my fingers to carefully turn over the toast. Patience is a necessary virtue to practice because if you quickly flip the toast, the yolk may crack. Successfully turning over egg-in-the-nest-toast is a process of trial and error, so don’t be discouraged if the yolk cracks or if you flipped too soon.
After the tedious turn around process, turn off the heat. The existing heat will cook the remainder of the egg white. Uncooked yolk is acceptable, but uncooked egg white is not. I would advise that you double check that the egg white is cooked by poking it with a fork.
You could call this breakfast meal “egg-in-the-hole-toast,” “egg-in-the-middle-toast,” “egg-in-the-nest-toast,” or “egg-in-the-basket-toast,” but either way, this under five minute recipe is finished and ready to be eaten! Garnish your egg-in-the-hole-toast with more salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, parsley, chives, cilantro…whatever tickles your taste buds.
This breakfast recipe taught me how to be patient, observant, and that more butter is more. I enjoy my egg-in-the-nest-toast with a tall glass of orange juice and fresh fruit. I also plate two or three batches of egg-in-the-nest-toast because it is that delicious, but I’m also really hungry for breakfast food, just like Ron Swanson.
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