Cast Iron

My Favorite Fried Egg on Toast

June 19, 2013
4 Ratings
Author Notes

Of the various camps people divide themselves into, one I am especially interested in is the “breakfast people” and the “not breakfast people.” (I’ve heard it so many times, “oh, well, I’m not really a breakfast person.”)

For years I didn’t eat breakfast at all, until some of my high school friends shamed me into it; I was sold by the idea of giving my metabolism a boost. I started easy with a banana and milk, then graduated to granola with yogurt, and then one day I looked up and discovered I’d become obsessed with breakfast.

I may eat bread and cheese 7 days running for lunch, but my breakfasts will likely be varied and well planned. If I stay at your house, I will probably wake up early and make both of us breakfast, even if it’s Wednesday.

And that is why I’m here now, writing about breakfast. Because I think breakfast isn’t just the most important meal of the day, it’s also the most awesome.

Sure there’s relatively solid science to suggest it’s healthier to start your day off with a little something, but I think even more important is the tone breakfast sets for the day. It’s your chance to start off right. No matter how much you want to take a sledgehammer to your alarm clock, and maybe also to the people around you, if you take a moment to eat breakfast and at least pretend to be pleasant, you’ll have gained some solid culinary and social footing that can last you through the day.

Of course, I don’t expect everyone else–or even anyone else–to plan out new breakfast ideas with the zeal I do. That’s why I’m doing it for you! A word of warning: there will be eggs. Eggs are one of my perfect foods and breakfast is an excuse to eat them. But, there will also be yogurts, and nuts, and fruits, and vegetables, and fish, and grains. There will be speedy weekday breakfasts and more time consuming weekend breakfasts (that can be stretched into the week).

Those will come. For now, let’s start simply with a fried egg on toast. A fried egg on toast may seem dull, but there are few things as satisfying or sublime as a really good fried egg on toast. It’s a breakfast that needs no innovation to make it great, just a little attention. Here’s how I like to make mine, with a nicely crisped, runny egg and a faint whiff of spice. —fiveandspice

  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Serves 1
Ingredients
  • 1 thick piece of a good rustic country-style bread
  • 1 tablespoon good-quality mayonnaise, adjusted to taste
  • 2 pinches smoked paprika
  • 1 generous pat of butter
  • 1 large egg (or 2 if you're hungry)
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Toast your bread until it is nicely golden brown and crisped around the edges. Smear on a thin, but still decidedly noticeable, layer of mayonnaise. Sprinkle a couple of pinches of smoked paprika over the toast.
  2. Place a small pan—I much prefer to use a pan that is not non-stick, like cast iron—over medium high heat. Add the butter and wait until the butter has melted, foamed up, settled back down and has started to brown. You want the pan to be hot enough that the egg really sizzles when it hits.
  3. When the pan is hot, crack the egg in. Sprinkle the egg with a good bit of salt. Now, turn the heat down to medium-low, cover the pan and let the egg fry. This will help the white to cook through while the yolk stays runny. When it has reach this stage (cooked white, runny yolk) transfer the egg onto your toast. If there is any remaining browned butter in the pan, scrape that on top too. Sprinkle with some freshly ground pepper and eat.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Misty Chun
    Misty Chun
  • I_Fortuna
    I_Fortuna
  • calendargirl
    calendargirl
  • dymnyno
    dymnyno
  • thetroikatable
    thetroikatable

18 Reviews

Misty C. March 14, 2020
Love this toast! So simple but absolutely delicious. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe! 😍
 
milebrum September 19, 2018
I thought I knew how to make a fried egg until I tried this. Thanks! :D
 
I_Fortuna June 29, 2013
This is my favorite too. I make something similar called egg in a nest or toad in a hole. By breaking the egg into the hole in the pan I can control how much or how little to cook the egg. I do toast the bread a little and then finish it up in the pan. My eggs come out with that lovely soft golden center that I scoop out with the cut out hole!
 
Author Comment
fiveandspice July 1, 2013
I love egg in the hole! The best part is the crispy little circle of cut out bread, I think. Sometimes when I make egg in the hole I like to top it with avocado slices or lox...or both!
 
Helens July 6, 2013
That's funny - I've heard of this style of cooking eggs (although have never had it, breakfast tomorrow I think), but I've never heard it called toad in a hole. In England, toad in the hole usually refers to a dish of sausages baked in yorkshire pudding.
 
I_Fortuna July 6, 2013
Yes, that is the original toad in a hole you speak of. In the U.S it appears it was adopted in the vernacular some time after colonization. Thus, people from different parts of the U.S. seem to call it by various names. My grandparents, originally from Ohio in the 1800's adopted the toad in a hole phrase. Others, as I mentioned, call it bird in a nest or egg in a nest. It seems English speaking people like to adopt English names for food they think it applies to. As an example: Take a look at all the Mexican dishes that contain hot peppers or tortillas and are loosely called "Mexican" because they contain these ingredients no matter how they otherwise deviate from authentic or original Mexican recipes. Look how we in the U.S. have changed Chinese food, none of which that is in some restaurants resembles Chinese food in the least. It's a quirk!
 
Helens July 7, 2013
Thanks for the reply, it's very interesting. And I know exactly what you mean about the mexican, bearing in mind that here in the UK 'mexican food' means an Ol El Paso Fajita Kit. Or Nandos. (Much to my chagrin as I try to track down guajillos, new mexicos, or habaneros, tomatillos, etc.) I think my favourite example of food meaning different things in different places was this 'fish and chips' from Duluth: http://i.imgur.com/eVAarLY.jpg.
 
I_Fortuna July 7, 2013
LOL What a funny picture! I love it! Of course,in the U.S. we have something that resembles fish n' chips but certainly not the generous proportions I had in London in a little fish shop just across the street from the Barbicon Hotel where I stayed. i was shocked at how huge it was! I sure would love to come back someday. Thanks for your posts! TA!
 
calendargirl June 24, 2013
My fave too, Emily! Try it with a layer of freshly wilted spinach between the mayo and the egg -- yum!
 
Author Comment
fiveandspice June 26, 2013
Yum, definitely. I love wilted spinach with eggs.
 
dymnyno June 22, 2013
You have just described my favorite breakfast!
 
Author Comment
fiveandspice June 24, 2013
It's a dang good breakfast! :)
 
thetroikatable June 22, 2013
So excited for this feature! And for fried eggs on toast.
 
Author Comment
fiveandspice June 24, 2013
Thanks!
 
clintonhillbilly June 21, 2013
Sounds wonderful!
 
Author Comment
fiveandspice June 21, 2013
Thanks!
 
Droplet June 19, 2013
I like to make mine that way too, except I toast my bread in the pan next to the egg on one side only, and when the egg is done, I lift it with a spatula and mop up all of the butter under it with the untoasted side of the bread :)
 
Author Comment
fiveandspice June 21, 2013
That is brilliant! Must try.