Cast Iron

My Favorite Fried Egg on Toast

June 19, 2013
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.

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Review
I like to say I'm a lazy iron chef (I just cook with what I have around), renegade nutritionist, food policy wonk, and inveterate butter and cream enthusiast! My husband and I own a craft distillery in Northern Minnesota called Vikre Distillery (www.vikredistillery.com), where I claimed the title, "arbiter of taste." I also have a doctorate in food policy, for which I studied the changes in diet and health of new immigrants after they come to the United States. I myself am a Norwegian-American dual citizen. So I have a lot of Scandinavian pride, which especially shines through in my cooking on special holidays. Beyond loving all facets of food, I'm a Renaissance woman (translation: bad at focusing), dabbling in a variety of artistic and scientific endeavors.