I loved seeing Merrill's ode to the one-eyed sandwich on the blog. Growing up, we called it an egg in the basket, and I still love making them for my family. Add the custardy goodness of french toast and you've got a great holiday breakfast mash-up. The traditional sweet flavorings of french toast batter are replaced with cumin. The smoked salmon, roasted beets, and mustard creme fraiche are a quick and elegant addition. —ElizabethN
Preheat oven to 400, then peel and dice the beets into 1/2 inch pieces. Toast to coat in olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast until the beets begin to caramelize, about 15 minutes.
Using a round biscuit cutter or glass (sized to fit within the crust of your bread), cut a circle in each slice of bread. Reserve the circles.
Whisk 2 eggs with the cumin, then stir in the milk. Pour the batter into a pie plate and add two pieces of bread (including the circles). Let stand 3 minutes, then flip the bread over. Press down slightly on the bread so that the batter is absorbed.
Mix some creme fraiche with a smaller amount of dijon mustard, to taste.
Melt 1/2 tbsp of butter in a skillet (preferably cast iron) until foaming, then add the first piece of bread and circle. Once the first side is browned and crisp, flip and let the opposite cook for a minute. Crack an egg into the hole in the middle of the bread. Cook for a couple minutes until the white has set, then carefully flip again. Cook another minute, just long enough so that the yolk stays runny but the white cooks through.
Remove from the pan. Place the crispy round on top of the egg and drizzle with mustard creme fraiche. Add the smoked salmon and beets, scatter with chives, and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately and repeat with the remaining bread and batter.