There are those occasional Sunday mornings when the idea of anything more complex than a frying pan and spatula sends your head into a spin, and a simple egg on toast is almost exactly what you want. Eggs in a basket takes the weekday staple and pretties it up just enough to retain its comforting simplicity—with just a little something extra. Personally, I like the plainest version, a nice piece of day old bread, a good amount of butter and an egg. But if you can muster even the smallest bit of ambition, there are versions that use a sliced bagel, a grilled cheese sandwich, or even a waffle.
The trick here is getting the toast crisp while getting the white to just set, and the yolk to stay perfectly runny. Cooking your toast in butter before you drop in the egg ensures the proper crispness in the toast, and the ideal runniness in the yolk. A nice egg in a basket, beside a crisp green salad with a grainy mustard vinaigrette, and you've got a straightforward egg and toast that's elevated just enough to be a perfect Sunday brunch.
Note: Although I used a non-stick pan, you could use a regular skillet, taking a little more care, and possibly more butter, to ensure that nothing sticks.
- 4 thickly cut slices of bread (day old works best)
- 6 tablespoons softened butter, divided
- 4 eggs
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- Coarse sea salt
Cut 3-inch hole in center of each piece of bread using biscuit cutter or cup and coat both sides of each slice with butter, using 4 tablespoons total.
Melt 1/2 tablespoon butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat and add buttered bread. Toast until bread is golden brown 3-5 minutes (you can toast the cut-out centers at the same time if desired). Remove bread from pan and melt additional 1/2 T butter. Once butter has melted add bread, toasted side up.
Crack egg into each hole and cover pan. Reduce heat to medium low and cook until egg is just set but yolk is runny, 7 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with coarse salt and cracked black pepper. Serve immediately with green salad if desired.