Thursday, January 5th, 2012...11:35 am

Putting All Your Eggs in One Basket

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I don’t know about you lot, but I’m still recovering from the last month of mayhem. And I think I will be for another month or so. When I begin to think about the buckets of booze, piles of food, and general excess we partook of in the name of festive fun, I still feel a bit sick.

But! January’s here – which means it’s time for everyone to hit the gym, cut back on the unhealthy food (until the Chinese New Year anyway), and get on with life. For me, one of my weekday morning rituals that I’ve missed is having a quiet breakfast and cup of coffee (thanks, Vick, I still use the V60 almost every day!) on the balcony after I send the bunny to work. This morning, having stockpiled a nice stash of the awesomest brioche in HK in my freezer, I decided to go with Egg in the Basket.

This dish is probably best described as the bastard child of a fried egg sandwich and oeufs en cocotte, where you replace the cocotte with bread and cook it all in a frying pan instead! (GENIUS, I say!) The trick to doing this dish well is to toast one side of the bread first and then to crack an egg into the middle after you’ve flipped it, and then to moderate the heat carefully so your bread doesn’t burn before the egg is cooked. I generally also cover the pan to let the top of the egg steam a little (or pop the entire pan under the broiler for a minute). The resulting 2-D sandwich is the picture of perfection, especially with the tendrils of egg-white that spread out under the bread and go crispy and delicious! This way, you also avoid having to flip the entire thing over which could result in a broken or over-cooked egg yolk (read: CATASTROPHE).

Egg in a Basket

1 2cm-thick slice of brioche (or your bread of choice)
softened butter
1 large egg
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Using a cookie cutter, cut the middle of your slice of bread out. I generally just go with round, but please feel free to use whatever shape tickles your fancy – as long as the hole is large enough to mostly contain your egg. Spread a thin but even layer of butter over both sides of the bread, and on the cut-out portion as well.

Crack your egg into a small bowl or ramekin; set aside.

Heat a frying pan with a well-fitting lid over medium heat, and drop the slice of bread in. Cook for about 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Flip the slice of bread over, drop about half a teaspoon of extra butter into the hole, and carefully tip the egg into the hole.

Lower the heat slightly, and cook for 2 minutes. The egg should be mostly cooked by now, but you will probably still have a layer of uncooked white on the top. Pour about 10-15ml of water into the pan (near the side, not directly onto the bread), then immediately cover with the lid for 45 seconds to 1 minute. Uncover, nudge the egg gently to see if it is cooked to your liking, then remove to a plate, sprinkle with salt and a few twists of the pepper mill, and serve immediately.

Yield: Serves 1

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