There are recipes of great national historical importance, and then there are recipes of great personal historical importance. This recipe falls under the latter description. Both are equally as important to American foodways, in my opinion, because where would we be without the simple meals we grew up with?
My mother handled the vast majority of the family cooking when I was a child, and when she was unable to for work or other responsibilities, our food was – like so many – catered by Pizza Hut, Stouffer’s or some other convenience food.
My father did many things for us growing up, but cooking was something he has come to enjoy more later in life – bread baking, the occasional chili or soup, etc. But occasionally, back then, my father would step into the kitchen and give it a go. For example, when my mother and sister would leave for Girl Scout camp, my father and I – the men left behind – would put together a cake mix as a treat for when they got home and my father would leave the frosting to me. Another dish, which was mainly for him as nobody else would eat it, was Spanish Onions, stories of which have become apocryphal in my family for at least three generations.
Egg in a Frame, though, was a particular treat that he would make for my sister and I. I can’t give you the history of it beyond my family, except to say that it is a kin to the British dish of boiled eggs and “soldiers,” which are strips of toast you use to dunk them in.
From coast to coast, I know of many families who have this recipe in their repertoire, as it’s particularly fun to make for children. Besides Egg in a Frame, you may hear it called Egg in a Basket, Egg in a Hole, or even Toad in a Hole, which in my book is another British recipe of sausages baked into a Yorkshire batter pudding.
Whatever you call it, it is delicious and simple. And so on this Father’s Day, I give you this recipe for Egg in a Frame with a particular thanks to my father who has always been an avid reader of my writings, young and old.
Using a round cookie cutter or the mouth of a glass, cut a hole in the center of a slice of bread. Butter one side of the ‘frame’ and the cut out disc. Heat a frying pan over medium-low heat and add the frame and disc, butter side down. In the pan, carefully butter the other side of the bread.
Crack an egg into the center of the frame. Season to taste, and cover the pan with a lid. After about a minute, remove the lid. The egg should be mostly set on top, allowing you to flip both the egg in the frame and the disc. Cook uncovered for about another minute to toast the other side of the bread, and serve.