As Chef April Bloomfield writes in the Restaurants section of the New York magazine, “Say what you will about the English and their cuisine, their flair for naming dishes is unsurpassed.” Here is just a sample of the whimsy from effingpot.com’s American Guide to speaking British.
- bangers and mash – plate of English sausages and creamy mashed potatoes
- chip butty – piping hot fries, topped with tomato sauce, in between two slices of buttered white bread
- chipolata – a small pork-filled sausage
- jellied eels – exactly what it sounds like!
- pork scratchings – deep fried pork rinds
- spotted dick – steamed suet pudding with dried fruit, typically served with custard
- yorkshire pudding – a dish, originating in Yorkshire, England, that is made by pouring what amounts to pop-over batter into roast drippings
In her piece, Chef Bloomfield prefers we consider her recipe for “bubble and squeak”, a breakfast dish made from frying up left over greens and mashed potato. As an amateur in the world of British food, I chose to consider the American variation of the “toad in the hole.”
Traditionally, toad in the hole is made by embedding pork sausage links into a Yorkshire pudding and serving it with vegetables and gravy. Here is a picture of proper Toad in the Hole from wikipedia.net:
And, here is the American variation: a piece of toast, fried with an egg in the middle. I first encountered it as a child. During an episode of the 80s television show, Hunter, I watched the main character, a crusty old detective, take his firearm, throw a slice of white bread in the air, shoot a hole in its center, catch the evacuated slice in a fry pan, and crack an egg in it. Recently (April-ish) I decided to attempt the feat, sans firearm.
Mis en place
Cut holes in your bread. I used a drinking glass.
Runny Yolks In Pan
Place the bread in a pre-heated (medium heat) and oiled non-stick pan. Crack an egg in the hole and turn it over when the egg is solid enough to survive the flip.
While this isn’t Toad in the Hole Proper, an integrated device with a fried egg and fried bread, makes a great breakfast.
Please don’t throw away the left over bead. Personally, I fry the rounds in the same pan. They also make great bread crumbs.
Update: On September 8, 2009, SeriousEats posted a piece about how frying eggs in pieces of toast has Hollywood connotations. To many Americans, the dish is known as Guy Kibbee eggs as the then actor made them in the 1935 film Mary Jane’s Pa.