Cast Iron Pans Cast iron pan owners swear by them for their even dispersal of heat and non stick nature. However, iron is not as happy go lucky as other metals. Initially, the pan must be seasoned with vegetable oil in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for at least an hour. Each time you heat the pan with oil, it will season till it obtains a beautiful dark color. Don't wash off the black patina thinking it is dirty. In fact, never use soap or scour the pan or you will remove the essence of the pan. Dry your iron pan on the stove with medium heat but watch it so it doesn't burn.
My Favorite Pan My favorite pan is a twenty dollar cast iron pan. I remember vividly how my step-father coveted his iron pan and warned us about not using soap to clean it. Seasoned and maintained properly, an iron pan can last forever. It is better than any non stick pan and far more durable. It's thick base holds heat better than any pan in my arsenal and prevents food from burning by dispersing the heat.
Some call it a "toad in a hole" but Wikipedia lists many more designations like "hole in one", "egg in a basket", "gashouse eggs" and "spit in the ocean". Whatever you call this classic breakfast dish, you can't deny it's crispy, buttery bread and that yolky egg in the middle... it doesn't get better than this! Sure, I have a fascination with eggs if you look at my other posts but the egg is one of those versatile proteins and tastes so good just by itself or with a few added ingredients. Here is just another preparation method to keep the humble egg fresh.
Start by buttering on side of two pieces of bread. I'm using sourdough bread here but any will do. I prefer a crusty bread but it's pretty good with a wheat bread also. I just find that wheat bread doesn't crisp up as well as crusty bread. Also, don't worry if the butter doesn't perfectly cover the entire bread. The butter is going to be melt and spread by itself.
Remove the center of the bread with a cookie cutter. The cookie cutter should be slightly larger than the yolk of an egg. I have used a knife to cut out the middle but it's never as pretty as a cookie cutter slice. The egg is going to cover the hole but I like the bread being removed to be symmetrical for presentation purposes.
Heat a thick bottomed pan like an iron pan on medium heat. I've found medium high tends to burn the bread too easily. Make sure you heat the pan well so it is fully heated before you drop the bread, butter side down.
Cook the bread for a couple minutes till it's nice and brown. When it's crispy, flip it and immediately place a teaspoon of butter in each hole.
Once the butter has melted, drop an egg in each hole. Salt and pepper the top of the egg at this point. The key here is cooking the egg white fully while keeping the yolk runny. Once you can't see any part of the bottom of the pan through the clear egg white, it's about time to flip.
After flipping the egg, cook it just long enough to get rid of the "chickens" as they say. In other words, you need to cook the egg white just long enough so it isn't runny. Too long and you get a cooked yolk and nobody wants that! The cook time on the flipped time will be shorter than the original side but it takes practice since cook times vary on so many factors such as pan thickness, range BTUs, bread type and egg size just to name a few.
I kinda massacred the egg in my excitement to get at the runny yolk but you get the idea. Crispy bread, well cooked egg white and a runny yolk all combine for a breakfast that will fill you up till lunch.