We couldn’t resist this elegant-looking recipe for one of the most beloved a.m. dishes of all time: toast with eggs. Whether you’re a soft-boiled egg with toast soldiers kind of gal or prefer your early bird special over-easy and greasy – almost all of us have a soft spot for this simple, protein-rich combination.

Although we like to make plenty of room for vegans on The Chalkboard, we accept that there are healthy diets of all shapes and sizes! When selecting eggs for this or any recipe, remember to choose eggs that are pasture-raised. Pasture-raised chickens produce eggs with dark yellow yolks – proof of their concentrated beta-carotene content. Pastured eggs contain more healthy omega-3 fats and essential vitamins, such as the B vitamin and biotin, than conventionally-raised eggs.

This particular egg dish is plucked from the pages of the SPQR cookbook, a gorgeous guide to Italian food from one of San Francisco’s best slow-food eateries. Chef Matthew Accarrino makes use of local mushrooms and lettuces to create this savory breakfast, but the recipe can be altered in a number of ways to suit your taste, your diet and your local farmer’s market. Matthew suggests using whichever mushrooms you can get your hands on and. We might add, if the brioche is not available, modifying with whichever good sturdy loaf you can find from your local baker is just fine too.

  • Egg in the Hole with Mushrooms and Miner’s Lettuce

  • Ingredients:

    1/2 cup rutabaga, peeled and cut in small dice
    extra virgin olive oil
    2 cups mushrooms, preferably hen-of-
    kosher salt
    1/4 cup finely diced bacon
    3 Tbsp white wine
    1/2 cup chicken, beef or veal stock with 1/2 tsp tomato paste added (or brown stock)
    4 three-quarter-inch slices brioche
    about 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, plus more to finish
    4 eggs
    1/2 shallot, minced
    1 teaspoon chopped tarragon
    a handful of miner’s lettuce or chickweed

  • Instructions:

    In a small pot of boiling, salted water, blanch the diced rutabaga until al dente, about 2 minutes. Drain well.

    Heat a film of olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat until almost smoking. Scatter the mushrooms in an even layer and sear without moving them until they begin to brown, about 1 minute.

    Turn the heat down, give the mushrooms a stir, and season with salt. Sauté until the mushrooms are cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes more.

    Drain the mushrooms on paper towels and return the pan to the stove over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until the fat has nearly fully rendered, about 3 minutes. Stir in the rutabaga and cook until the bacon is fully rendered and the rutabaga edges have started to caramelize, about 2 minutes.

    Drain the bacon and rutabaga on paper towels.

    Return the pan to the stove over medium-high heat. Pour in the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 1 minute. Pour in the stock and simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Keep warm.

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Using a 2-inch round cutter, punch holes in the center of each slice of bread but keep the punched-out pieces in the slices.

    To toast the bread, heat a large, ovenproof skillet over medium heat. (If the skillet can’t accommodate all the bread, work in batches.) Add a few pats of butter to the pan and swirl until melted. Place the bread in the pan, pressing down lightly to ensure it browns evenly. Brown one side, about 2 minutes, and flip the slices over. Remove the centers and place in the pan to toast alongside the slices.

    Crack the eggs and slide one egg into each hole. Cook the eggs for a minute to set, then transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake the eggs until the whites are fully cooked but the yolks are still runny, about 6 minutes. Divide the egg toasts among 4 plates.

    Return the pan with the stock to medium heat. Swirl in the shallot and tarragon and stir back in the mushrooms, rutabaga, and bacon. Season with salt and swirl in a pat of butter. Spoon the sauce over the eggs, then place a toast round askew over each egg. Garnish each plate with a few pieces of miner’s lettuce.

  • Reprinted with permission from SPQR: Modern Italian Food and Wine, by Shelley Lindgren and Matthew Accarrino with Kate Leahy, copyright © 2012. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.

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