Egg in a Hole, Anyone?


Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegetarian

Eggs in a Hole – Rancheros Style (with hash browns)

I remember watching the Jack LaLanne Show our new black and white television with when I was maybe 5 or 6 years old in Hayward, California. Mom was in the kitchen, which faced out on the living room, making one of my favorite breakfasts: Egg in a Hole.

We called it Egg in a Hole but it is also known by other names. Here are few of my favorites as gleaned from the Internet:

“Peekaboo Toast (Oregon)”
“Toad in the Hole (South Africa)”
“Egg in a Hat”
“Eggs in a Basket”
“One-Eyed Jacks”
“Winkie (North Carolina)”
“Birdie in a Nest (western Washington State)”
“A One-Eyed Monster”
“Tiger’s Eye (western Canada)”
“Popeye (upstate NY)”
“Bullseye (So. Cal.)”
“Barn Yard” (Southern Indiana)”

The traditional recipe goes something like this:

The basic ingredients required for egg in the basket recipe are slices of bread, eggs, pepper and salt and oil for cooking. A circular or square shape is cut at the center of the bread and it is fried in oil or butter. When brown, the egg is broken on the top of the hole. The slice containing egg is flipped, salt and pepper is sprinkled and egg in the basket is served hot with sauce of the choice.

Here’s my California version of the classic “Egg in a Hole” recipe based on one of my favorite Mexican-style breakfasts, Huevos Rancheros Divorciados. It takes approximately 45 minutes of prep time and another 15 minutes to make and bring it to the table. The wait, however, will be worth it!

Red Sauce Ingredients:
½ tablespoon olive oil
1 small white onion – chopped (about a cup)
1 clove garlic – chopped
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes (do not drain)
1 cup hot water
1 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon red chile powder
¼ cup chopped cilantro

Green Sauce Ingredients:
1 pound fresh tomatillos (husked and washed)
1 large yellow onion (cut into large chunks)
3 cloves garlic (peeled)
½ packed cup cilantro leaves (chopped)
½ jalapeno (de-seed if you don’t like the heat)
1 tablespoon lime juice
Sea salt (to taste)

Huevos Rancheros Ingredients:
2 tablespoons butter
2 large bread slices
4 large eggs
1 ripe avocado (peeled and sliced lengthwise)
Salt to taste

Red Sauce Directions:
Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat (do not burn!). Add onion and cook until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add garlic and cook for another minute or two. Add crushed tomatoes, water, Better Than Bouillon, salt and chile powder. Stir till well mixed. Simmer uncovered over low heat for approximately 15 to 20 minutes until sauce begins to thicken. Stir in cilantro, remove from heat and let cool. When still warm (but not hot) put sauce in blender and puree. Set aside. Leftover red sauce stores well in the refrigerator for up to one week. Use it for enchiladas.

Green Sauce Directions:
Cut the tomatillos into quarters and put them into the bowl of a food processor. Add the onion and garlic and process until smooth. Add the cilantro, jalapeno and lime juice and process until the jalapeno is finely chopped. Scrape the mixture into a small saucepan. Season lightly with salt and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is boiled off and the salsa looks like a fine relish – about 15 minutes. Set Aside. Leftover green sauce also stores well in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegetarian

Huevos Rancheros Directions: Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat.

While butter is heating up, use a biscuit cutter (or similar device) to cut two round side-by-side holes (about 2 inches in diameter) in each slice of bread.

Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegetarian

Place the bread in the skillet and crack eggs over the holes in the bread. The egg yolks should settle nicely into each of the holes. The egg whites may overflow the bread. Cook for approximately 2 minutes on one side, then flip each piece of bread over, and cook for another two minutes on the other side.

Transfer one slice of bread (two cooked eggs) to each plate. Top one half of the bread with red sauce and the other half with green sauce. Arrange slices of avocado on the side and serve immediately.

Thanks to Debra DeAngelo ( for the inspiration!

 P.S. If you remember eggs in a hole please leave a comment. I’m curious as to what you called them.

About Valley Vegetarian

Providing consistently good vegetarian comfort food recipes. Real food for real people.
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5 Responses to Egg in a Hole, Anyone?

  1. Laura says:

    A totally creative take on a classic! Yum!


  2. Beth says:

    I tried this morning on a slice of Herb Focaccia from Les Bles D’Or….yum!!


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