Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Egg-in-a-hole with charred red peppers and parmesan

The first time I ever saw egg-in-a-hole was in the film Moonstruck, one of my favorite films of all time. It was when Olympia Doukakis cooked breakfast for herself and her on-screen daughter and protagonist, Cher.

That close-up of the eggs being cracked into the cut-out hole in the bread, sizzling in the skillet with what I presume was red peppers on the side and then served on top, was the first time I’d ever experienced food porn. Mind you, I was quite young when I first saw the film and despised eggs at the time, but I was inexplicably intrigued. What was this? Why haven’t I seen it before? Why haven’t I eaten it?

Some years later, when I was all grown up yet still never having tasted egg in a hole, I attempted to recreate it; I have been making it ever since.

It’s a straightforward and simple dish, ideal for brunch or breakfast, especially after a night out drinking, lunch or light supper.

I kept the red peppers from the original dish in the film, which I charred, but also slightly jazzed it up with the addition of garlic and parmesan cheese. The flavors are simple yet so satisfactory. The savoriness of the eggs —cooked however you like, even though runny would suit the dish best— and the smoky quality of the charred peppers, the umami flavor of the parmesan, the earthiness of the whole-wheat bread and the rich smoothness of the butter, is all you need to have a delicious tasting dish that you can enjoy any time of the day.

Egg-in-a-hole with charred red peppers and parmesan

I prefer using whole-wheat bread or rye, preferably sourdough, as it has more depth of flavor, but any country style bread will do. Please don’t use sandwich bread though, it doesn’t do this simple dish any justice.

Yield: 2 servings

2 thick slices fresh, whole-wheat bread (from a crusty loaf, not sandwich bread)
1-2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ long red pepper, cut into strips
1 garlic clove, minced
2 medium-sized eggs
Freshly ground black pepper
A handful of finely grated parmesan

Butter the bread slices generously on both sides with the softened butter and using a round cookie-cutter or the rim of a small glass, cut a hole in the center. Keep the centers; you will cook them as well.

In a medium-sized frying pan, non-stick and big enough to fit the two bread slices comfortably, add the olive oil and heat over a medium heat. When the oil starts to shimmer, add the pepper strips and cook them, stirring often, until they start to caramelize and char around the edges. Be careful not to take them too far and burn them because they will taste too bitter. About a minute before they are done, add the minced garlic and sauté, stirring continuously. Transfer peppers and garlic to a bowl and set aside.

Keeping the pan hot on the stove, still over a medium heat, add the buttered bread slices, arranging the centers you had cut out around the edges of the pan. Cook one side of the bread until a bit crusty and golden, for about 2 minutes, and then flip it over. Immediately break the eggs into the holes of the two bread slices, put a lid on the skillet (any lid you have that fits the frying pan will do, it doesn’t need to be tightly sealed), and cook until the eggs are done to your liking. For the yolks to stay a bit runny, they’ll need about 4 minutes.

Transfer to individual plates, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and add the charred peppers on top. Finally, sprinkle with the parmesan and eat immediately.


  1. I grew up on this dish, although we called it “birdie in the nest.” The first time I ever saw roasted red pepper was, like you, in Moonstruck. I still haven’t tried it with roasted red pepper! Sometime you just don’t mess with Mom’s recipes! :) Maybe I should give it a go!

    1. It's not a dish known in Greece, perhaps now it is, then it was not, so I'd never seen it before watching this film. The peppers go so well with eggs. You must give it a try, for something different. :)

    2. Just watched Moonstruck again and decided yesterday to make this. Loved it with the peppers - you were so right! Hope you and S. are well! xx

  2. I truly appreciate the content of your blog.. Keep going.

  3. Great recipe and I really love your plates. Where did you buy them?