Valentine's Day is knocking on the door and I've been thinking about what recipe I'd like to share that reflects love. Uova nel Cestino (egg in a basket) pretty much nails love on the head. This is a comfort food breakfast that for most of my life, is the only way I thought eggs and toast were served. My Nonna Jo was the Egg in a Basket queen. She had a juice glass that was perfect for cutting the egg-hole in the center of the bread and she flipped with ease, rarely breaking a yoke. Sleepovers at my grandmother's were always a highlight for my sisters and me. We got to play with her poodles, Peppe and Luigi, hang with the 75 and over crew of her friends on the block, run wild in her basement, and sleep in my mom and aunt's old bedroom, which was preserved with their childhood furniture (that contained lots of goodies for kids to get lost in like old jewelry and photo albums) and the most impeccably organized closet ever. My grandmother kept all her shoes in their original boxes, labelling the outside "summer huaraches," "wedding shoes," "keds., for some reason this mesmerized me. She'd tuck us in and we'd get to watch Charles in Charge or some other 80's show as we dozed off to with the flicker of the television and the hum and flashing lights of the cars passing by outside. Grandmom was always awake before us, waiting in the kitchen for my sisters and me to race down the stairs and plop ourselves at the table for, you guessed it, Eggs in a Basket.
This dish is easy, so easy I hesitate to call this a recipe rather then just a few simple steps. But in my life this simple meal is love. I watch my mom and my sister Tara often make this for the kids, and there isn't a time in our house, that an egg is cracked into a piece of bread without one of us mentioning Grandmom Jo and talking about her to the kids, sharing stories of her sassitude (attitude + sass), humor and never-ending love. I think this is why I love cooking so much, it allows me to keep close the nostalgia of the meals and memories that I have been blessed to have and share it with my family.
*I've jazzed this recipe up with prosciutto because I love prosciutto. You can feel free to leave it out for the fancy-free version which is equally as delicious.
WHAT DO I NEED
Bread cut into 1/2 slice (I like it on a nice round Italian, but I'm not gonna lie, I've made this on Wonder Bread.)
Prosciutto (cut an X in the center)
S & P
Small Juice Glass, shot glass or espresso cup)
Slice a nice 1/2" thick piece of bread and using your juice glass press into the center of your bread to make a nice hole. Save that little bread disk! Melt 1/2 T of butter in a pan and add your bread, and prosciutto, fry one side for about a minute, and flip both over, fry on the other side for an additional minute. Place your prosciutto ontop of the bread, the "X" should be over the hole in your bread. Using a fork or wooden spoon press the X down a bit and then carefully crack your egg and pour the egg into the center hole, add salt and pepper (go light or totally avoid the salt if you are using prosciutto!). Fry for 2 - 3 minutes and carefully flip, frying the other side for an additional 2 - 3 minutes depending on how you like your eggs.
Somedays my egg flipping skills aren't at 100%, so a nice cheat it to cover the pan for 30 seconds to help the top cook a bit, this decreases your chances of breaking your yolk on the flip! Also, a non-stick pan is a real game changer with this recipe. I'm a big fan of copper!