I remember my dad cooking just two dishes, ever (cereal doesn’t count). Both were for breakfast and both used eggs: scrambled eggs with cinnamon and rocky mountain toast. The scrambled eggs were fine, but it was the rocky mountain toast I really liked. And the only way to convince him to make it for me by promising to do all the kitchen clean-up. It was worth it.
Today it remains one of my favorite comfort foods, although I make it only once or twice a year. Rocky mountain toast can be unhealthy (eggs, enriched bread, butter) but that’s not the reason. It’s simply because I just never have bread in my kitchen. I stopped buying it a few years ago when I realized I couldn’t make it even halfway through a loaf without it turning moldy, and I didn’t care for the consistency of defrosted bread. Plus, while I am a carb addict, I rarely eat sandwiches (I prefer hot food, but I’ll leave that discsussion for another day).
So, imagine my excitement when I had two slices of challah bread leftover from the Baked Challah French Toast with Praline Topping I made for my sister and her friends. I waited to use it for days until I couldn’t take it any longer: it was rocky mountain toast time.
I pulled out my nonstick pan reserved specifically for eggs and gave it a quick coating of cooking spray and set it on the burner over medium heat. Then, the fun began. I buttered not one, but both sides of the bread and used my fingers to make a quarter-sized hole in the center of each. Sure, I could have used a round cookie cutter, but my dad taught me to use my fingers so that’s what I did. Of course, I had to eat the small bits of bread that were removed.
Next, I placed both pieces of buttered challah bread in the hot pan and cracked an egg over each so that the yolk sat right over the hole. I cooked it until the bottom of the bread was toasty and the egg whites on the pan had set, then I carefully flipped the bread over so the eggs were now on the bottom. This was the most important part – you have to gently but efficiently flip the bread over so the egg stays in place but also so the yolk doesn’t break. It’s tricky.
All that was left was to cook the rocky mountain toasts until the bread was crisp, the egg whites were set but the yolks were still runny in the center (as a kid I would to instruct my dad to cook one piece all the way through and to leave the yolk slightly runny in the second). I put both pieces on a plate and used my fork to break the center of the eggs, releasing a small stream of bright yellow liquid which I sopped up with the crunchy, golden toast.
Although this isn’t a unique recipe and, in fact, goes by many different names (i.e. toad in a hold, egg in a nest, etc.), to me it will always be my dad’s.