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James Cagney Eggs

This is really such a simple dish, and lives in many places.  Also known as Egg in the Hole, Egg with a Hat or Gashouse Egg, this is a simple and filling dish that pleases people on many levels.  Essentially it is fried egg toast . . .  the unsophisticated sister of French toast . . .  or the country cousin to that old city mouse.

As simple as it is however, it is also capable of bringing delight to those who sit down to enjoy its pleasures.  I like to dress it up a bit . . . sophisticate it a little . . .  with a few additions.

Perhaps that is what makes this the "gangster" cousin of Egg in a Hole.  It is just a simple addition of some garlic powder and some hot chili flakes . . . 

But it works beautifully.  You get a nice slice of fried bread, with a tasty runny egg fried into the middle of it and that toasty little round of fried bread that you can slip on top like a hat.

No wonder children love it so much  . . . and with these simple additions grown ups can fall in love with it all over again.  Of course . . .

The use of a great Artisanal loaf also helps to up-date/grow it up as well.  I like a good sour dough loaf.  Oh boy but it is some good . . . the little bit of heat and spice from the chili flakes is really nice . . .  but don't go over-board.  I suppose if you wanted to you could add a splash of hot sauce . . . and I always like to sprinkle a bit of chopped fresh parsley on most things.  Its a nice way of dressing up even the simplest things without changing out the flavours much.

 That buttery crisp bread . . . the slight whiff and taste of the garlic.  You could use real garlic, but I find that the powdered garlic works just fine and you don't have to worry about it burning.  Burnt garlic has a bitter quality that is not very nice . . . the hardest part is timing the cooking of it so that the egg stays runny.  Yum!

*James Cagney Eggs*
Serves 1
A delicous recipe of an old childhood favourite, amped up with adult flavours! 

1 slice good artisanal bread, sliced about 1 inch thick
softened butter
1 large free range egg
fine sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, garlic powder
a pinch of crushed red chili flakes 

Butter your slice of bread on both sides.  Using a sharp 2 inch round cutter, stamp out a hole in the centre. Reserve the hole for a bit later.  Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Lay the slice of bread in the centre and add a tiny knob of butter into the centre.  Once it begins to foam, crack the egg into the hole, taking care not to break the yolk.  Sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper, garlic powder and chili.  Flip over carefuly when the egg has begun to set and the bread has turned goldenbrown.  Add the bread hole to the pan. Season all with more sea salt, pepper, garlic powder and crushed red chili. Continue to cook until golden on the other side, taking care not to over cook the egg.  You want it to still be runny.  It will only take a few minutes. Also flip the bread hole over when it has browned and brown the other side. Serve the egg toast accompanied with the toasted bread cut out.

 Comfort food can't get any simpler or tastier than this!  It makes a lovely hearty breakfast, or you can make it into a lovely simple supper by adding a few rashers of bacon and a salad on the side.  I can't think of anyone who would turn their nose up at this.  Simply multiply the quantities to serve more.  You only need one slice of bread and one egg per person.  Fresh eggs are the best.  Bon Appetit!

Marie Rayner
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  1. William and Pip loved these when they were young. Beth always refused eggs and since I am allergic I never forced her. But looking at the photo I could eat those right now. However, there is a version of chicken pie in the oven so that will have to do.

    1. Oh, I love chicken pie a lot Suzan. I bet it will be tasty! xo

  2. Yes a staple when the girls were growing up:)

    1. My children loved this also Monique, but I didn't add the chili flakes or garlic for them. That would have been a huge no go with them! But now they're adults I am sure they would love. xo

  3. This is a simple quick meal that I forget about, but we do enjoy it. Your photography is great! ~Elaine

  4. My Mom called these Shyne's Eggs, after my Daddy ...loved them especially on Sunday mornings after Mass. Hope you had a wonderful day cross the sea. Mary in GA USA

    1. I love it Mary. Yet another name for something tasty! You have a wonderful day also! xo

  5. The Pioneer Woman...I got this recipe from her blog years ago and my son loves it! Also, saw it on a cooking show recently and they called it, "Egg In A Picture"...that sounds nice, does it not? I like your additions but I am telling you, it is a GOOD recipe and super easy!

    1. Hi Kay, this is a very old recipe and has been around donkey's under one name or another! Used to make it for my kiddles and I am old enough to be the PW's mum. I expect her mum used to make it for her also. Love the name "Egg in a Picture!" How quaint! It is a good and super easy recipe for sure! xo

  6. I bet this would be good with the gluten free bread I'm eating right now. I FINALLY found some that is tolerable but mostly only toasted. This winter, after I discovered this and tried it toasted I ate a BLT sandwich for the first time in YEARS. I almost cried. I would think the bread would be very similar in texture to toasted bread plus would have additional flavor. The Pioneer Woman does this recipe and says its one of their favorite breakfasts in their home. Where does James Cagney come into this recipe?

    1. I feel for those who are coeliacs Pam. I haven't been able to find anything yet that truly makes up for the gluten in things. (((hugs))) I used to make this years ago for my kids, minus the peppers and garlic. Its a very old recipe, coming from well before PW's time. You know what they say, there is nothing new under the sun! James Cagney because of the hot peppers and garlic. He was an Italian Gangster and those things give them a kind of a hot guy/gangsta feel. In any case they are very good. xo


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