When I was younger, long weekends meant sleeping in and waking up to my dad in the kitchen preparing one of the very few recipes in his limited cooking repertoire: “bullseyes.” For some reason, two ingredients—eggs and toast—that are often served side by side are made even more delightful by putting one inside the other. And while the novelty of this simple dish—which is also called “toad in the hole,” “pirate’s eye” and “egg in a nest”—doesn’t wear off as you get older (at least in my experience!), it’s fun to experiment with ways to improve it.
Challah is the perfect replacement for sandwich bread. The thick slices contain the egg and soak up the runny yolk, and its richness gives it the appearance of French toast after it’s browned in the skillet.
I also added a topping inspired by the Italian garnish gremolata, which is a mixture of herbs, citrus zest and garlic. I chose to forgo the raw garlic because it was too harsh, and I added chives for a tame, onion-y bite that pairs so well with eggs. The lemon zest brightens the dish, and a dash of smoked paprika gives it a hint of sweet smokiness.
Challah Bullseyes with Gremolata
Makes 4 bullseyes
2 tablespoons minced parsley
2 tablespoons minced chives
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Pinch smoked paprika
4 (1-inch-thick) slices challah
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
4 large eggs
Salt and pepper
1. For the gremolata: In a small bowl, stir together the parsley, chives, lemon zest and smoked paprika. Set aside.
2. For the bullseyes: Spread ½ tablespoon butter on each side of each challah slice (1 tablespoon per slice, or more if using very large slices). Using a biscuit cutter or narrow drinking glass, punch out a hole in the center of each slice, making sure to leave at least a ½-inch border of bread. Reserve the bread rounds.
3. Spray a 12-inch nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Place 2 buttered slices of bread and 2 bread rounds in the skillet and cook over medium heat until the first side is golden brown, about 3 minutes. (If challah starts to get too dark, reduce heat.)
4. Carefully crack one egg into the hole in each slice of bread. Season the egg with salt and pepper and cook until bottom egg white is set, about 2 minutes.
5. Turn heat back up to medium. Using a spatula, carefully flip bread and cook until the egg has achieved your desired consistency, about 2 minutes for just-set whites, and longer for cooked yolks.
6. Transfer bullseyes and bread rounds to plate and repeat with remaining challah and eggs. Sprinkle with gremolata and serve.