Crispy Fried Eggs on Toast . . . Demystified! A new 5MBM*

See what I brought in? From the left: a nearly-black egg from my duck Calpurnia, two Americauna eggs, and (yes!) a tiny egg from one of my Icelandic pullets. :)

See what I brought in? From the left: a nearly-black egg from my duck Calpurnia, two Americauna eggs, and (yes!) a tiny egg from one of my Icelandic pullets. 🙂

I’m on a mission*, Gentle Readers. It is this: to come up with around twenty or so excellent breakfasts that can be made by an 8-year-old (erm, my 8-year-old) in about 5 minutes or less. The nature of our breakfasts has been a bit sketchy lately, that is to say nonexistent. That is, in other words, make-your-ownish. Or “there’s-leftover-bread-from-farmer’s-market-and-peanut-butter-can’t-get-much-better-than-that-now-stop-complaining-ish.”

Harvest time and putting-the-harvest-by-time is a very intense and compelling time for me, with pioneer blood still running thick and red in my veins. Basically I’m becoming my Grandmother. Both of my Grandmas, in fact–Grandma Young and Grandma Kuehner–put much stock in “putting by” for the winter. Grandma Kuehner’s house always smelled like herbs. She had jars and jars of dried herbs in her cabinets. And homemade bread on the countertop.

My Grandma Young had a freezer full of beef that she would sock away every fall, not to mention canned goods of all types. And homemade sourdough bread in the oven. Yup. These good, hard-working women lived through the Great Depression and they didn’t waste a thing.

I blame them (affectionately) for the fact that–at this very moment–on my back porch, I have the following waiting for me: bushels of apples to make into sauce, a pile of fall radishes to make into lacto-fermented radishes, peppers to slice and freeze, other peppers to pickle, flats of tomatoes to can, herbs to hang and dry.

If I could go without sleep this time of year, I certainly would. I love canning and preserving and freezing and whatnot. It’s second only to the spring planting time for causing my heart to leap with joy–day after day! It just doesn’t get old to me.

I’m spending the afternoon today picking apples in an abandoned orchard with my sister, and making them into apple cider with my parents. I can’t think of anything I’d rather do.

So, back to breakfast: you can see why, at least this time of year, I don’t have more than 5 minutes to pull together a quick breakfast. And this seems fine to the other inhabitants of the house, except for one particular 8-year-old.

Little Mack’s love language is Hot Breakfasts. If somebody cares enough to make him a big hot breakfast, he just knows that he is loved and he shows it. If breakfast is a sketchy, do-it-yourself-affair, he flounders and is whiney and petulant all day long. I’m not making this up.

That’s my boy. I love him.

Here's our Celebratory Breakfast on the first day that we made a fire in the woodstove: fried eggs, smokies, buttered toast and hot chocolate. Eaten in front of the fire, of course. :)

Here’s our Celebratory Breakfast on the first day that we made a fire in the wood stove: fried eggs, smokies, buttered toast and hot chocolate. Eaten in front of the fire, of course. 🙂

So the other day when little Mack asked for pancakes and I was (literally) already lacing up my shoes to go out and do chores, I did a smart and simple thing. 🙂 I laid out the recipe and the ingredients and asked him to make them himself. This suited him just fine, and it struck me: Huzzah! Little Mack can make breafkasts!

I can, after all, drag this old body around all the day long, doing all the stuff that needs to be done this time of year, but even I can’t be two places at one time.

These are not “pour cereal into a bowl and add milk” breakfasts, no sirree bob. Our breakfast bar is raised way too high for that ease (sigh). These breakfasts will be delicious, nutritious, beautiful, and Mack will be able to make them in 5 minutes–or less!

So. Very often we start with eggs. In our family, you either like your breakfast eggs with “yellow blood” (over easy, that would be Bryan and some days, me) or “broken yolked” (over hard, fried a bit crispy, the way my Grandma Young always made them, and that would be Amalia and some days, me) or scrambled (2 or 3 eggs, scrambled until “not shiny at all, Mom” and that would be Mack and sometimes Amalia and sometimes me).

The “crispy” egg, or the broken-yolked method, has been popular in our family for generations. I’ve never really understood the big deal about cooking eggs on a super low heat, so they don’t get stiff. Some chef in France or New York City or someplace fancy made up this rule, but all the Grandmas of the world staunchly ignored it, at least mine did. In her fried egg method, the stiff bottom (so to speak) is crucial. Crucial, Gentle Reader. Otherwise how can you eat it on a piece of toast, on your way out to do chores, without it crumbling apart? Grandmas are awesome.

That’s why I was a little surprised to see a popular blogger waxing on eloquently about “crispy eggs.” Doesn’t everybody make these “crispy” eggs, wondered I? Apparently not. Apparently to some folks it’s a wondrous new thing *yawn* worthy of fawning and oohing over.

I prefer the “broken yolked” method, and usually make my breakfast egg in a very hot cast iron skillet in a flash. If I have fresh tomatoes, I’ll add a slice to my open-faced breakfast sammage. I’ll add a bit of cheese if I feel like it. Who doesn’t love oozy hot melted cheese, after all? Well, little Mack doesn’t (to our consternation–really, what’s not to love?) but everybody else I know dotes on it. It takes approximately three minutes to accomplish this fine breakfast. Here are the steps.

1. Slice up a good tomato and find a slice or two of good bread. We prefer leftover market baguettes, cut on a diagonal so you get an irregular, but large piece. 🙂

2. Heat up your cast iron skillet very hot, and add your preferred oil. My Grandma Young probably used lard. Olive oil is good. Butter is good, too, but will burn more easily.

3. Plop your bread into the hot oil and toast it first, flipping it once. Remove to your plate.

4. Crack your egg open into the remaining hot oil. It will sputter and sizzle and pop. That’s what it’s supposed to be doing. We don’t want a soft egg here. We want a bold and powerful egg, with crispy edges and perhaps a little “yellow blood” (my brother Mark’s term) to spill over the toast edge. That way you can lick your fingers afterwards. Yum. Turn the heat down to medium high. The edges will begin to brown, but don’t fret. Give it a minute or two and cook it until the white is opaque and the bottom is firm. If you like a bit of cheese on it, add the cheese now and give it a few seconds to melt.

It’s ready, baby.


4. Use a flexible metal spatula to transfer that yummy bad boy out of the skillet, and onto your awaiting toast and tomato. Sprinkle with herbs, freshly-grated salt and pepper, or what-have-you. Promptly transfer to your slavering maw.

It’s breakfast time, baby!


6. Bellow “BREAKFAST!” and get out of the way. And admit that it couldn’t be much better, or easier, or I-did-it-myself-ish.


Voila! Now aren’t you proud of yourself? Of course if you want to make this breakfast for company you can add many things: a slice of onion, a schmear of avocado, a bit of mustard, spinach leaves, and so forth. But that might take more than 5 minutes. Just a warning.

Now go on, Gentle Reader, and make your breakfast! And have a great day!

Here are the rest of the 5-Minute Breakfast Missions, all neat and orderly just for you.



16 thoughts on “Crispy Fried Eggs on Toast . . . Demystified! A new 5MBM*

  1. Chef William Chaney

    Well that is a lesson learned, It is exactly what I had for breakfast yesterday but had no idea that you could write a complete blog post about it. About the Chef thing for lower heat when cooking eggs in a restaurant. There is more than one reason. 1st. The people paying the bill, in most cases do not want something that has a little black around the edges. After all they are about to pay anywhere from $8 to $15 dollars for a couple of eggs they could cook at home for under a buck. They want those eggs to be “special”. 2nd. If we are in a very busy kitchen we could be working with 10 to 12 egg pans at the same time. We will cook the eggs, slide them from the pan and replace them with more eggs in almost one movement. I learned to cook eggs like this while working in Yosemite National Park when I was about 20 years old. When you are trying to cook for about 1500 people in only a couple of hours that was the way it was done. 3rd. Although it might be hard to believe, Little Mack is already way ahead of many a grown person out there with just this one breakfast. Yap, there are those out there that still can’t boil water let along the challenge of cooking an egg. That’s fine with those of us that make our living in a kitchen. Now for some inside information about those of us in the tall white hats, We love our eggs just the way you are cooking them. We can add this or that on top of the toast before adding the fried eggs, but the best part is that bread is the plate and breakfast can follow us around as we hurry from one task to another in our kitchens. Please do not spread the word about how we eat. We want everyone to believe we are enjoying a truffle pate omelet made with baby quail eggs while quaffing down some champagne before we cook their humble eggs. We don’t want them to think any differently now do we?

  2. Shay

    I love this! I plan on having my kids make their own breakfast when they are older 🙂 I’ll have to bookmark this 🙂

    And PS – It looks really delicious!

  3. Kandas

    I am drooling after looking at that homegrown tomato with egg… the tomato takes precedence for me. I am a little excited about the concept of 5 minute hot breakfasts an 8 year old can make. I recently learned the lesson that “if an 8 year old can’t do, it won’t be done” after being resistant to the idea for a very long time, as it applies to business. Looks like it applies to hot breakfasts during harvest season, as well!!

  4. Judy - Pedagogical Artist

    How yummy, Amy! Reminds me of my favorite childhood egg – One-Eyed Egyptian (don’t have a clue where the name came from). We would fry in oil a slice of bread with a hole in the middle into which we would crack our egg. You could either let it cook/harden this way or flip it over – usually causing the yolk to break.

    One of my favorite quick lunches is fried malawach ( topped with tahin ( , which I make on the spot, and a grated tomato and a sliced hard-boiled egg.

    Love your mission! Such a blessing when kids like to eat healthy! HUGS <3

  5. cookinmom

    Amy, you would be so glad you started him on making breakfast at an early age. I did with mine and that is one meal of the day that I don’t have to do a lot of times because he (son) did it. Dad will get with him on the weekends and they would do it together. So great when you get up and he’s making breakfast. Start them young…I did with my three and they now can cook on the their own. I know your summers (maybe a cold winter for you!) are crazy but when school was out for us (summer), I would hand my kids a stack of recipes (that I knew they could do) and tell them they would have to pick a recipe to do and I would help them. One recipe per week and they would take turns. On the fourth week I would pick. Worked out great and am so glad that we took the time to do it. When my son moved out, the only thing I gave him was a pressure cooker and he was set!!! He sends me pics all the time of what he made…sooo funny (but great!)!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      You are One Smart Mama. I’ve taught all my kiddos to cook and bake, too, not only for their own good, but for MINE! All my older kids know their way around the kitchen, and (perhaps more importantly) they’ve been spoiled to prefer good food. I get a kick out of the fact that my Timothy (now 20, and living in a bachelor pad) makes very nice meals for himself and his roommate, and bakes bread and apparently he’s quite good at it. AND HE’S SINGLE, LADIES! 😉 Little Mack (he’s 8) has missed out on much of this tutelage because Amalia (15) is just so accomplished in the kitchen, that she’s my go-to for meals of all sorts. But it’s past time for him to learn, and he is enjoying the new responsibility in the meals department. He OWNS breakfast now, bless him. 🙂

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