A tried-and-true combination, eggs and toast have taken hold as a staple breakfast food over the last several generations. Together, egg and toast is a canvas for a multitude of flavors that tie into its heartiness, especially flavors inspired from cuisines found around the world.
So, let’s take a trip (recipes below)!
We start our journey in California, with the exceedingly popular avocado toast. I keep mine simple: smeared avocado on some whole-grain toast, topped with lots of black pepper and red pepper flakes, finished off with a sunny-side-up egg.
Next stop… Mexico!
Huevos rancheros, which literally translates to “rancher’s eggs,” consists of eggs cooked in a tomato-chili sauce served atop a soft corn tortilla. I decided to throw in some corn to tie everything together, and add some feta cheese for a tangy counterpoint.
Going trans-Atlantic, this much healthier and open-faced interpretation of a croque madame consists of veggie-bacon (you could use the real thing if you’d like–I was looking for something crispy and salty without the fat!), an egg, and luscious bubbling gruyere cheese (you could use Swiss as a lower-budget option).
We now move into Spain for a new twist on an old classic.
In my rendition of pan con tomate (con huevo in this case), a deceptively simple Catalan breakfast dish consisting of crusty toast scrubbed with fresh garlic, topped with tomato and olive oil, I’ve added a smear of ricotta for some extra creaminess. The garlic-scrubbing step is absolutely essential! The permeating flavor of raw, robust garlic is something that this dish simply can’t do without.
Continuing eastward, this pesto toast is probably my favorite. Taking a healthier spin off the Italian classic, I make mine with spinach! That way, this toast is (almost) a salad in disguise. Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t include some type of cheese here, so I went with a classic: goat cheese.
Just kidding. This one’s my favorite.
Hailing from Tunisia, this portable shakshuka toast really sweeps across the entire flavor spectrum. Shakshuka has received a lot of recent praise: it’s essentially eggs poached in a hearty spiced tomato and chili sauce. Though one of the most popular dishes in Israel, it is often served across the Middle East and Spain with some type of meat or sausage. To find a common ground, I spiced my tomato sauce using soy-chorizo (which has most of the spices in shakshuka anyways!), and topped the dish with a healthy sprinkle of goat cheese to brighten it up.
At last, we arrive in South Asia with this methi toast.
Methi, also known as an esoteric-sounding plant called “fenugreek”, comprised a large part of my childhood diet. Daal methi, the dish shown above, consists of lentils stewed with the fenugreek leaves. Somewhere between the flavor beans and lentils, this nutty dish, rich with umami, pairs perfectly with eggs and bread–after all, that’s how I’ve always eaten it!
My hope is that you’re inspired to explore flavors and concepts from around the world in a way that makes sense to you.
- 1/2 avocado
- 1 slice of toast
- 1 egg
The preparation is pretty self explanatory–smear the avocado onto the toast, season with whatever you like, and add the egg on top.
HUEVOS RANCHEROS (~4 servings)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper
- 15-oz can of whole tomatoes (crush them yourself)
- 3 tomatillos
- 1-2 red chilis
- Corn (frozen is fine)
- Red pepper flakes
- 8 Eggs
- corn tortillas
- feta or cotija cheese, crumbled
- Lime (garnish)
- heat oven to at least 400 degrees , place red chilis, tomatillos, and the bell pepper on a pan and roast until slight charring is visible
- heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet; sauté onions
- chop the bell pepper, chili (seeds removed), and tomatillo, and add to onions
- pour canned tomatoes into a medium bowl, crush with hands, and then slowly add to onion and pepper mixture
- add in desired amount of frozen corn
- season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes as desired
- turn heat to low, and crack 8 eggs into the skillet, covering the skillet until the eggs are cooked
- sprinkle with cheese; serve family style with warmed corn tortillas and sliced limes to garnish
OPEN FACED CROQUE MADAME
- 2 slices of bacon
- 1 egg
Again, this is a very simple preparation. Assemble the bacon and sunny side up egg on top of the toast, cover in grated gruyere or swiss cheese, and broil until the cheese is bubbly.
- 2 cups packed fresh spinach leaves
- ¼ cup packed fresh basil
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup freshly grated parmesan
- salt and pepper
- combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor, and pulse until a loose paste is formed
- smear on toast and top with egg if desired
- 28 oz. can of whole San Marzano tomatoes
- ½ package of soy chorizo–already has all the spices in it!
- Red pepper flakes
- ½ of a medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- heat up 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat
- sauté onions, then add chopped garlic
- add in the chorizo, breaking up clumps with a wooden spoon, cook for about 10 minutes
- empty can of whole tomatoes into a bowl and crush with hands, then slowly add into saucepan
- cook for an additional 3-5 minutes
- season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste
- smear on toast and top with egg and goat cheese if desired
- 2 cups methi leaves
- 1 cup red lentils (masoor)
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
- salt and pepper
- red pepper flakes
- cook the lentils in the turmeric and 2 cups of water over medium heat until tender, ~25 minutes
- heat up a pan with olive oil, and toast the cumin seeds until they become fragrant
- add chopped garlic and the methi leaves, cooking until wilted
- add in the cooked lentils, salt and pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste
- spread on toast and top with egg if desired
photography: Jyotsna Soundararajan