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Toad in the Hole
Toad in the Hole Photo courtesy of Emily Hart Roth

Whether you called it a one-eyed Egyptian, birds in a nest or hobo eggs, the thrifty dish that weds a soft-yolk egg with a piece of toast had a place on most of our childhood breakfast tables. At Santa Monica’s Milo and Olive, the dish is making a comeback care of chef Jason Mattick’s brunch-time spin. Mattick brings the kiddie favorite up to date with a pairing of warm bacon-studded spinach. Use the best bacon and freshest spinach and eggs to re-create this dish at home and we promise your brunch guests will be eager to revisit an old favorite from their youth.

Makes 4 servings

4 thick slices whole-wheat bread

4 thick-cut bacon slices, cut crosswise into ½-inch pieces

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 pound spinach (about 2 bunches), trimmed

1 tablespoon thyme leaves

Juice of ½ lemon (about 1 tablespoon)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pinch of red-pepper flakes

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

4 large eggs

1. Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut a circle into the center of each slice of bread. Remove the middle piece and reserve for another use. Set aside the bread slices.

2. In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until crispy and rendered, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute. Add the spinach and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, until the spinach wilts, about 4 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the lemon juice. Season the spinach with the salt, pepper and red-pepper flakes. Cover to keep warm.

3. While the spinach cooks, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bread slices and cook until lightly toasted, about 1 minute per side. Crack 1 egg into the middle of each slice and cook until the whites start to set, about 3 minutes. Flip the bread slices and eggs and cook until the whites are completely set but the yolks are still runny, about 1 minute longer. Remove the skillet from the heat.

4. Divide the spinach evenly among four plates, then add the toast and eggs to each plate and serve immediately.

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