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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
Start to Finish: 35 minutes


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.

Finishing Touches

It's the details that count! Try these tips

  • Feel free to use different greens in place of the spinach. Chef Mattick recommends trying beet greens or stemless Swiss chard leaves.

  • Stop by Milo and Olive next time you’re in Los Angeles.

  • Try another toad-in-the-hole recipe, like this one from the Food Network.

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