Nested Egg-in-a-Hole for 1 1/2 Eaters Recipe (2024)

Why It Works

  • The circular cut-out from a regular slice of bread is perfect for a baby-size portion.
  • A quail egg is ideal for fitting inside the smaller hole in the center of the circular bread cut-out.
  • Toasting the top side of the bread first will ensure that all of the bread is nicely golden and buttered.

My wife Adriana and I have been using theBaby-led weaningmethod ever since our daughter Alicia started being interested in food. Given that she has been sitting at the kitchen counter while I cook for practically every day of her life, that interest developed early. Happily, even when she was almost eight months old, it still showed no signs of stopping.

What Is Baby-Led Weaning?

The basic gist of Baby-Led Weaning is to simply feed the baby what you're eating yourself*. The positive sides of this approach are extensive. In the long term, your baby develops better gag reflexes (she'll learn that the first time she tries to stick a whole green bean down her throat). There are links to improved hand-eye coordination. Your baby will most likely have a wider palate as she grows up (at eight months, her favorite foods are passionfruit, rotisserie chicken, brie, green beans in vinaigrette, and pizza). In the short term, it means you don't have to sit there and feed your baby bite-by-bite at every meal. You get to enjoy your own food while the baby enjoys hers. And, of course, you don't need a food masher, food processor, blender,whatever.

*Please don't use the method withoutreading the book first. There are a few risks that you don't want to subject your child to.

The Benefits of Baby-Led Weaning

The method also has a few side effects. On the negative side, it's messy. Very messy. We take Alicia down to her diaper and use a silicone bib for every meal. Our dog Shabu positions herself directly under Alicia's seat at mealtimes and acts as a living vacuum cleaner. But, on the plus side, because every time I cook I'm cooking for myself and Alicia (and usually Adri, too), meals have become much more healthy and balanced than they were before the baby arrived. (So much fresh fruit in the house! And prunes. Endless prunes.)

The other thing about this method is that once you start, you'll be prone to excessive bouts of cuteness whenever you cook. Teeny-tiny portions of food are about as cute as baby teeth are sharp (that is to say, very), and on weekdays, when I'm home alone with Alicia, she likes it* when I cook matching plates for her and her Pops. This egg and toast dish is probably the cutest thing I've made for her so far. The idea came to me when I spotted a carton of quail eggs at my local Japanese supermarket one afternoon. Perfect for the baby!

*As any full-time dad can tell you, you take your kid to the aquarium or the garden center or the science museum becausethey'rereally, really into it. Definitely not because you want to go yourself.

Nested Egg-in-a-Hole for 1 1/2 Eaters Recipe (1)

I mean, just look at it!

Going Tiny

It starts like a plain old egg-in-the-hole (orwhatever the heck you want to call it). You know that dish where you cut a ring out of the center of a slice of bread, then break an egg into it while frying the bread in butter? What you might have noticed is that the circular cut-out from the center of your bread is a perfectly baby-sized portion of bread. So all you gotta do is cut a smaller circle out of the center of that one, and you've got the makings of a meal for yourself and the little one out of a single slice of toast.

I like to treat my egg-in-the-hole the way I treat mygrilled cheese: cooked very gently in plenty of butter on a flat griddle (I'm using my Baking Steel Mini) so that it browns nice and evenly. I start by toasting one side of the bread, then slide it off to the side and add a bit more butter before I flip all three pieces and slide them back in the butter. Next, I crack a chicken egg into the large hole and a quail egg into the smaller hole. Finally, I cover the whole thing with a wok lid and let it cook until the egg is just barely set (If you like it more well-done, you can flip the eggs, bread and all, to cook the top side briefly).

I snipped a few chives from the garden on top, then brought it over to my official taste-test partner.

Sometimes Alicia takes a few dainty licks before moving onto something more exciting. Other times, she'll suck on a single piece of food until every last bit of flavor has been extracted and then de-mouths the remaining carcass like a piece of gum that's lost its flavor. This time, she went straight in and didn't stop until the last bit of bread was gone.

Shabu didn't even get a bite.

With seven more quail eggs left in the carton, I'm already planning her next few meals.Thai-style fried rice with blistered green beanstopped with a teeny-tiny crispy fried egg. Baby-sizedNiçoise salad. Oh, I wonder if I can make miniatureajitsuke tamago? Alicia and I will find out.

You can catch a shortvideo of how this is made right here. It may or may not include bonus baby hand.

November 2017

Recipe Details

Nested Egg-in-a-Hole for 1 1/2 Eaters Recipe

Prep5 mins

Cook15 mins

Active15 mins

Total20 mins

Serves1 serving


  • 1 slice high-quality sandwich bread, such asshokupan

  • 1 tablespoon (12g) unsalted butter, divided

  • 1 chicken egg

  • 1 quail egg(see note)

  • Kosher salt, black pepper, and herbs (such as chives) as desired


  1. Preheat a cast iron or non-stick griddle or skillet over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, cut a circular hole out of the center of the slice of bread using a biscuit cutter or empty jar that leaves about 1/2-inch clearance on the sides. Set the slice of bread with the hole missing aside. Using a smaller biscuit cutter or empty jar, cut a smaller hole inside the circular piece of bread. You should now have three pieces of bread: a large rectangle with a circle missing, a circle with a smaller circle missing, and a very small circle.

  2. Add half the butter to the skillet or griddle, spread it around, then add the bread. Cook, moving the bread around occasionally, until the bottom side is golden brown, about 4 minutes. Slide the bread to the side of the griddle or set it aside on a plate.

  3. Add the remaining butter and spread it around. Return the bread to the butter with the browned-side-up. Crack a chicken egg into the large hole and a quail egg into the smaller hole. Season both with salt. Cover with a domed lid and cook until the bottom is browned and the top has barely set. Alternatively, cook uncovered until the bottom is browned, then carefully flip the egg and toast to cook the egg through.

  4. Season to taste with black pepper and herbs, and serve immediately.

Special Equipment

1 1/2-inch and 3-inch biscuit cutter, or two empty jars (about 3-inches and 1 1/2-inches), cast iron or nonstick skillet, domed pan lid


Quail eggs can be found in most Asian grocery stores.

Nested Egg-in-a-Hole for 1 1/2 Eaters Recipe (2024)


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