Summer Autumn Year Round Breakfast Eggs

Soft-boiled egg with anchovy toast


This is my favourite way to eat a simple boiled egg: crisp toast soldiers dipped into rich, runny egg yolk. There is something magical about the combination of salty anchovy, buttery toast and warm yolk.

I like to use salted anchovies, rather than those preserved in oil, as they blend more easily into the butter. They come packed in salt and need to be cleaned and filleted, which is easier than it sounds: just rinse them gently in water and remove the backbone with your fingers. Anchovies in oil will also work if you haven’t got salted ones; just make sure you drain them well.

It’s worth making a larger batch of anchovy butter as it keeps for up to a week in the fridge and means that breakfast will be quicker to prepare next time.

Serves 1

This recipe originally appeared in my second cookbook, Egg (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)

Photo courtesy of Haarala Hamilton


  • eggs 1-2 , depending on how hungry you are
  • white bread or sourdough a slice, toasted
  • anchovy 1 whole, salted, cleaned and filleted
  • lemon juice a squeeze
  • unsalted butter 10g
  • freshly ground black pepper


  • Boil the egg(s) to your preferred consistency – I recommend soft-boiled. While the eggs are cooking, toast your bread and prepare the anchovy butter. Chop the anchovy finely and pound it with the lemon juice in a pestle and mortar, which will cause it to dissolve slightly. Add the butter and pepper, pounding until smooth and spreadable. (If you are using an anchovy in oil, you may need to add some salt at this stage.)
  • If you don’t have a pestle and mortar, you can do this on a chopping board. Chop the anchovy finely and then use the flat side of the knife blade to squash and spread it repeatedly. Transfer to a bowl and use a fork to blend with the lemon juice and then the butter.
  • Spread the butter on the toast and cut into soldiers.
  • As soon as the eggs are cooked, crack open the top and get dipping.


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