I love eggs. Could eat them every day, even twice a day. They’re so easy to prepare, marry well with all kinds of ingredients, and give you a quick shot of protein that carries you through the day effortlessly. They’re inexpensive, too. What’s not to love about the egg?
I’ve seen many recipes for baked eggs, and am recently witnessing the frequent, trendy pop up of recipes for shakshouka, a dish of eggs baked in a tomato sauce. The dish is probably of Tunisian origin, though I’m not sure. What am I sure of, is that baking eggs in a tomato sauce is definitely a good thing.
You can give your tomato sauce a boost of ethnic flavour by varying the spices you add to it: think cumin for a Middle Eastern flair, or basil for a decidedly Italian note. In my latest Amazon book delivery, I practically devoured Jody Williams’ first book, Buvette, which celebrates the best of good Italian and French bistro home cooking. There is a significant chapter dedicated to breakfast and brunch goodies, and one of these recipes is called Uovo al Forno, or oven baked eggs, Italian style. Here, Jody praises the merits of baked eggs in simple tomato sauce, and gives it an Italian twist by giving the sauce an “all’Amatriciana” working.
For those of you who are familiar with all’Amatriciana, it’s the Italian stamp for adding bacon and onions to a tomato or pasta sauce. And a clever one it is – I add bacon and onions to all kinds of recipes, and I often add it to my tomato sauce for a quick, easy but different pasta dish.
Sometimes, you see a picture or recipe of a dish that looks superb, and it suddenly gives you a craving for it. Jody’s recipe (and gorgeous accompanying photo) did that to me, so for today’s lunch, nothing else would do. A half empty bottle of red wine on the counter was calling my name, and because it was already early afternoon, I decided to skip the onions and unnecessary chopping. A stack of fresh beefsteak tomatoes demanded my attention, so this is what we did…and it was wonderful.
I made this dish for two, but you could easily double it. If you’re out of fresh tomatoes, use canned as Jody does. I’d recommend a 14 oz can for two people, or the larger 28 oz can for four. If you don’t have any wine on hand, I totally wouldn’t let that stop you from making this. Simply add more tomato juice instead of wine. Though if you are going the wine route, I highly recommend serving some alongside your beautiful baked eggs for a gloriously simple yet elegant bistro lunch.
Meat and Tater Man said this would be a perfect morning after hangover cure. He also said our daughter would love it, and sure enough, when she came home and saw the “after” pictures on my camera, she asked that I make this very soon again, and this time for her.
This dish is easy to make and can be modified to suit your tastes. Feel free to add some seasonings to your sauce - think Italian and sprinkle in a bit of basil or oregano. If you want to add some chopped onion or shallots to the sauce, go for it! If you don't want to use wine, no problem. Just add more tomato juice.
If you don't have an ovenproof skillet, you can transfer the cooked sauce into small individual baking dishes, and then crack the eggs over the sauce. Then bake as directed. A sprinkling of fresh chives is optional but highly recommended.
The recipe doubles easily.
- 4 strips of bacon, diced
- 2 medium tomatoes, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup red wine (optional)
- 1/4 cup tomato juice
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 eggs
- Chives, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- In a small ovenproof skillet, cook the diced bacon over medium heat until it's browned and crispy, about 5 minutes.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, and cook 5 more minutes until the juices are released and start to reduce, stirring occasionally to scrape the tasty bits at the bottom of the skillet.
- Add the minced garlic, and cook 2 minutes more, or until it starts to get fragrant.
- Add the red wine. If you don't want to use red wine, substitute tomato juice. Continue cooking for a few minutes, until the wine is reduced by at least half.
- Add the tomato juice, and continue cooking a few minutes more, until the sauce is bubbling and simmering. Season with a pinch of salt, and some freshly ground pepper to taste.
- Crack each egg into the skillet.
- Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until eggs are set.
- Remove the skillet from the oven, let sit for a few minutes, then serve.