January 11, 2012

Egg-scuse the Interruption

Eggs Baked in Roasted Tomato Sauce

Oh, it's been a while, I know, I know. I have this long, running list of excuses and apologies in my head, just waiting to be typed out and posted, but the thought of doing that sort of exhausts me. The list alone, jumping and bouncing around in my head, is tiring enough! No need to document it. Basically, the month of December was crazy, one thing after another, and more cans of tuna were opened and breakfasty dinners consumed than I'd like to admit. No time, no balance, enough said.

Although January will now be filled with what I pushed to the side and avoided in December (procrastinate is my middle name, didn't I tell you?), it feels so good to let loose in the kitchen again. I also think it calms and grounds me. It's the one time all those thoughts settle down a bit and come together so well. Everything becomes a little bit quieter up there, and after a long, loud day, that's a wonderful thing.

I saw this egg recipe while checking my email in the middle of the night over the weekend (ok, bathroom run... sorry... new year's resolution to always be honest, or at least demonstrate an increased attempt to be more truthful? As a tried and true procrastinator, dishonest or more like misleading statements or behaviors, seem to just happen at times. At least I recognize the problem and like I said, I'm trying...) Anyway, I had everything but the Parmesan cheese, so I jumped at the chance to make the dish Sunday morning (another resolution! Grab every opportunity I can! I'm on fire these first ten days of the year, man) and am so glad that I did.

I modified a few of the original plans, but the end result was a delightful Sunday morning brunch. I usually do not enjoy saucy dishes, finding the sauce to drown out the rest of the ingredients or the dish to be too acidic, but after using some canned San Marzano plum tomatoes and a few additional ingredients, I may have found one sauce I not only tolerate, but that I thoroughly enjoy. It made a lovely, juicy bed for a few cracked eggs, that was then topped by the cheese, some salt and pepper, and parsley. I kept the dish in the oven a bit longer than the recipe suggested, which made for for a browned and bubbling topping, although the eggs were clearly cooked and set by that time, and not as runny as I prefer. Serve this with some crusty bread and you have a very satisfying start to the day.

One extra addition that I excitedly added and the one that I think made the sauce and the overall dish really pop was Hepp's Salt Barrel Black Truffle Salt. Aromatic, with intense, sharp flavor, the salt gave the sauce such an incredible flavor boost. I picked it up two weekends ago at a farmer's market in Pacific Palisades on my last day out in California. In the 80º December sun, I quickly zig-zagged through the market, keeping an eye on John, making sure to avoid him and also hoping he became distracted by some good-looking fruit or soap or something, while I continued to throw out the last of my dollar bills for beautiful meyer lemons, crisp organic pea shoots, blood orange olive oil and finally the salt. I swear though (all devious, deceptive history aside) one whiff or little lick of a few of these salt crystals, with these tiny flecks of black truffle, and you are hooked. 

Overall this was an easy brunch dish to prepare at the last minute, and one that I will be sure to make again. Enjoy!

Eggs Baked in Roasted Tomato Sauce
adapted from The F&W Daily Newsletter

*1 28 oz. can San Marzano plum tomatoes
*2-3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
*2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
*1-2 tsp. dried oregano or dried parsley or basil (or a mixture of eachP
*Hepp's Salt Barrel Black Truffle Salt (although any sea salt will do) and freshly ground pepper, to taste
*1/2 c. fresh baby spinach
*1/2 cup fresh parsley, 1 tsp. extra for topping
*6-8 eggs
*2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400º.

In a small pan over medium heat, roast the garlic in the olive oil until fragrant and cooked, no more than 2 1/2 minutes. Remove from heat and reserve.

Place the tomatoes, oregano, spinach, 1/2 cup parsley, cooked garlic, salt and pepper to taste in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until well-combined. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Strain the pureed sauce and press out the solids if desired, as well (I omitted this step and still had great results).

Pour sauce into a 4 shallow ovenproof bowls or large, round pie dish placed on a backing sheet. Crack 2 eggs per small bowl or all the eggs into the large dish. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the eggs and bake the eggs for 15 minutes, until the whits are just set (3-5 minutes longer if you do not enjoy your eggs on the runny side). Sprinkle with remaining parsley and serve hot with crusty, toasted bread.

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