30 December 2010

A perfect brunch: baked tomato and eggs

Savory tomato sauce, rich and velvety with notes of basil and oregano, is something I could eat by the bowlful.  And I love any kind of egg where I can dip strips of golden toast-bread into the warm, gooey yolk.  So ever since my friend Christine over at Chibitofu posted about tomato-baked eggs with toast, I have been hungering to combine these delicious flavors and textures in a single dish.  And with the many festive brunches going on this time of year, I've had ample opportunity to make and enjoy it!

While poaching eggs for a crowd can be a bit of a challenge, and gauging the actual doneness of soft-boiled eggs is a trick in itself (initial egg temperature, size of the pot, strength of the burner, etc. all change the cooking time), the beauty of this recipe for baked eggs is that you can both cook for a large party and easily monitor how quickly your eggs are setting throughout the whole cooking period.

This recipe really lends itself to make-ahead entertaining; in fact, I'd recommend you try this for your New Year's brunch!  The sauce can be prepared a number of days ahead of time, and you can even work it out so that all you need to do on the day-of is to crack the eggs and bake!  Just be sure the ingredients are at room temperature before baking--this will ensure that the yolk heats through during baking and that the nuggets of goat cheese get soft and melty.


This weekend I'm actually going to get to ring in the new year with Christine--I'm super excited to see my college roommate and cooking buddy extraordinaire again!  As I get ready to wrap up 2010 and head out on my little trip, I want to wish you and your loved ones a very happy and prosperous new year!  And einen guten Rutsch wünsche ich to all my German readers!

Here is my version of baked eggs in tomato sauce...enjoy!

Baked Eggs in Spicy Tomato Sauce with Goat Cheese and Toast 
Serves 8

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/2 carrot, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes (or more, to taste)
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 handful fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces, plus more for garnish
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup goat cheese (crumbled)
8 eggs, at room temperature (important!)
8 slices toast bread, toasted to golden brown and cut into triangles

To make the sauce, heat olive oil in a small pot over medium-high heat, and saute the chopped onion, carrots, and garlic for a few minutes until slightly softened.  Add red pepper flakes, crushed tomatoes, oregano, and basil, and stir to combine.  Cover and bring just to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent bottom from burning.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly, then blend well with an immersion stick blender.  (Do Ahead: Sauce can be made up to a week ahead of time.  Reheat before continuing.)

Spoon 1/4 cup of warm sauce into each of 8 ramekins (use leftover sauce for another use), then dot each ramekin with about 2 teaspoons crumbled goat cheese.  (Do Ahead: ramekins can be prepared with sauce and cheese the day before, then covered and refrigerated overnight.  Heat in the pre-heating oven until ramekins and sauce are warm, not hot, and continue with recipe.)  Crack an egg into each ramekin, sprinkle with salt, and bake in a preheated oven at 425 F for 15-20 minutes, until whites have set but yolk is still soft.

Garnish with fresh basil chiffonade, if desired, and serve immediately with toast points for dipping into the yolk and sauce.


Anonymous said...

This looks like the perfect breakfast! I saw a recipe for eggs baked in ramekins on Tasty Kitchen a while ago, and i've been wanting to try that method ever since. Thanks for giving me another little push towards what I'm sure will be a delicious experience.

Anonymous said...

YUM! Wow, drooling now. This looks amazing.

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