Say yasssssss to Spring being around the corner, especially after we had one too many snowstorms this past winter. As I’m writing this, we’re due for another snowstorm (or dusting) the next day. Usually my refrigerator is packed with flour, buttermilk, orange juice, eggs and maple syrup for a pancake breakfast. This time, there will be no pancakes to celebrate another snowflake.
Overlooking the buttermilk, I remove left over red quinoa from a salad made earlier in the week. I find other ingredients for a quick breakfast: Crisp baby kale, a new jar of harissa spice, fresh thyme and plenty of eggs. On a whim, a savory tomato and egg dish with a bit of harissa spice was made.
It’s a simple breakfast. The sausages are browned to a crisp. Onions are stirred until translucent. Tomato sauce is spiced with harissa. The ingredients are layered in new stainless steel half quart cocottes Dad gifted me last Christmas (he said they’re more durable than ceramic ramekins).
Before the dish was placed in the oven, one or two raw eggs were cracked over the sauce. Since, I’m not partial to runny eggs, the yoke is broken and swirled around the pot (don’t stir into the tomato sauce). Of course, runny eggs is what makes this dish, and if that’s your preference, drop the egg over the sauce, sprinkle with sea salt and fresh black pepper and send it to the oven. Finish this dish with a sprinkling of shredded cheese and a dollop of harissa.
Pancakes are always an old favorite for snowstorms, but baking eggs in a spicy tomato sauce could become a traditional breakfast favorite to enjoy year-round (I’ve made a version of this dish with summer tomatoes and fresh basil during the summer). Meanwhile, I continue to silently yell, “Yassssssss,” to the fierce chill winds leftover from a receding winter that continues to rattle my windows in an effort to awaken Spring. Say it with me…
Baked Eggs in Harissa Spice Tomato Sauce with Quinoa and Kale
- Olive oil; as needed
- 2 chorizo turkey or pork sausages; vertically cut in half and quartered
- A handful of baby kale
- 1-cup cooked quinoa; if possible, slightly under cooked
- Sea salt; as needed
- Fresh black pepper; as needed
- 1 small onion; finely diced
- 1 to 2 garlic cloves; minced
- 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
- A few twigs of fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1-14 oz. canned chopped tomatoes (no salt or seasoning)
- ¼ cup mildly spiced harissa; plus more as garnish
- 5 to 6 large eggs
- Finely shredded hard cheese; as needed
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Use a little olive oil to grease individual baking dishes such as two half quart stainless steel cocottes, four-3 to 5 oz. ramekins or two-6 in. cast iron skillets. Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil.
- Evenly divide kale and quinoa in each individual baking dish. Season with a little salt and black pepper. Set aside.
- In a large skillet heat about 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add sausages, cut side down. Cook until the cut side is slightly crispy brown on the cut side. Turn over to cook the other side for a couple minutes or until the sausage starts to slightly curl or bend. Evenly divide cut sausage among individual baking dishes that are lined with quinoa and kale. Set aside.
- Add chopped onions to the skillet and stir for a few minutes until they're soft and translucent. Add garlic, smoked paprika, thyme, sea salt and fresh black pepper. Stir in diced tomatoes and harissa. Cover, reduce to low heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Evenly divide harissa spiced tomatoes among the baking dishes.
- Crack eggs into each baking dish (discard shells). Depending on the size of the dish, some dishes can have more than one egg. Break the egg yolk to slightly stir if runny eggs aren’t preferred.
- Place baking dishes over the lined baking sheet. Place in the oven to bake for at least 20 minutes. Time is based on the type of egg dish preference. As long as the egg white is cooked -- indicated by the opaque white part of the egg -- the dish is ready from 20 to 25 minutes. Cook for at least 30 minutes for solid egg yolks.
- Remove baking dishes from oven. Garnish with cheese and more harissa.
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