Most people have a go-to comfort food that makes even the crappiest day a little more tolerable. When I was a kid, I had several. Ice cream, two-liter bottles of Coca Cola Classic, sour cream and onion chips, ham and cheese Hot Pockets, those hot dogs with cheese “food” flecked throughout them. These days I keep those foods out of my kitchen cupboards and away from my digestive tract, but I still crave the comfort that comes from a dish of something warm and flavorful.
As you can surmise from my blog, lacinato kale–particularly when paired with ginger, garlic, and sesame oil–manages to be both healthy and something I crave on a weekly basis. But woman should not survive on kale comfort food alone. It sounds too sad, even to a vegetable lover like me.
Enter today’s recipe, Portuguese-Style Baked Eggs. Certainly not low-fat or cholesterol-free, eggs win second place in Gwynne’s comfort food category. While I love them cooked in all sorts of ways, a runny yolk sets my heart a pitter pattering. (Let’s hope that’s not because my heart is warning me about clogged arteries.)
This Bon Appétit magazine recipe brings together a lightly spiced, vegetable-packed base that is topped with whole eggs and cheese and then baked to gooey perfection in the oven. Watch the oven when you’re baking. You want your yolks to be just slightly set before removing the pan to serve, so that the yolks will mix with the thickened broth in each bowl. Serve with some crusty bread to sop up all the sauce.
While I wouldn’t recommend this recipe for every day cooking, it’s a dish that keeps on giving if you’re making it for two. The recipe made enough for me to enjoy it for dinner and then as leftovers for breakfast and lunch.
Portuguese-style Baked Eggs
(adapted from a Bon Appétit recipe)
Serves 4 to 6
– ¼ cup olive oil
– 3 bell peppers, any color, thinly sliced
– 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
– 2 beefsteak tomatoes, cut into wedges
– 8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
– 1 jalapeño, with seeds, halved lengthwise (I didn’t have one on hand, so I omitted.)
– ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
– 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
– 1½ teaspoons chili powder
– 1 teaspoon paprika
– Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
– 1 cup ricotta
– 6 large eggs
– 1 cup grated sharp white cheddar (about 4 oz.)
– ¼ cup grated Parmesan (about 1 oz.)
– Toasted country-style bread (for serving)
1. Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add bell peppers and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and just beginning to brown, 10–12 minutes.
2. Add tomatoes, garlic, jalapeño, basil, oregano, chili powder, and paprika to pot. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very soft and liquid is thickened, 20–30 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Discard jalapeño, if using.
3. Preheat oven to 400°F. Transfer bell pepper mixture to a a 12-inch cast iron skillet. (The recipe recommends a 13-inch by 9-inch baking dish, which would work just fine, too.) Using the back of a spoon, make 6 evenly spaced divots in mixture. Spoon a dollop of ricotta into each divot, and then crack 1 egg into each. Top with cheddar and Parmesan; season with salt and pepper. Bake, rotating dish halfway through, until Parmesan is melted and egg whites are almost set but yolks are still runny, 15–18 minutes.
4. Serve baked eggs with toast. We used leftover toasted naan. It was delicious, but I bet thick country-style bread would be even better since the recipe yields a lot of flavorful juices to sop up.
Keep in that the egg yolks will continue to cook as dish sits, so serve right away if you prefer your eggs soft. Also, you can make the bell pepper mixture up to a day early. If you go that route, then just let the mixture cool before covering and refrigerating.