Harissa Baked Eggs

(Donal Skehan)
(Donal Skehan)

Introduction

Whether for brunch, lunch, or dinner, these baked eggs are a speedy way to provide booming flavor and a dose of healthy comfort food. A basic tomato sauce is the hallmark of any good home cook, and here it is put to good use to coddle eggs until their yolks are runny and dreamy. With an injection of dark heat from the harissa paste, for me, this is all too often the answer to the question: “What’s for dinner?”

Number Serves

4

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, very finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
  • 1 red chili, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3 t0 4 heaping tablespoons harissa paste
  • Two 14-oz cans plum tomatoes
  • Large handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 4 large free-range eggs
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Toasted Super Seed Bread slices (see below), to serve

Directions

1. Heat the olive oil in a deep ovenproof frying pan over medium heat and fry the onion for 6 to 8 minutes, or until softened. Add the garlic, chili, and paprika, and fry for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the mixture becomes aromatic.

2. Stir in the harissa paste and tomatoes, pressing the tomatoes down with the back of a fork until you are left with a smoothish consistency. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes at a gentle simmer, until the sauce thickens and intensifies. Season to taste. Heat the oven to 400 F (350 F fan).

3. Stir in the cilantro, reserving a few leaves to garnish. If you want an even smoother sauce, transfer it to a food processor and blend until it is velvety, and then return the sauce to the pan (or to individual ovenproof dishes).

4. Use the back of a ladle to make 4 wells in the sauce and crack an egg into each one. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, until the eggs are just set, but the yolks are still runny. Sprinkle the reserved cilantro on top and devour with warm toasted slices of Super Seed Bread for dipping.

Super Seed Bread

Eating more healthily often means cutting out creature comforts like white bread, but I still crave things like toast piled with scrambled eggs or a quick snack of bread with nut butter. This bread is the real deal—thinly sliced and toasted, it’s the perfect vehicle for almost any topping.

Makes 1 loaf

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup sesame seeds
  • 9 ounces rye flour
  • 1 heaping cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons quick-rising active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1. Toast the seeds in a large, dry frying pan over medium-high heat, until golden brown. Allow the seeds to cool and then transfer them to a large mixing bowl.

2. Add both flours and the yeast, and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Make a well in the center of the bowl.

3. Measure the warm water into a mixing bowl, and then whisk in the honey, salt, and olive oil until dissolved. Pour this into the well of dry ingredients and mix them together until you are left with a firm dough. Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and roughly knead it for a minute or so. Transfer the dough back to the bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it rise for 1 hour, although the dough won’t change dramatically in size in that time.

4. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 400 F (350 F fan) and line a 2-pound loaf pan with parchment paper.

5. Turn the dough out and shape it into a loaf. Place it in the lined pan and bake the bread for 40 minutes, or until it is light brown. Remove the bread from the oven and allow it to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.

Reprinted from “Fresh” by Donal Skehan. Published by Sterling Epicure.