French Baked Eggs

   French Baked Eggs      | Image:   Laura Messersmith

French Baked Eggs | Image: Laura Messersmith

Isn't it nice when last night's dinner offers a head start on next morning's breakfast? Here in New York, despite being the (alleged) First Day of Spring we are currently “enjoying” a little snow storm to welcome the season. Yay? Tangent alert: Days like this remind me of elementary school when we’d make “out like a lion, in like a lamb” paper plate crafts by curling construction paper manes around our novelty size pencils and gluing cotton balls for wool. Just me?

Anyway, I’m holding out hope that we will finish March with mild weather, but while the lionish weather is still holding firm I’m sticking with comfort food. This baked egg dish could not be easier or more hands off and it has the dual benefit of being what I think of as a “leftover-makeover.”

Case in point: remember the Company Pot Roast from the other week? It was awesome, but once the roast was gone I still had several cups of beautifully seasoned and deeply flavored sauce. I hate wasting food so there was no way I'd throw something so delicious away. Thankfully, I was reminded by an article in Bon Appétit that both Portugal and Italy have versions of a dish where an egg is poached in rich tomato sauce. The leftover bourgiugnon-style sauce seemed like a great way to make a French inspired take on a Mediterranean classic. Just an idea to file away the next time you have extra stores of tomato-based sauce….

   French Baked Eggs    | Image:   Laura Messersmith

French Baked Eggs | Image: Laura Messersmith

French Baked Eggs (yield: 4 servings)

Ingredients:
4 cups Company Pot Roast tomato sauce
4 large eggs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
8 slices multigrain bread, toasted

Instructions:
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Divide the tomato sauce equally between four medium ramekins (16 ounce) or other small oven safe dishes. Place the ramekins in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the sauce it hot and bubbling.

Use a spoon to create a well in the sauce and crack a whole egg into each depression. Return the ramekins to the oven and continue to bake for another 8-10 minutes. Meanwhile, toast the slices of multigrain bread.

When the whites have turned opaque and firm, but the yolk is still soft remove from the oven. Divide the grated parmesan cheese, fresh thyme leaves, kosher salt, and pepper evenly and sprinkle over the top of each ramekin.

Eggs continue to cook once removed from the oven, so serve immediately while the yolks are still runny with slices of toasted multigrain bread for dipping.

Inspired by and partially adapted from Eggs in Purgatory by Nigella Lawson and Portuguese Baked Eggs by Bon Appétit

   French Baked Eggs    | Image:   Laura Messersmith

French Baked Eggs | Image: Laura Messersmith

Small Kitchen Friendly?
Yes, indeed. I used four 16-ounce, oven-safe ramekins, a liquid measuring cup, measuring spoons, microplane grater, a large spoon, bread knife, and medium cutting board. That’s it!

The Verdict:
I was initially suspicious when I first heard of this dish. The combination of tomato sauce and eggs just seemed bizarre, and when I decided to re-use the sauce from the Company Pot Roast I was afraid we’d try it and immediately have to call for pizza. I want to be modest, but it was delicious and both Mike and I dove right in cleaning our proverbial plates. I advise leaving the yolks uncooked and mixing them around with the tomato, it’s awesome. Don’t skimp on the toast – you’ll need it!

  French Baked Eggs  | Image:  Laura Messersmith

French Baked Eggs | Image: Laura Messersmith