Let’s talk brunch.
With Easter being this weekend, I think this topic is most appropriate, don’t you? Sigh. The magical meal of brunch. Who doesn’t love brunch?! It’s the best of all worlds: breakfast foods and lunch/dinner foods and copious amounts of bubbly cocktails that are automatically justified midday. Yes. Magical.
My sister’s restaurant serves brunch on the weekends, and she let me know that the staff have an inside joke about “basic bitches” who brunch. Hah! She’s referring to the people who come in and order all your stereotypical brunch foods while simultaneously going on and on about how much they love brunch and how they can’t wait to brunch again next weekend.
Now, I find this funny because I am SO ONE OF THOSE BASIC B’s! And proud of it! Brunch is just the best, man. Give me all your mimosas, and no one has to get hurt!
These baked eggs would be PERFECT for a brunch spread, especially when you’re trying to impress with little effort. Baked eggs are a regular thing in my life and have been for a long time. They are the best for so many reasons. They involve eggs. Duh. Only one of my most favorite things on earth. They are hearty and satisfying without being heavy. They are impressive. They are pretty. They are EASY (which make them perfect for a busy weeknight OR brunch). And they’re delicious!
They’re also super customizable. This recipe calls for a quick tomato sauce studded with salty pepperoni and buttery olives, which is the dreamiest little baking bath for the eggs. It also has delicious gooey mounds of fresh mozzarella cheese, copious amounts of fresh basil, and an extra cheesy parmesan finish. And while I think this recipe is perfection, you could easily make this your own.
You could swap the pepperoni out for soppressata or bacon or even prosciutto, use a different cheese, you could even use jarred marinara for this (yes! Really!). Really, the possibilities are endless. The end result is always the same: yummy.
Now, let’s talk about the eggs. I am a runny yolk person through and through. There is almost nothing worse than an overcooked egg, in my opinion. I want yolk practically dripping down my arm when I bite into that egg sandwich. I want my poached eggs to open up and cascade over that English muffin. Usually, the runnier the yolk, the better.
EXCEPT in this case. I actually like my baked eggs a little more on the cooked side. They oven poach in that delicious sauce, and the egg yolks become…creamy. Buttery almost. It’s dreamy.
I love to serve these to a crowd (easily done in a baking dish), or even as a quick dinner for my little family (I often do this in individual ramekins). Served with some crunchy toast, these are pretty much perfection.
Oh, and a mimosa (or three) doesn’t hurt things either. Take it from this basic brunching biyatch.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 (14-oz) can San Marzano tomatoes, crushed
2 tablespoons sugar
1 garlic clove, grated or pressed
Pinch of red pepper flakes
½ cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
½ cup diced pepperoni
Salt and pepper, to taste (go light on the salt because of the olives and pepperoni)
1 cup fresh mozzarella, torn or chopped into chunks
Eggs (4-6, depending on how many people you are serving)
½ cup chopped fresh basil
Olive oil, for drizzling
4 thick slices of crusty bread (I like a whole grain variety for this recipe)
2 garlic cloves, halved
Grated parmesan or romano cheese
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a medium pot, heat the olive oil and garlic over medium heat for a minute or so. Add the red pepper flakes, tomatoes, and sugar and bring to a simmer. Stir in the olives and pepperoni and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Carefully ladle the sauce into a baking dish (or individual ramekins). Make wells in the sauce and crack an egg into each one.
Drop pieces of the mozzarella cheese over the top, nestling them into the sauce ever so slightly. Drizzle everything with a little bit of olive oil and place the baking dish in the preheated oven.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the eggs are set and not jiggly. Remove from the oven and garnish with the basil. Serve warm with the bread alongside for dipping.
Place the bread on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Place in the oven during the last 10 minutes of cooking time for the eggs.
Remove from the oven and while still hot, rub the bread with the halved garlic cloves.
Grate the cheese over top the bread (and the eggs, if desired) and serve immediately.
Adapted from here.