I’m sure I’ll start whining about the cold soon, but for the moment, I’m loving how the days have been bright and breezy and the nights have cooled enough for jeans and a cardy. Cooler temps also mean it’s finally appropriate for me to post one of my favorite comfort food recipes: hearty eggs in marinara. Put an emphasis on hearty, folks, because this is not a breakfast dish but rather a great excuse for eggs in the evening.
As an equal opportunity omnivore, I am generally open to eating anything, anytime of day. During debauchery-filled college weekends, my roommates and I would arise in the p.m. hours, groggy and in need of sustenance, and while Rachael habitually required classic breakfast fare for her first meal of the day, I was content nuking leftover pizza.
This is probably why, when I spent a semester of undergrad in Alicante, Spain, I was completely at home with their custom of serving eggs with everything at any time but breakfast. Hamburguesa especial, a burger piled high with the standard fixin’s and topped with a slice of jamón (the Spanish love their ham) and a fried egg, was a particular artery-clogging fave.
Susana, the sweet Argentine woman who played the part of my madre while I shared her brightly furnished apartment, also loved topping fried pork cutlet with marinara, melted provolone and, of course, a fried egg. (This delicious culprit was a contributing factor to why, despite my pedestrian lifestyle and the five flights of stairs I regularly climbed up to our brightly painted piso, I did not, in fact, lose weight during my six months on the Mediterranean coast.)
Nevertheless, this abundance of post-siesta eggs has led to my own experimentation in the States, though I must say my concoctions are sufficiently reduced in calorie count. So back to eggs in red sauce, a wholly successful experiment…
One of my most fool-proof meals and a regular in our evening rotation, we whip up this eggs-for-dinner dish to polish off an aging jar of red sauce. If you’re picking up a fresh jar or making your own sauce at home, aim for a nice chunky tomato version with some character to it. (I’m a fan of Bertolli’s Olive Oil and Garlic Sauce.)
You can also bulk up a sauce by sautéing onion, garlic, bell pepper, mushrooms and diced tomatoes to add to the mix.
For a hungry table of two, you’ll need:
Hearty Eggs in Marinara
- 4 eggs
- 2-2 1/2 cups tomato sauce
- 1/4-1/2 cup grated parmesan or mozzarella
- 1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup onion, diced
- 1/2 cup mushrooms, bell peppers and/or winter squash, diced
- Handful fresh herbs, such as basil, oregano or thyme
- Coarse salt and ground pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 baguette crusty bread
Note: Those of you whose eggs have questionable origins may want to wait out the salmonella outbreak, as this dish calls for slightly runny yolks. But if you’re content that your eggs don’t hail from Iowa, have at it.
Prep onion, garlic and veggies, and toss with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper in a flat-bottomed skillet on medium heat, stirring occasionally until softened. Pour red sauce over veggies and stir to combine all ingredients.
When simmering, make a well in the sauce near the edge of the pan and crack the first egg into the hole. Repeat for the rest of your eggs, spacing out the wells to keep the egg whites from running together, (though it’s not a huge deal if they do). You will essentially be poaching them using the sauce.
Meanwhile, cut bread into 1-inch slices and prepare for toasting.
When the eggs finish cooking (whites are no longer clear), sprinkle with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, grated cheese and fresh herbs. Allow to simmer until cheese melts. Toast bread slices while you wait.
Divide eggs and sauce evenly between two bowls and serve immediately with bread for dipping. Make yummy noises and let the warm waves of comfort wash over you.
Don’t have a baguette on hand and not feeling a grocery run? Toast some stale sandwich bread or hot dog/hamburger buns and smother with sauce and eggs.
Have your own go-to comfort foods? Let’s hear ’em.