Monday, September 8, 2014

Baked Eggs in Tomato Pepper Sauce

The other day I craved something I haven't eaten in over twenty years - a fried egg sandwich smothered in sugary ketchup.  After immediately indulging, I started to wonder if there wasn't a more grown-up version.  This wonderful dish is the result of those musings.  The deep rich flavours are much more satisfying than bottled ketchup, and the addition of peppers makes it more substantial as well.  This dish is all about developing layers of flavour - and it is well worth the wait.  This would be perfect for a rainy fall dinner served with toasted crusty bread or even over rice (I prefer toast, Scott prefers rice - the same way we like our chili!).

One side note, though.  I forgot to tell Scott what he was eating, and he was a bit disappointed that the eggs weren't mounds of melted mozzarella.  Not a bad idea, though...

Because this recipe is developed over time with the addition of more and more ingredients, it is one of those dishes that should be "seasoned as you go".  This means to add a bit more salt with each addition of new ingredients in order to make sure that it is seasoned correctly.

Serves 4 - 5.


2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, quartered and sliced thinly
2 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
a pinch - 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes, depending on how spicy you want it.
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp paprika
3 bell peppers sliced thinly (I used one red, one orange, and one yellow)
10 - 14 cocktail tomatoes
1 cup passata (or 28 oz diced tomatoes instead of cocktail tomatoes and passata)
1 tsp Italian herbs (or oregano and/or thyme)
1 pinch saffron (optional)
4 -5 large eggs
2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
salt, pepper


1. In a large oven-safe skillet or pan, sauté the oil, onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, brown sugar, paprika, salt, and pepper until the onion is soft and caramelized, about 10 - 15 minutes.  This is a dish that is sticky and will develop colour on the bottom of the pan, but if it looks like it is going to burn, add a splash of water.

2. Add the bell peppers and a bit more salt, and sauté for another 15 minutes until they are very soft.  When you think they are done, keep cooking them a bit longer.

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Add the tomatoes and passata (or diced tomatoes) along with the Italian herbs, saffron (if using), and a bit more salt, and cook for another 15 minutes, until the sauce is rich and thick.

4. Break one egg into a small bowl.  Make a well in the tomato sauce and pour the egg from the bowl into the sauce.  Repeat with the remaining three eggs.

5. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 10 - 12 minutes, depending on how runny you like your yolks.  Finish with fresh basil. Enjoy!

Shopping Tips:

1. Passata is strained tomatoes and is sold in jars near the pasta sauce.

2. Saffron, the hand-picked stigma of the crocus flower, is the most expensive spice.  It adds another layer of flavour here, but is not absolutely necessary.

3. If you cannot find cocktail tomatoes, use canned diced tomatoes instead.  Cocktail tomatoes are very juicy and will give this dish the liquid it needs.  This is a great winter dish when made with canned tomatoes.


  1. What a great idea for family brunch, Shannon! "We" could try it on Thanksgiving weekend at the lake!