The Improvisational Egg Bake

Look at that stunner! 

Way back when Kendrick and I first moved to our little Upper East Side walk-up, I developed a thing for baked eggs – or, more specifically, oeufs en cocotte, which are eggs baked in cream. I just love how they take something so ordinary, and treat it like a luxury. It’s how weekend mornings should be: slow and a little indulgent.

Which brings me to the baked egg dish I made this weekend: It’s kind of similar the North African dish called shakshuka, except quite a bit milder because a) children and b) I was improvising with what I had on hand. (As an aside, I first started looking into shakshuka recipes because I keep hearing that Trader Joe’s sells an amazing starter, and I keep wanting to buy it. Except the closest Trader Joe’s is a solid 45 minutes away, soooo: no starter for me.)

eggs baked with tomatoes onions and bread

The end result was not only spectacularly pretty, but easy, inexpensive, filling, and a child-pleaser (!). And really: The variations you can make on this are endless. Bacon! Sour cream! Feta! Try all the things.

First, though, here’s the basic recipe.


What You Need: 

10 eggs

1 can diced tomatoes

1 yellow onion, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

3-4 cups cubed stale bread

1 1/2 cups milk

Parsley or cilantro to garnish

What You Do: 

  1. In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat a little olive oil. Cook the onion until just translucent, then add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, another 30 seconds. Add diced tomatoes (including juice) and salt/pepper, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer 20-30 minutes.
  2. Grease a casserole dish or pan (I used a cake tin because that’s all I could find). Sprinkle in half the cubed bread.
  3. Whisk together 6 eggs and the milk. Season generously. Pour half the mixture over the cubed bread.
  4. When the tomato mixture is done, pour it over the cubed bread, then pour over the remaining egg/milk mixture, pressing gently with the back of a spatula to make sure all the bread is moistened.
  5. Bake at 375F for 30 minutes. Then use a spoon to make little divots in the tomato/bread, and gently add an egg to each. Season and return to the oven. Bake another 30 minutes or so, or until the eggs are cooked to your liking. Serve garnished with fresh chopped cilantro or parsley.
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