When I first saw this recipe, I thought: This is shakshuka. A rose by any other name, and all that.
Then I realized that while it was very similar to shakshuka, it actually was different because of two things: The potato base and the baking at the end. Shakshuka, or Persian egg stew, usually comes together in a skillet and doesn’t require any oven time.
This dish requires layering sliced fingerling potatoes at the bottom of a 9×9 baking pan. It also involves baking. You pour the cooked tomatoes on top of the potatoes, stick the pan in the oven, and wait for it to come together. Once everything melds together, you take it out of the oven, make six holes (much like you would for shakshuka), and crack eggs in. Then you return the baking dish to the oven and wait for the egg whites to set and the yolks to get bright orange, the way they are when you poach them.
This dish is probably going to become a winter favorite for me because it’s basically a shakshuka/baked eggs hybrid. I can get down with that. It’s extra delicious when eaten with pieces of crusty bread. I like to use the bread to mop up the sauce. It always makes me think of my host father in the French family I stayed with when I studied abroad in college. I learned how to do that from him.
In other news, it’s almost Christmas break and I’m very excited about it. I don’t have any real plans besides spending time with my sister and making overnight French toast casserole. We’ll see what else the weekend brings.
Here’s a song that I’ve been jamming out to lately. It doesn’t have anything to do with these eggs or Christmas, but it’s still pretty great.
Indian-Spiced Egg Casserole (adapted from the NYT)
1 ½ pounds fingerling potatoes
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 poblano pepper, seeded if desired, finely chopped
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded if desired, finely chopped
2 Tbsp finely chopped peeled ginger
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground garam masala
½ tsp ground coriander
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
¼ cup chopped fresh mint, more for garnish
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro or basil, more for garnish
black pepper, as needed
Place the fingerling potatoes in a large pot filled with heavily salted water. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cook for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Drain, run briefly under cold water, and then wait until they are cool enough to handle to slice them into 1/2 inch pieces.
In the meantime, make your sauce. Fry the onion in vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Wait until they’re soft and then add the peppers and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic, ground spices, and tomatoes. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Let it cook down for about 15 minutes, breaking up the tomatoes with a fork. Stir in the chopped cilantro and basil.
Layer the fingerling potatoes at the bottom of a 9×9 baking dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour the hot tomato sauce on top and smooth down with a spatula. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the top looks set.
Take the dish out of the oven and make 6 wells. Crack an egg into each well and carefully return the pan to the oven. Bake for about 8 minutes, or until the whites are set but still a little runny, and the centers are bright and runny like poached eggs. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with more salt, pepper, mint, and cilantro. Enjoy!