Cooking is such a rewarding activity. It doesn't matter if it's just taking salad ingredients from the fridge or creating a 3 hour masterpiece. When you eat a plate of food that you made yourself, and that more importantly tastes great too, then you feel rewarded. It's even better when other people enjoy your food!
Last Sunday, I had a craving for baked eggs. Or to be more accurate, I wanted eggs with spicy tomato chorizo sauce, served with home fries on the side. The only downside to this craving was the time it would take to put together all my ingredients. First up was the making of a spicy chorizo sauce. While that was bubbling down, I cooked my potatoes in the microwave, sliced them and got them frying in a skillet. The very last step was to bake the eggs in a ramekin along with some sauce, covered by a protective layer of parmesan.
I posted several photos on Twitter during the course of making the dish, and received several requests for the recipe. I wish that I had had a chance to stage my photos, and take beautiful, arty, moody food shots. But let's be honest, that was not going to happen on the Sunday morning after a bottle of cava the night before. So iPhone photos it is.
Warning - I like to make my sauce as rich and flavoursome as I can. I am a flavour junkie. By the time that it is served with eggs and home fries, the effect will be diluted somewhat, so bear that in mind when adjusting your seasoning.
Spicy Chorizo Tomato Sauce
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1/4 chorizo sausage, diced
1 teaspoon pimentón picante (spicy smoked paprika)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt & pepper to season
Heat some oil in a heavy, large frying pan and sautee the onions and garlic until lightly browned. Add the chorizo and fry, stirring frequently until the onions are coloured with the oil from the chorizo. At this stage, I like to add an extra teaspoon of pimentón and cook gently for another minute or two to pump up the Spanish chorizo flavour.
Add the tin of chopped tomatoes and mix well. Add the sugar, season with salt and pepper and leave to cook down. Using a large, heavy bottomed pan will help the sauce reduce down faster, as the liquid will have more room to evaporate. Taste continuously as it reduces and adjust the seasoning as required. Once the sauce has reached a nice thick consistency, take the pan off the heat and put to one side until ready to assemble.
The photo below shows some leftover sauce from my cooking - look at that lovely dark, rich colour. That sauce didn't go to waste either, as Himself later used it for a quick pasta dish.
|Leftover spicy chorizo tomato sauce|
One of the great things about getting breakfast in the US can be the addition of home fries - or crispy fried cubes of potato. I don't know why those horrendous lumps of raw potato that masquerade as hash browns are so popular for hotel breakfasts in this country. Homefries are far far nicer, and so very satisfying.
To make these, I quickly cooked some new potatoes in the microwave until just cooked. Once they had cooled enough to handle (no asbestos hands here), I simply cut them into half and then sliced into half-moons. By now, I had emptied the spicy sauce from my trusty cast-iron skillet, given it a quick rinse and had heated up some oil and a little knob of butter.
I laid the potatoes into the oil and left them alone for a few minutes to crisp up nice and brown. Don't be tempted to start flipping the potatoes too early as they may start to disintegrate from too much handling. Wait instead until the first side is nice and brown before flipping over to repeat. Once the fries are at your preferred stage of crunchiness, turn them out onto some kitchen paper to drain.
|Homefries browning nicely|
Have your oven preheated to about 160 C (turn it on while making the spicy sauce). I chose to bake my eggs in a set of large ramekins which I half filled with my delicious dark spicy sauce. I then carefully cracked in two eggs, which bought me close to the top of the ramekin. I added a nice thick crust of protective cheese (parmesan in this case) on top to protect the eggs from overcooking in the oven.
The ramekin was placed on a baking sheet (to make it easy to get in and out of the oven), and the entire lot was placed in the oven for about 15-20 mins or until the crust was nicely set and golden brown at the edges. The eggs were taken from the oven and left to cool and settle for about 5 minutes before serving. Word of warning - this dish can be El Scorchio in the inside, so hold your horses and give it a few minutes before digging in.
|Baked eggs just out of the oven|