Moroccan Baked Eggs

There is something I love about discovering familiar things in unexpected places.  The hint of chocolate in the savory depths of a bowl of chili, the roll of thunder and flash of lightning in the midst of winter, a face you know and love in a strange, foreign crowd. I don’t think you fully know a thing until this happens. We need contrast to expose the full spectrum of possibility that any one thing possesses - novelness to appreciate it fully.

Recently, this happened to me with eggs. I was gawking over the ethereal beauty of Brian Ferry’s photography over at The Blue Hour when I came across a vivid and absolutely resplendent photo of someone enjoying Moroccan baked eggs. “Moroccan baked eggs?!?”, I thought. These are eggs as I have never known them. I opened up my favorite (and only)  Moroccan cookbook – Casa Moro – by Sam and Sam Clark (an exceptional book, by the by)  and there, amongst the pages that I thought I knew so very well, was a recipe. How did I miss this?

You might think you know an egg, even though an egg is, quite frankly, a difficult thing to know. They are so multi-dexterous, taking so many forms. Boiled, scrambled, poached, fried, whipped into soft peaks/hard peaks, suspending oil in water, binding together the tender crumbs of a cake or the shreds of vegetable in a fritter, souffled into cloud like lightness.  They are the food of many faces, many disguises. And yet, here was a face I had not known.

To be honest, I’d grown a little bored of eggs of late. My husband could eat an egg every day for breakfast without flinching. I am more fickle in my affections. Some days, their congealed form staring up at me at 6 in the morning while I struggle to gain functioning consciousness just does not do it for me. Other days they are a thing that ignites ravenous hunger in a way no other food exactly can. Somedays there is simply nothing like an egg.

When I awoke on Saturday morning, it was an egg day. It was cold and rainy, and the thought of softly poached eggs immersed within an exotically spiced tomato sauce laced with onions, garlic and chilies and left to bake together in a hot oven was a thing of warmth and comfort.  A familiar thing in an unexpected place. An egg known more completely than before.

Moroccan Baked Eggs

Adapted from Moro East by Sam and Sam Clark.  As suitable for breakfast as for dinner, and especially good served with an anise scented flatbread to use as your edible fork.

 Serves 2.

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 16 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 – 6 garlic cloves, sliced into rounds
  • 1 red or green chili, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
  • a pinch of cayenne
  • a pinch of saffron (optional)
  • 1 small bunch kale, collards or chard, stemmed and sliced into ribbons
  • 4 organic, free range eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Heat the oil in a large, oven-proof skillet on medium heat.  Add the cumin seeds and let them fry gently for a minute or two. Add the onion, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and let sweat for about 10 minutes, or until soft and golden.

Add the tomatoes, garlic, chili, paprika, cayenne and saffron and continue to cook over low heat for about 15 minutes, or until you have a thick, fragrant sauce that is not too liquidy. Add the greens and cook for a few minutes more until wilted. Taste the mixture at this point and add more seasonings if necessary until you have it just how you want it.

Make four little divots in the tomato sauce and carefully break an egg into each hollow. Sprinkle the top with salt, pepper and a little more smoked paprika for color – and carefully place into the hot oven. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the white is set but the yolk is still a little runny.

P.S. Still working on the blog. The hubby is doing all the work for me in his spare time, and I’ve lots of updating to do with categories and such, so it will be a work in progress for a little while longer. Thanks for your patience.

Comments

  1. rachsmith says:

    This looks absolutely phenomenal…in fact, it well may become supper tonight. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Carey Jung says:

    First, Love the new face of your blog!!
    Second, these eggs sound Divine! I hear ya’! There are days when my family wants eggs, and I just can’t bear to even look at the carton. (igh) This would help. :-) I am going to try this recipe this week. I get lovely eggs from a nearby farm through my CSA, and there are weeks when I need to use them as our protein source. (By the way, you also really ought to post about your English Farmhouse egg breakfast.) Thanks for the lovely post and tantalizing inspiration. xo Carey

    • Danielle Charles says:

      Hi Carey,
      Glad you’re liking the face lift thus far, it’s still a work in progress (well isn’t it always!). This recipe really is a keeper, so much so that I actually ate it for every meal 2 days in a row – which is a thing unheard of in my history off egg eating. It just felt so good to eat and was so easy to throw together that I couldn’t think of anything else! I bet you CSA eggs are delicious and beautiful. Maybe someday I’ll surprise you with a post on my farmhouse breakfast too :)

      XOXO

  3. cheryl says:

    Hi Danielle,

    I have to say that looks absolutely delicious and something I will most certainly try.

    I feel exactly the same as you do about eggs. Some days nothing else will do, but other days I just cannot face them……

    • Danielle Charles says:

      Hi Cheryl,
      Isn’t it funny how eggs are like that! I’ve often wondered what exactly it is that makes my opinion sway so widely from one day to the next, but I just can’t figure it out. Anyhow, I hope you’ll enjoy – it is truly a thing of beauty on a cold and drizzly morning.

      Happy Moroccan egg eating to you:)
      D

  4. Lucinda says:

    Hey Danielle, I just showed this to my husband who is now drooling… I should have warned him of the effect the your website can have! The girls laid 3 eggs this morning and we have a very full basket now so what better way to use them up than this. I also have a bunch of kale that needs eating so it’s perfect!.
    I must compliment you on your photography, it’s so professional and makes everything look so delicious. How do you get that lovely bleached out vintage quality? I’m a complete novice with my camera, though of course I love to take pictures, but it’s all point and click. You said you couldn’t wait for my first herbal, well i can’t wait for your first cookbook. It’s going to be amazing!
    The website is looking different every time I stop by, it’s quite exciting to see how it will end up.
    Lots of love xxx

    • Danielle Charles says:

      It’s funny actually, because as I was writing this I was thinking of you and your new egg eating adventures! I bet it will be fantastic with those lovely fresh eggs from your beautiful girls :)
      Thank you for your compliment! I’ve been doing a bit of experimenting of late with the old camera, and figured after having it for 4 years I should probably figure out how to use it properly and perhaps read the manual, for starts. Up until now it’s just been random fiddling with knobs and buttons until things came out in a way I liked! To answer your question, I’ve been taking a good deal of my photos with greater light exposure (by having slightly slower shutter speed and greater aperture) – and I think the increased light gives it that vintage, sort of grainy, almost washed out look. I’ve also been editing my photos more (mostly just increasing contrast or adjusting color levels) if things get too bleached out. Anyway, I think your photography is just astounding too :)

      We got the blog to a point where I felt it was almost complete, and then hit a wall with a few things we couldn’t fix and had to start from square one again. I’m going to have to do some bribing to get Mike to do some work on it as he was about ready to wash his hands of it at that point, so we shall see…

      Much love to you and yours,
      D

  5. Clara says:

    Yum!! These look simply divine…..going straight into the recipe scrapbook. I agree, eggs are such funny things, so wholesome, comforting and familiar – yet throw a bit of spice into the mix and they can turn out to be minxes ready to paint the town red. These definitely fall into the latter!

    • Danielle Charles says:

      paint the town red is perfectly said, my dear :) A little dash of exotic spice can do wonders for the mundane and familiar…

      XOXO
      D

  6. Oh Danielle! You are so right! I love familiar things in different settings also:) This recipe is so lucious! I must try this soon. Thank you so much for sharing xoxox your pictures made me hungry! lol! big hugs to you xoxoxo

    • Danielle Charles says:

      Moroccan food is just hands down some of the best. I think you should have some with a bit of your delicious sounding cranberry cider and think of me :)

      XOXO
      D

  7. Oh god that looks sooooooooooo good….my mouth is salivating profusely (I am on day 43 of a detoxing cleanse). Can I just lick the screen once?

    • Danielle Charles says:

      Permission granted! Day 43!?! My goodness! Well, I wish you speed on getting through so that you can enjoy these in all their glory.

      XOXO
      D

  8. I will think of you Danielle:) xxxx