Ever have those days when, as much as you love cooking, [as evidenced by your uncanny desire to chop veggies, bake bread from scratch, and construct dishes with multiple components] you’d instead prefer to prepare something quick, simple, but utterly scrumptious all the same? I have those days too, although you might not believe me. I do. Promise. Particularly in the midst of finishing the 3rd quarter of culinary school, when I’ve just spent three consecutive nights cooking and baking my butt off (well, I wish – instead I seem to be baking more butt on than off…) in an industrial kitchen until 11 pm. Did I mention I work full time? Yeah, can you say t-i-r-e-d by the time Thursday rolls around? You bet.
You see, all these fancy recipes you see in this blog, they’re generally made on the weekends. Now, I’ve definitely made things that I’d consider pretty quick and pain-free, but this one here is one where you’ll wonder if you could even call it cooking. Yup – it’s that easy. Other braggable characteristics? Well let’s see: it’s light but hearty, simple but packed with flavor, vegetarian but complete with protein, and great for dinner but also brunch.
Did I mention tasty, quick, budget-friendly, and absent of chopping other than a few leaves of basil and grating of cheese? And really, for the reward of cheese, not to mention basil, I’d break out the grater and kitchen shears any day without complaining. Any. Day.
Wait, there’s more. This dish is a staple of Sardinian cuisine, which should already tell you its practically like eating a sliver of heaven. Other than Mussolini and linen man-capris, what else from Italy is questionable? Ex-actly. Apparently the Sardinians have many versions of this dish, but all include 4 major components: eggs, Sardinian music bread (pane carasau), tomatoes, and pecorino Sardo (a cheese made from Sheep’s milk). In Italian, it’s called “Ovos kin Tomate e Casu”. Well, since I neither live in Italy (yes, sad) nor have access to a personal supply of Italian imports (although with Amazon.com anything is possible), I was unable to find the special bread or the exact combination of both pecorino & Sardo, so I made my own variation and as a result, strayed slightly from the key ingredients.
Something tells me they’d still approve.
Adapted from Cooking Light magazine, serves 4
As I mentioned, this is a fantastically easy dish that comes together pretty quickly. You can substitute any herbs, cheeses or breads for fun. I’m imagining eggs poached in a pre-made tomato, fennel, and Italian sausage sauce. Or even Mexican-style, with some poblano peppers, queso fresco, and tortilla chips. What about you? What variations can you come up with?
2 T EVOO
1/3 c chopped green onion
2 cloves minced garlic
salt and pepper
2 1/2 14.5oz cans of whole plum tomatoes, undrained and coarsely chopped*
4 wedges of croccatini crackers (La Panzanella brand – I used fennel flavored)
1/2 cup finely grated pecorino Rustico cheese
2 T chopped fresh basil
Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic; cook 3 minutes, stirring often. Stir in salt and pepper (couple of pinches), and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Reduce heat to low. Working with one egg at a time, crack each over tomato mixture, about 1 inch apart. Sprinkle with another pinch or so of salt and pepper. Cover and cook about 7 minutes (more if you want firm yolks – I like them sorta runny). Remove from heat.
Arrange bread crisps on plate and spoon 1/4 of sauce atop. Top with 1 egg and ~2 T of cheese and 1/4 of the basil.
*I chop the tomatoes in the can with kitchen shears and chop any I missed once they get into the pan. I also chop the basil this way, so this dish is cutting-board-free