Years ago, my daughter-in-law Rachel gave me an excellent cooking magazine that she brought home from the health food store where she was working. It was high summer, and I was up to my ears in the fruits of my garden, especially heirloom tomatoes, onions, garlic, basil and peppers. Don’t you love that time of year . . . it’s lovely to have that burden of so much to choose from, so many excellent and delicious veggies and herbs to cook with, just a few steps away, in your garden!? If you don’t garden, the farmer’s markets are just bursting with colorful and fresh veggies and fruit that is just picked and dewy fresh. You don’t want to let a single tomato or a stem of basil go to waste.
I discovered a recipe in that magazine for Tuscan Poached Eggs that I fell in love with and used over and over again that summer. It not only used many of the goodies from my garden, but it also used up some of the good eggs from my hens and it made brilliant use of leftover bread from farmer’s market.
And get this: everybody (including little Mack) loved it.
It was The Perfect Recipe. Can you fall in love with a recipe? I definitely fell in love with that recipe.
And then, disaster. I lost the magazine. I panicked a bit, at first, when I couldn’t find it and wanted to make The Perfect Recipe for dinner one night. But then I realized that I probably remembered it in its entirety, anyway, so I sat down and jotted it down, made it for supper that night, and everybody proclaimed it a wonderful success, as always.
And now it’s your lucky day, my Gentle Reader. I’m sharing the recipe with you, and I don’t mind if you share it with your friends, either, as long as you mention my website (ahem!) when you share it. And it’s so good, and so easy, honestly, you’re gonna want to share it! Here ’tis:
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, squashed and then minced
- ½ cup sweet onion, diced
- 4 cups diced and cored fresh tomatoes, preferably heirloom (or canned)
- ½ cups fresh basil leaves, sliced
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 6 large good eggs
- 2 Tb chopped fresh chives or parsley for garnish
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- thick slices of good crusty bread, drizzled with oil and toasted
- First, set a rack in the upper part of your oven and heat the broiler to high.
- Meanwhile, on the stovetop, heat an ovenproof skillet over medium heat, add oil and garlic and onion and cook, stirring until it all begins to turn light golden brown, just a minute or two. (Don't ever burn garlic, by the way, or you'll want to throw away the pan--phew!).
- Add tomatoes and basil and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 8 to 10 minutes. Be sure to breathe in this scent. It's the scent of high summer, and garden abundance, and joy. Mmmmm. Sweeeet!
- Reserve about one-third of the sauce in a bowl and spread the remaining sauce evenly around the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium low, and crack the eggs into the tomato sauce. Lightly spoon the reserved tomato sauce over the whites of the eggs (not the yolks). Cover the pan and cook for about 3 minutes so eggs set slightly. Uncover the skillet and set it under the broiler until the yolks firm up slightly (according to your preferences, natch!) but are still soft.
- Remove from oven.
- Sprinkle with chives and cheese. Serve immediately with the toasted bread.
- I like to dish sauce and one egg per person into small gratin dishes to serve.
- By the way, have some extra crusty bread available for juice-sopping purposes!
I hope you like it as much as I do! Enjoy! By the way, if you have no fresh tomatoes available, you can use good canned ones, instead.
And, say, by the way . . . I hope you have a decent skillet. A decent HEAVY skillet that you can use every. single. day. for the rest of your natural life: this one. I actually have two of these: one I just sent *sob* with my beautiful college-daught to (you guessed it) college, and I probably won’t see it again until next summer . . . but she knows how completely CRUCIAL it is to have one. So I don’t mind. 🙂 (And, between you and me . . . I had to hide this recent acquisition of mine so she wouldn’t take it with her, too! Maybe it’ll be a good present for her sometime soon . . . !)
(Oh, and if you’re not sure how to take care of your cast iron pans. . . check out this post. It’s really soo easy.)
Now I’d better get busy working on dinner . . . it’s high tomato season as I check in here, so you know what I’m gonna make . . . ! 🙂
- It’s a mystery: which of your hens are laying eggs? Here’s how to tell!
- The End of the Line