Most people eat greasy breakfasts when they’re hung over. We eat baked eggs. Sarah’s first version of these eggs (inspired by an item on the menu of Ray’s Café, Victoria Street, Brunswick) was made on a Saturday when we got up at 4.00pm in the afternoon devastatingly hung over. The only answer I find to such devastation is to eat and eat until I feel better. And sometimes the hung over brain, in all its fuzzy-ness, seems to work in simple and miraculous ways. Hence the baked eggs, made in my grandmother’s red Le Creuset pan, came out of the oven beautiful and perfect. Followed by thin crust pizza and a night of watching Iron Chef, the hangover finally faded.
With these eggs, the delight is in dipping the toast into the egg and letting the yolk run into the lightly spiced sauce, so that each bite has the crunch of toast, the creaminess of the egg and the sweetness of the tomato.
It’s also possible to change the flavours of the sauce. This version has a Spanish feel to it, but we’ve made it with fresh bay leaves, leaving out the paprika, and grating parmesan directly onto the eggs just as they’ve left the oven. Sometimes we add chorizo too, if we’re feeling meaty.
Last Sunday we sat around the kitchen table, nursing our hangovers and dipping our toast into the chunky sauce, after staying way too long at a party the night before. These eggs won’t take the previous night back, but they’ll make the next day more than bearable.
(serves 4 with 1 egg each)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp sweet or smoked paprika
1 tin cherry tomatoes (diced will do if you can’t find these)
1/2 bunch fresh coriander, picked from stems
1/2 cup passata
4 fresh free range eggs
This dish works best in a pan that can go from stove top to oven. Preheat the oven at 180C.
Cook onions in olive oil on slow heat until translucent. Add chopped garlic til slightly coloured, then stir in paprika and heat for a couple of seconds til fragrant. Pour in tin of cherry tomatoes. Stir and season to taste with salt and pepper. Let simmer slowly for about 15mins stirring occasionally.
Make a little well in the sauce for one egg, more like a dent really, not right to the bottom of the pan because you want the sauce to still be under the egg. Carefully break the egg in, continuing this process for the other eggs. Let sit on the stove for 5mins while the bottom of the egg cooks. Place the pan in the oven and let cook until the egg is cooked to your liking. For runny eggs I’d check every 5 mins and when they are white and yellow but still a bit googly on top pop a lid on and cook for another 2 or so minutes.
Serve with a generous amount of coriander on top and freshly toasted buttered bread.