So, for some time now I have been going on about this dish I love called eggs in sauce. You may be thinking Hollandaise? Bearnaise? Nope, I’m talking about marinara, tomato, spaghetti sauce. If you have never paired your eggs with sauce and smothered it with cheese, you don’t know what you are missing! It’s a fabulous combination for any meal but makes a particularly great weekend breakfast for this crew. If anyone knows of a restaurant in the greater Portland area serving this yummy dish for breakfast, please tell me about it as I haven’t found it yet. There are recipes to be had out there. Trouble is, I believe the real secret to eggs in sauce is in the sauce. You need an amazingly good, farm-fresh tomato sauce with tons of garlic and onion and food processed broccoli, peppers and even carrot and eggplant…I’m talking about a very rich, thick, hearty sauce! I love to make our sauce with fresh herbs of basil, oregano and savory from the garden and sea salt, olive oil, balsamic and plenty of red wine too. Anyway, it’s not traditional Italian sauce, but then it’s certainly not a can of plain old tomatoes and sugar either. Maybe I’ll post my sauce recipe some other time. It’s a take on an old friend’s Sicilian sauce recipe and I take on pretty good authority that this dish is a traditional Italian family breakfast. In fact there are many versions of the ‘eggs in sauce’ theme spanning several cultures, adding different spices, cheeses or breads. All great I am sure. However this is the eggs in sauce I know and love and hope you will too. This dish of eggs in sauce is better with three other things besides great sauce….wonderful Italian cheese, farm eggs and a thick slice of crusty bread.
Start this delicious meal by getting a saucepan of hearty tomato sauce simmering. Of course, the fresher the better and in fact each time I make sauce, I reward myself with some eggs cooked in it. To me it just doesn’t get much better. I’ll never forget the first time I had this. My sister made it for me and I was in heaven. You just might be too…. Take your crusty bread and place it in the oven to warm at 300 or so degrees.
If this is an afternoon or dinner meal, add a touch of red wine and some fresh garlic before making your wells to crack your eggs into. My sauce is always hearty and fairly thick so I need to make space with a spoon first. My chickens are banties and small chickens lay small eggs so our eggs are diminutive, never overbearing and taste fantastic with their bright orange yolks. And sauce.
And cheese. Now comes the fun part. I chop up more fresh garlic and sprinkle each egg generously. Salt or pepper as desired. Have your Parmesan, Asiago and mozzarella cheeses nearby and start to grate. I make alternating, thick layers of cheese and garlic across the top of the saucepan. Now the eggs are all tucked in and ready to drift off into perfection. Have a taste of that wine. Let the eggs in sauce simmer for 7-8 minutes with the lid on, then remove from the heat and let sit a few minutes more. I like my eggs cooked medium so they aren’t runny and they aren’t yellow golf balls…..but somewhere in between….just lovely golden orbs of delight with a touch or two of that still in motion.
Take down some bowels, place an egg (or two) in each with a spoonful (or two) of sauce and pass them around to all your hungry mouths in the nearby vicinity. The mouths will be happy. Oh and don’t forget to take the warm, crusty bread out of the oven, break it apart and eat your eggs and sauce with it. I like to think this makes the bread happy.