My boss Dora is one of the best cooks I’ve come across. Till we moved to our professional kitchen a year back, I had the privilege of enjoying some of her cooking during lunch breaks and it was my first foray into the world of French food. Not only are her creations delicious, the fact that she used to whip them up in no time was something that amazed me. Be it a simple puff pastry pizza, or her signature vegetable lasagna- the taste was consistent all throughout, not to mention the copious amounts of mint tea we used to drink during brainstorming sessions.
I mentally wrote down her quick recipes and of course threw so many doubts her way as well. She is the one who made me experiment with aubergines for the first time, and enjoy fish in various forms (Ro secretly thanks her for my tolerance to mackerel now). Dora’s Tunisian routes (which is her strong point, even when it comes to macaron flavours) made the dishes even more interesting. She introduced me to harissa, ras-el-hanout, brik pastry and so many other ingredients and dishes that were then new to me.
This recipe or rather creation is truly Dora’s. When we were short of time she would whip this up in a matter of minutes and i would devour it without batting an eyelid. I have watched her do it so many times, but even now it just doesn’t taste as unique as hers. I remember making it at home the first time and it was an instant hit with Ro. I have then made it at several brunch sessions and everyone s absolutely enjoyed it.
Over time i changed the procedure and ingredients a bit, but it still is hands down one of the best recipes I’ve learnt from Dora. I have also used the authentic home made harissa paste she gave me, which is as authentic as it can get.. Once you taste the real thing, you will not want to try any of the store bought versions.
This harissa spiced baked eggs are so easy to make, you have to try it out. You can do so many different versions of it, and it would just not go wrong. Thank you Dora, for all those cooking lessons which you unknowingly instilled in me. I really do miss it 🙂
English muffins- 2, sliced in half to get 4
Cheddar cheese slices- 4
Spring onion greens- 2 tsp (to garnish)
Olive oil- 1 tbsp
Shallot- 1 large, finely chopped
Bell pepper- 1, finely chopped
Garlic- 1/2 tbsp, finely chopped
Harissa paste- 2 generous tsp
Tomato- 2 small, finely chopped
Double cream- 1/4 cup
Salt and pepper- to taste
Preheat oven to 175C and line a baking tray with foil paper.
Place the muffins, cut side up and top with the cheddar cheese slices
Heat the oil in a cast iron skillet and saute the shallot, bell pepper and garlic till soft, around 3 minutes on medium high heat.
Make a paste with the harissa and some water and add to the pan.
Stir till it loosens and coats the vegetables.
Add the tomato slices and cook till they turn mushy, after which you pour in the double cream and mix it all together
Season with salt.
Separate the mix in a few places and break the eggs into them.
Break the yolk and stir it gently into the mix. This is purely optional, you can of course leave the yolk intact
Bake for 10 minutes, or till the eggs are cooked.
Around 5 minutes into the baking time, put in the tray with the muffins.
Once done- the eggs cooked and the cheese on the muffins melted, take them out of the oven, wait for a few minutes for the bubbling to settle.
Slice the baked eggs into four and place on the cheesy muffins.
Garnish with spring onions and serve warm.
Notes: You can use bread slices, ciabatta, crumpets (these are the best) and any break of choice as the base
Add prawns, shredded chicken, minced meat etc to the mix before topping with the egg
With thanks to the happy egg co for the voucher