This spoon rest is one of my favorite kitchen tools. It was handmade by Chicago-based Circa Ceramics–they do all kinds of colorful, functional porcelain pieces fired with funky screen prints (these lidded bowls are another favorite). I found it last year while I was browsing the Renegade Craft Fair on a stifling summer day in Wicker Park. I met the artist at the fair and told him I wanted a custom spoon rest with the piggy parts print. He slipped me a business card while juggling a wiggly baby boy in his other hand. Two weeks later, I visited the studio where he had made and glazed it, paid him right then and carried my spoon rest home to put to work that very evening. It was lovely to work with the artist throughout the entire process–it made the piece that much more valuable to me.
But I digress. My piggy spoon rest got quite a workout last week with Sunday pot pie, Tuesday lentils, Thursday bolognese and Friday paella. So on Saturday, tomato-poached eggs offered a light yet satisfying counter to a week of meat-heavy meals. Penny the Peanut and I had the house to ourselves, so I poured a glass of wine, served my eggs on the fancy china and turned on Downton Abbey (oh, the shame). It was the perfect night in.
As for the eggs, I started by sautéeing a small onion, half a red bell pepper and a few cloves of garlic in olive oil. I poured in a can of chickpeas and some whole tomatoes in tomato purée. Then I carefully cracked four whole eggs into the pan and sprinkled sharp white cheddar cheese over the top. A quick bake just to set the whites, a sprinkling of parsley and dinner was served. A few hunks of baguette helped me sop up all the egg yolk and tomato broth.
Tomato-poached eggs with chickpeas
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 14-oz. can chickpeas, drained
14 ozs. whole tomatoes in tomato purée
4 ozs. sharp white cheddar or feta cheese, diced or crumbled
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
Crusty bread, for serving
Method: Preheat the oven to 425°F. Heat a small Dutch oven over medium-high heat, and add the olive oil, onion, bell pepper, salt and pepper. Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Next stir in the paprika, cayenne, garlic and chickpeas; cook for 1-2 minutes until everything is fragrant and reddish-tinted.
Add the tomatoes and crush the whole pieces with your spoon. Check the seasoning and adjust as needed.
Next, carefully crack the eggs one at a time into a small bowl and pour them into the pot, allowing some space between the other eggs and the edge of the pot.
Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top. Put the lid on, and slide the pot into the oven. Bake for 7-8 minutes, just until the egg whites have set and the yolks are still good n’ runny. (Up the bake time by a minute or two if you like your yolks a bit more done.)
Remove the pot from the oven, and allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Taste to make sure the seasoning is to your liking, and adjust if needed. To serve, spoon 2 eggs into a bowl along with some of the chickpea-studded broth. Top with a sprinkling of parsley. Serves 1 with another meal leftover. This dish is even better on day 2.