I’m Southern. I wasn’t born in the South, but after moving there in high school, I realized that the weather, the hospitality and (especially) the food, were all for me. That being said, I love living in New York, but whenever I can I try to pay homage to my Southern roots, which is half of the reason this specific dish came about.
We’ll all been there, when you’re dining out and you try a dish and think “OMG! That is SO good. It’s so simple too, I bet I could make that at home.” Anyway, I had this experience while on an early (in our relationship) date with my boyfriend, Ehren. We went to Danny Meyer’s Maialino for brunch and we ordered (among many other dishes) Fried Eggs with a Spicy Tomato Sauce. Hands down, this dish was our all-out favorite. Ehren even confessed that this was one of his “favorite brunch dishes of all-time,” which I quickly cataloged under “save this detail for future use!” Sadly though, Maialino is no longer serving this dish, so I set out on a mission to surprise “my love” and create this dish for him at home—with the addition of grits, of course!
Serve this dish as either a hearty breakfast or brunch or as a meatless lunch or dinner with a side salad any time. Even better, make all the components a day (or night) in advance and build the grits and tomato sauce layers and store in the fridge until you’re ready to top with eggs and bake everything off.
EASY EGG BAKE (No-Recipe Version)
- Make Moroccan-inspired spiced tomato sauce and let simmer to intensive flavor
- Make grits and add cheese
- Layer grits into a baking dish, layer tomato sauce on top of grits, crack two eggs on top and top with grated cheese
- Bake until eggs are cooked and other layers are warmed. Top with herbs (optional) and serve.
Get the detailed recipe after the jump.
EASY EGG BAKE (Recipe)
1 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes (fire-roasted, if you prefer)
1 tbsp. grated lemon peel
1 tbsp. curry
1 tbsp. paprika
1 tbsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. red chili flakes
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup red wine
Salt and pepper to season
1 cup grits, preferably Stone-ground yellow
2 cups water, at least
1/2 cup (or more) cheese, I prefer Manchego, but use whatever you have on hand or like the best
Parsley, for garnish
- Drizzle olive oil into pre-heated saucepan and sweat onions over medium heat, until translucent and soft. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds or until fragrant, being careful not to burn garlic as the burnt garlic flavor will permeate the sauce—yuck. Add all other sauce ingredients and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low, add wine and let simmer uncovered until slightly reduced, approximately 20 minutes.
Depending on time-constraints, you can continue to simmer and reduce the sauce using water. Simply add 1/2 cup of water at a time and continue to let the sauce reduce. This produces a richer, more flavorful sauce.
- In a separate saucepan, boil 4 cups of water. When boiling, reduce heat to low and add grits. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until grits are desired tenderness, approximately 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheese (Feel free to use more or less. I always go for more!) and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Again, depending on time-constraints, you can continue to add small amounts of water and letting this slowly cook off. This will produce smoother and creamier grits.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In the meantime, layer cheese grits into the bottom of an oven-safe baking dish, next layer tomato sauce over grits. (If baking dish from refrigerator, first bake these two layers without eggs until warmed, approximately 15 minutes.) Feel free to use as much or as little of the grits and sauce as you’d like. I often save a bit of both for leftovers.
Top with eggs and grated cheese and bake until eggs are cooked to desired consistency, approximately 20 minutes. Top with parsley, cracked pepper and serve.