THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
Cooking

Eggs for supper

Three easy skillet dinners.

By Adam Ried
April 3, 2011

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

Your article has been sent.

Text size +

In the quest to find easy weeknight suppers, eggs can be something of a secret weapon. Preparing a chunky sauce or ragu in a large skillet and then cooking some eggs right in the mixture is easy – and delicious. For years now, whenever I see red, yellow, or orange bell peppers on sale, I buy a few to make piperade, a Basque mixture of peppers, onions, and tomatoes flavored with paprika, garlic, and a little ham, if you choose. Poaching a few eggs right in the piperade makes it a meal. Likewise, an easy North African spiced tomato sauce or a stew of lightly curried lentils with potatoes become hearty, flavorful (and meatless, if you choose) meals when you add a couple of eggs.

Piperade with Eggs

Serves 4

Use any type of cured pork you have on hand in this dish, from ham to bacon to sausage to salami.

3 tablespoons olive oil

4 ounces serrano or Bayonne ham or prosciutto, cut into thin strips

1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced

5 medium red, yellow, and orange bell peppers (about 2 1/2½pounds), thinly sliced (about 8 cups)

1 large cubanelle pepper, thinly sliced

1 bay leaf

Salt and black pepper

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme

1 1/2 teaspoons paprika

1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes

1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley

4 to 8 eggs

In a very large skillet over medium heat, heat oil until shimmering. Add ham and cook, stirring frequently, until firm and just beginning to turn crisp, about 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove ham and drain. Add onion, bell and cubanelle pepper, bay leaf, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to skillet, adjust heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring occasionally, until peppers are tender-crisp, about 18 minutes. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, thyme, and paprika, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and, stirring occasionally, bring mixture to a simmer. Remove bay leaf, and stir in ham, most of the parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste. Adjust the heat to medium-low, use the back of a spoon to make 4 to 8 indentations in the piperade, crack an egg into each, and sprinkle eggs with salt and pepper. Cover skillet and cook until whites are set and yolks are warm and slightly thickened, about 11 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining parsley and serve at once.
Eggs Poached in Spicy Tomato Sauce (Shakshouka)

Serves 4

Harissa is a spicy seasoning paste used in a wide range of North African dishes. If you happen to have some on hand, you can substitute about 1 1/2 teaspoons of it – or more if you want a very spicy sauce – for the fresh serranos. A dollop of thick Greek-style yogurt is a cool counterpoint to the spicy sauce.

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium onions, chopped

2 large cubanelle peppers, chopped

Salt and black pepper

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 medium serrano peppers, seeded if desired, and finely chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 tablespoon paprika

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

4 to 8 eggs

1/2 cup crumbled feta, optional

3 medium scallions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced

In a very large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil until shimmering. Add onions, cubanelle peppers, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables soften, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, serranos, cumin, and paprika, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and, stirring occasionally, bring mixture to a simmer. Adjust heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Stir in most of the cilantro, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste. Use the back of a spoon to make 4 to 8 indentations in sauce, crack an egg into each, and sprinkle eggs with salt and pepper. Cover skillet and cook until whites are set and yolks are warm and slightly thickened, about 11 minutes. Sprinkle with feta, if using, remaining cilantro, and scallions, and serve at once.
Curried Lentils and Potatoes with Eggs

Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 large carrots, chopped

1 bay leaf

Salt and pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon curry powder

3 cups vegetable or low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup du Puy lentils, picked over and rinsed

1 medium Yukon Gold or red skin potato, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes (about 2 cups)

1/3 cup half-and-half, optional

4 to 8 eggs

3 medium scallions, thinly sliced

In a very large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil until shimmering. Add onion, carrots, bay leaf, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion has softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and curry powder, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add broth and lentils and bring to a strong simmer, using a wooden spoon to scrape bottom of skillet to loosen and dissolve the fond, about 30 seconds. Adjust heat to medium-low, partially cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Add potatoes, stir to mix, partially cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until lentils and potatoes are almost tender, 20 to 25 minutes longer, adding 3/4 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste (and about 1/4 cup water if the mixture looks dry) about halfway through simmering. Remove bay leaf; add half-and-half, if using, and stir to mix. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary.

Use the back of a spoon to make 4 to 8 indentations in the mixture, crack an egg into each, and sprinkle eggs with salt and pepper. Cover skillet and cook until whites are set and yolks are warm and slightly thickened, about 11 minutes. Sprinkle with scallions and serve at once.

Send comments or suggestions to Adam Ried at cooking@globe.com.

KITCHEN AIDE
Piment d’Espelette

On its home turf in the Basque region of France, piperade is seasoned with an aromatic local pepper called piment d’Espelette. Dried, it is brick-orange, fruity, and mild; the pepper also has the French status of AOC, or apellation d’origine controlee, a government designation given to certain agricultural products certifying their type and geographic origin.

The flavor comes at a price, though. Available locally at Formaggio Kitchen (244 Huron Avenue, Cambridge, 617-354-4750, formaggiokitchen.com), a 4-ounce container sells for $15.95 in the store (and $19.95 online). If that indulgence isn’t for you, substitute a combination of paprika and a tiny bit of crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne.