There's not much better I like doing on weekends than cooking up a big, homey brunch and inviting a few friends over for hours of relaxed, unstructured hang time. Especially now that I've become one of those (formerly) annoying people who refuse to leave Brooklyn on any day of the week that starts with an "s." The only challenge I face with this utterly ideal situation of having my home filled with food lovingly cooked for friends I probably haven't seen in far too long is that my weekend laziness often kicks in and I find myself waking up in the morning unmotivated to do anything that involves a grocery store aisle or a kitchen sink. Which is why an arsenal of super easy, fail proof brunch dishes is pretty vital to the sustenance of my social life.
Ideally, a brunch dish should be a one shot wonder, meaning that I should be able to throw one dish into the oven and feed at least 4-6 people with it. Translation: no flipping multiple pancakes at the stove for an hour, muttering resentful curses at my beloved friends under my breath. These portuguese baked eggs from the absolutely perfect October issue of Bon Appetit fits the bill and then some. The creamy ricotta (use the best you can find) melts into a spicy, tomato-based sauce filled with healthy veggies and soft, runny eggs. It's pretty much the best thing you could imagine to put on top of toast and eat whilst sitting around on a random Sunday doing just about nothing with your favorite people. xo
Portuguese Baked Eggs
1/4 cup olive oil
3 bell peppers, any color, thinly sliced
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 beefsteak tomatoes, cut into wedges
8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno, with seeds, halved lengthwise
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup ricotta
6 large eggs
1 cup grated sharp white cheddar (about 4 oz.)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan (about 1 oz.)
Toasted country-style bread (for serving)
Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add bell peppers and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and just beginning to brown, 10-12 minutes.
Add tomatoes, garlic, jalapeno, basil, oregano, chili powder, and paprika to pot. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very soft and liquid is thickened, 20-30 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Discard jalapeno.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Transfer bell pepper mixture to a 13x9" baking dish. Using the back of a spoon, make 6 evenly spaced divots in mixture. Spoon a dollop of ricotta into each divot, then crack 1 egg into each. Top with cheddar and Parmesan; season with salt and pepper. Bake, rotating dish halfway through, until Parmesan is melted and egg whites are almost set but yolks are still runny, 15-18 minutes.
Serve baked eggs with toast. (Yolks will continue to cook as dish sits, so serve right away if you prefer your eggs soft.)