You: In search of something to eat that barely involves cooking, because you are
a.) knackered (i.e. exhausted, and feeling Anglophilic having recently seen previews for “Downton Abbey” the movie and looking forward to next installments of “The Crown”!).
b.) haven’t been grocery shopping.
c.) on vacation, hungry, and there’s a wait list at the seafood place.
Me: Make this dish.
The answer can be that simple. It begins with a quick saute of tomatoes, just long enough for their essence to color the oil in the pan. A hit of tomato paste bolsters the color and savory umami they impart. Once softened, the tomatoes mingle with the eggs to create an ultra-creamy soft set - more like a sauce with body than scrambled eggs. Cheese and basil complete the mild summer flavor palette.
The title refers to Nigella Lawson, the British cookbook author whose kitcheneering can make her audience salivate even when she’s releasing grains of salt into a pot of boiling water. Having seen many of her cooking shows, I can imagine her whipping up these eggs late at night, in her satiny robe, by the light of the refrigerator.
And if you’re a fan neither of her nor such spoony eggs, you can keep cooking the latter until they are firm enough for you. More low-energy variations: Spike them with hot sauce or a sprinkling of a fruity ground red pepper. Change the cheese or herbs to what you have on hand.
Take it easy, and eat well.
NIGELLA’S TOMATO-Y EGGS ON TOAST
When you barely feel like eating but are craving something soothing, it has to be good and quick and easy to make. And that describes this dish to a T.
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 small ripe tomatoes (about 12 ounces total; Campari size, or at least bigger than cherry or grape tomatoes)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 large eggs
1-ounce chunk pecorino Romano cheese
2 slices sourdough bread or whole-grain bread
Small handful of basil leaves (may substitute leaves stripped from a few stems of thyme)
Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Cut the tomatoes in half, then into bite-size chunks, then add them to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally; the tomatoes should start to break down, oozing their juices.
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Stir in the tomato paste, salt and sugar; cook for 5 minutes, by which time the tomato skins should be loosening and their juices mingling with the oil. For a creamier final consistency, pick the skins out and discard them.
Crack in the eggs and stir as though you were scrambling them, until they form a creamy, tomato-y mass; this should take about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, or cook them for a bit longer if you like your scrambled eggs firm.
Grate or crumble half the cheese over the mixture in the pan; let this sit while you toast the bread.
Place a slice of toast on each plate. Spoon half the eggs onto each one, then grate or crumble the remaining cheese over, and tear and scatter the fresh herbs on top. Serve right away.
Nutrition | Calories: 500; Total Fat: 30 g; Saturated Fat: 7 g; Cholesterol: 230 mg; Sodium: 680 mg; Carbohydrates: 43 g; Sugars: 15 g; Protein: 19 g.
Sourcer: Adapted from “Simply Nigella,” by Nigella Lawson. Flatiron Books, 2015.