So I was going to post a chicken shawarma recipe today then I realized it was Halloween and I had done nothing to even acknowledge its existence on the blog. I don’t bake so I can’t do all those fancy Halloween cookies and cake that really make Halloween food fun. But what is Halloween food really? The non-baked stuff that is. A spooky spaghetti? A scary casserole? I was seriously stumped.
And then it randomly hit me. I remembered a recipe called ‘Eggs in Hell’. Something that Mario Batali coined together. Sure it was simple rebranding of the breakfast dish Shakshuka but hey, it gave me an in. But the question everyone’s probably asking at this point is why are they called eggs in hell? Besides the obvious angry, red tomato sauce akin to fiery lava. Well, it’s because they’re spicy. These eggs are gently poached in a spicy marinara-like sauce. Spicy, cheesy, herby eggs!
So I abandoned my chicken shawarma (which you’ll see in the next post) and set off to make some eggs in hell. Just so you know, I came back intact, although my kitchen is another story.
The fact that I was able to come up this unplanned post at the very last minute just goes to show how easy it is to put together. Eggs, check. Tomato sauce, check. Parmesan cheese, check. Spices, check. Onions and garlic, check. Almost everything you would have already stocked in your pantry. And some leftover French bread from making my pumpkin cream cheese french toast earlier this week.
I modified the recipe a little mainly through the spices because I wanted more flavor. And I really could see smoked paprika going well with something called eggs in hell. Smoke-kay! This is supposed to be a mildly sweetened and tangy spicy breakfast which you eat with bread. Sop up all that sauce while you eat those eggs, you know?
I used a decent amount of cayenne to spice it up a little but not enough to make it super spicy. So add in more if you want it burning your mouth to the point of no return. Since the jalapenos have their seeds removed, they don’t lend much to the heat but again, if you want eggs in super hell, keep those seeds. It can be either more cayenne or pro seeds or both. Or if you’re hardcore, find that ghost pepper.
The Parmesan adds a nice touch to things. I really loved it. I feel it binds all the ingredients together well. Feel free to add more though. I kept it at 1/4 cup so you could still see the eggs and not a mound of Parmesan and nothing else. Because while cheese is great, anyone can come up a plate full of Parmesan.
You’ll notice the eggs will start to sink while it’s cooking. This is good. The more sauce that surrounds the eggs, the better it cooks. But keep the sauce at a gentle simmer while you poach or you’ll end up with scrambled eggs. I wanted my yolks runny so the time in the directions are for precisely that, but simmer it a little more for a fully cooked yolk. Finally, there’s enough sauce to go around for maybe two more eggs, so if you’re expecting company, or just like eating eggs, you can cook up to eight in there. The more the merrier!
And lastly, a word of warning: this is messy to cook. Basically anything with a tomato base is. So if you have a backsplash, try to cook it on the back burner so your floor doesn’t end up looking like you started a redecorating job. And wear an apron! I suppose the other reason for why it would be called eggs in hell would be the cleanup!
Happy Halloween, guys!
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 teaspoons garlic, minced
- 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced
- 1 can (28 oz.) tomato sauce
- 2½ tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 6 large eggs
- ¼ cup Parmesan, shredded
- 1 tablespoon basil, chopped
- In a 10" skillet over medium high heat, saute onions, garlic and jalapenos and cook until soft about 3-5 minutes
- Pour in tomato sauce and add sugar, paprika, cumin, cayenne and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a gentle simmer
- Lower heat to medium and crack the eggs in one at a time and simmer until they are cooked way you want them. For runny yolks, about 5-6 minutes
- Remove from heat and sprinkle with cheese and basil
- Dish and serve hot with bread for dipping