Baked eggs and curry leaf salad: Nik Sharma’s recipes for eggs

·4-min read

Eggs are a prime ingredient in my kitchen. I turn to them on a busy day, and especially when my meals fall victim to my poor menu planning. An omelette made with leftover vegetables or produce by way of a refrigerator clean-out session, served with tomato salsa and a slice of toast, or even plain rice, brings satisfaction. Keeping this in mind, this week’s eggs are baked and served with a quick roast tomato sauce flavoured with cumin, and hard-boiled for a salad made with green peppercorns and crisp fried curry leaves, and served over warm slices of toast.

Baked eggs with roast tomato sauce

Prep 15 min
Chill 1 hr
Cook 1 hr 25 min
Serves 4

500g cherry tomatoes
tbsp (45ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp cumin
tbsp (30ml) apple cider vinegar
1½ tsp red pepper flakes
(such as aleppo or urfa)
½ tsp sugar
Fine sea salt
60g stale crusty sourdough
, cut into 12mm cubes
280g fresh baby spinach
1 x 400g can white beans (such as cannellini), drained
1 shallot, peeled and minced (about 55g)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
tbsp (15ml) fresh lemon juice
4 large eggs
120ml whole milk
40g shredded mozzarella, or fontina

Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Toss the tomatoes in two tablespoons of olive oil and the cumin on a baking sheet, then roast for about 45 minutes, until the tomatoes start to burst and turn golden brown. Transfer the tomatoes and any pan drippings to a blender, add the vinegar, half a teaspoon of red pepper flakes and the sugar, and puree smooth. Taste and season with salt and sugar as needed, then transfer to a bowl. The sauce can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to four days in an airtight container; it’s best eaten warm or at room temperature.

Lightly grease a 23cm x 30½cm baking dish with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Toss the bread with the spinach, beans, shallot, garlic, parsley and lemon juice, then spread out in a flat layer on an oven tray.

In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and half a teaspoon of salt. Pour the egg mixture over the bread and press gently to let it soak in the liquid. Wrap with clingfilm and leave in the refrigerator for one hour.

Heat the oven to 190C (170C fan)/375F/gas 5. Unwrap the dish, then top with the shredded cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the cheese is melted. Remove from the oven and serve warm with the tomato sauce.

Curry leaf and green peppercorn egg salad

Prep 30 min
Cook 5 min
Serves 4

4 large eggs, hard-boiled and peeled
1 shallot, peeled and minced (55g)
1 large stalk celery, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
1 mild green chilli (such as jalapeno), minced
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
2 tbsp brined green peppercorns, drained
60ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 tbsp/30ml for frying
2 tbsp (30ml) fresh lemon juice
10 fresh curry leaves
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander

1 tsp red pepper flakes (such as aleppo, urfa or maras)
Fine sea salt
thick slices sourdough, toasted and buttered
¼ cup radish sprouts or watercress leaves, to garnish

Chop the eggs and put them in a large bowl with the shallot, celery, garlic, chilli, parsley, coriander and green peppercorns.

In a small bowl, mix 60ml olive oil with the lemon juice, then pour it over the eggs.

Heat the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Once hot, add the curry leaves, cumin and coriander, and cook for 30-45 minutes, until the spices turn fragrant. Take off the heat, add the red pepper flakes and swirl the oil to fry – the oil will turn bright red. Pour the hot spice oil over the eggs, season with salt and fold to coat well.

Divide the eggs over warm, buttered slices of toast, and garnish with the radish sprouts or watercress. Drizzle with a little extra-virgin olive oil, if desired. This salad tastes best the day it is made, but can be stored for up to four days in an airtight container in the fridge.

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