At the risk of sounding like a complete culinary poser (although I never said I wasn’t), I’ll make a confession: my personal kitchen possessions lack a set of ramekins. I do not even own one. I have my cupcake pan on the occasion that I do make a batch. But baking can be persnickety and, frankly, gives me a bit of anxiety (it’s too sciency, y’all). I’d rather explore my senses heaped over a sizzling pan, my fingertips spontaneously picking up spices at the whim of my big, fat, Greek nose. You can’t do that with baking. And ramekins are for baking.
Oh, was I wrong.
It all started when I came across this neat little brunch idea while Googling something fun to do with eggs. This recipe had prosciutto! And basil! YES. But, while having this luxurious breakfast revelation, I realized, in my Sunday pajamas, that the clock was ticking toward noon and I had a hungry mouth to feed — my own. I wasn’t going out to buy anything until I ate something. I knew my fridge was in its bare stage, meaning no fancy meats. And I had snipped the last basil leaves off my plant just a day earlier. So I opted for using what I had — parsley and chorizo– and came up with a meal loosely based on what I found online.
It was all just fine and dandy until I followed the tomato baking instructions (on a cookie sheet). After a couple minutes in the oven, they erupted through their flesh and began falling apart. My perfect brunch was in shambles! So I did what any persnickety cook would do: I grabbed a ramekin. It was my roommate’s, she wasn’t home, but I needed to rescue my breakfast! I plopped that red oozing sucker of a tomato right into that strange porcelain baking tool. The result: a neatly-packed breakfast and a breakthrough. I’ll purchase a ramekin or two, just in case of emergency.
Baked Tomato and Egg with Chorizo
(For two servings)
(NOTE: I first made this in the summer, when tomatoes are obviously, perfectly, in season.)
2 large eggs
1 large tomato*, sliced in half, leaving one top, one bottom
1 large sausage or chorizo link of your choice, sliced and slightly sauteed
2 cloves garlic
¼ bunch of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
2 tbs. olive oil
Preheat oven to 350. Scoop out insides of tomato; discard (you can use for a sauce or soup later). Place each tomato half in a ramekin. Drizzle with ½ tb. olive oil each. With a mortar and pestle, crush garlic cloves, parsley and remaining olive oil into a paste. Salt and pepper to taste. Spread the paste into interior of tomato. Slice chorizo and lay pieces into the tomato. Bake for a few minutes until chorizo sizzles, starts browning. Remove from oven and crack an egg into each ramekin. Place back into oven and cook until egg is done. Dig in with fork or crusty bread!
(*It’s easiest to use a very large tomato. My trouble with the initial baking was probably because I scooped too much out of a small tomato, and too hastily, creating a tear. Of course, if you’re a better slicer/scooper than I am, use 2 medium tomatoes instead of one large one and just snip off the top.)