I first made these baked eggs with cumin and saffron when I lived in Shanghai a few years ago. I had recently become obsessed with cumin, after eating at many Muslim Chinese restaurants in Shanghai and Beijing that specialized in cumin lamb dishes. Of course, at home, I wanted to use cumin as much as possible, and worked the spice into this breakfast dish.
So here's a short, revised recipe, since I recently made this again and it was every bit as good as I remembered. The process is a piece of cake. You just sauté some shallots or onions in a pan, add the tomatoes, cumin, salt, and pepper, then transfer the mixture to ramekins. Then you crack an egg into each ramekin and sprinkle a bit of saffron on top. It looks really nice coming out of the oven with specks of bright red from the saffron and the egg still bubbling on top.
It's a great, fragrant comfort food dish and perfect for a leisurely weekend brunch. Or even an easy weeknight meal, if you have some rice or noodles to go along with it.
Baked Eggs with Saffron and Cumin
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large shallot or 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 large or 3 medium tomatoes, cubed
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 eggs
- 1 pinch saffron (6 to 8 threads)
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Toast cumin in a dry, medium- to large-sized skillet. Add the olive oil, and cook the onions over medium heat until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and sprinkle in the cumin. Cook, stirring, until the tomatoes have softened, about 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste
- Divide the tomato mixture into 2 medium ramekins. Top each ramekin with 1 eggs. Crumble the saffron threads with your fingers and sprinkle them over the eggs. Bake in the oven for about 2o to 25 minutes, until whites and yolk are set (a few minutes less if you prefer your egg yolks slightly runny). Remove from the oven and sprinkle a tiny bit more salt and pepper on top. Cool for 3 minutes or so before serving.
Updated September 9, 2012. Original recipe posted June 2, 2008.