“Eggs in Pipérade” is a breakfast classic from Basque country—a smoky tomato and red pepper sauce baked together in the oven with sunny side-up eggs. For me, brunch is not a complete meal without some form of melted cheese, and toast with which to eat it. This recipe combines all of my favorite breakfast ingredients—eggs, bacon, cheese, and crusty bread—and transforms them into a brunch version of my favorite dish: pizza. The hot paprika in the pipérade adds another flavor twist to classic pizza sauce, and lightly pan-frying the prosciutto creates a new type of upscale, elegant breakfast meat. Most importantly, baking the eggs in the tomato mixture allows the yoke to remain runny, while the whites set right into the sauce, much like they would atop a round brick-oven pizza in Italy.
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 red bell peppers, finely diced
- olive oil
- 1 teaspoon hot paprika
- pinch cayenne
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
- 1 tbsp basil, julienned
- 3-4 large eggs
- ¼ cup Parmesan shavings
- 1 loaf ciabatta
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 lb fontina (or other mild melting cheese like Bel Paese, un-aged Manchego, or Monterey Jack), thinly sliced
- 3 slices prosciutto
- 1 tbsp basil, julienned (optional)
- In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the onion and red pepper in enough olive oil to coat the pan. Cook until the vegetables have softened, about 6 minutes. Add the paprika, cayenne, garlic, and cook for another 2 minutes, until the mixture is very fragrant. Season generously with salt and pepper, and carefully stir in the tomatoes. Simmer until the sauce has thickened and the vegetables are very tender, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and taste again for seasoning.
- (optional) In a food processor, puree half of the mixture. Combine with the remaining sauce and the basil and set aside. This can be made up to a week in advance.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Spread the piperade in a shallow baking or gratin dish. With the back of a spoon, create holes for the eggs (as spaced out as possible). Crack each egg into one of the holes. Place dish in the oven and cook until the whites have almost set, 7 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with half of the parmesan shavings. Return to the oven for another minute for the parmesan to melt. Set aside.
- While the eggs are cooking, cut the ciabatta in half length-wise. Brush the bottom half with olive oil and save the top for another use. Place on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden brown. Remove the crusty bread and rub it with the garlic clove. Arrange the fontina slices on the bread and return to the oven. Bake until the cheese has melted, about 2 minutes.
- For the prosciutto, heat a thin layer of olive oil in a non-stick skillet. When the oil is hot, add the prosciutto slices in one layer. Fry on both sides until each slice has become paper thin and crispy. Set aside to drain on a paper towel. When cool enough to handle, crumble into rustic pieces.
- To serve, spoon the egg and tomato mixture on the ciabatta so that the eggs are arranged in one neat line. Garnish with the remaining Parmesan shavings, crispy prosciutto, and basil. Cut into two pieces and serve immediately.