Sunday, November 2, 2014

Baked Eggs in Stewed Tomatoes with Caramelized Leeks

I feel like a kid in a Disney store when I visit a gourmet food store. I browse up and down each aisle, touching everything that intrigues me, smelling the fresh fruits and vegetables, ogling over coconut ice cream donned in pretty packaging, imaging how it would feel running my dessert spoon over the smooth, white cream. I don't necessary buy much, but in the odd time that I do, I go home with a box of fancy tea or a chocolate bar that I haven't tried yet. 

A few weeks ago, I got a chance to check out Chef Mark McEwan's grocery store, McEwan at Shops on Don Mills. It was fantastic and I spent more than an hour there, I even texted my friend and food-lover, Lisa, in all-caps, "OMGTHIS PLACEISAMAZING!" I kept thinking of scenes from Top Chef Canada, when contestants would scramble around the store looking for ingredients, and I must admit, it was pretty cool to stand in the same spot as those talented chefs. There was a dizzying array of glistening meats, fish and fresh produce along the perimeter of the store, a selection of fine cheeses and charcuterie and ready-made sandwiches and hot meals to purchase for a quick meal. The towering display of chocolate and fruity tarts keep beckoning my name too. 

Along the back wall of the store was a variety of McEwan's Own food products made in-store including pizza sauce, pizzas, pies, and soups. I went home with jars of stewed tomatoes seasoned with olive oil, sea salt and bay leaves. My assignment was to feature McEwan's Own food products in a seasonal dish. I decided on these baked eggs, having made something similar years ago and really enjoying them (save for the part when I burnt my tongue). 

This dish is easy peasy and can be prepared in less than 30 minutes. You start by slowly cooking the leeks in butter, allowing it to soften until it smells like onion heaven. Butter your ramekins, pour in dollops of the stewed tomatoes, leaving some room to add more ingredients, throw in the leeks, crack an egg into the tomatoes. It takes about 15 minutes to bake the eggs and meanwhile, you can make the garlic Parmesan toasts, which is basically rubbing some raw garlic on thick, crusty bread, sprinkling fresh Parmesan cheese over it and then broiling it until the cheese melts and begins to bubble.

I love having bread that serves as both food and a vehicle to pick up thick chunky sauces or soups. The bread is buttery and salty, contrasting nicely with the sweet tomatoes. It's warm and comforting too, which is exactly what I need now that winter is just around the corner.

McEwan is located at 38 Karl Fraser Road Toronto, M3C 0H7. T: 416-444-6262.
Thanks to The McEwan Group for the fun grocery experience! 

Baked Eggs in Tomatoes with Caramelized Leeks

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma. I love how versatile this recipe is, for example, instead of caramelized leeks, you can used cooked spinach, kale, or sautéed mushrooms. You can replace the Parmesan cheese with another cheese of your liking. Instead of balsamic vinegar, you can use heavy cream instead to make this extra indulgent. I used large ramekins that are about 1 to 1.5 cup capacities, but you can use small ramekins. Serve with a crusty bread of your choice.

2 teaspoons unsalted butter, plus more for the ramekins
2 fresh leeks (white and pale green parts only), cleaned and cut into half-inch sized coins

1-2 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
Kosher salt
McEwan's Own stewed tomatoes
3 large eggs
3 teaspoons of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 and 1/2 teaspoons of aged balsamic vinegar

Preheat an oven to 375°F. Generously butter 3 large ramekins.

Melt butter in large pan over medium heat. Add leeks and garlic and stir to coat. Cover and cook, stirring every 5 minutes until leeks have softened and turned golden brown. Season to taste with salt and remove from heat.

Divide McEwan's Own stewed tomatoes evenly among the prepared ramekins. Divide caramelized leeks over the tomatoes. Break an egg into each ramekin. Evenly sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and add 1/2 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar to each ramekin. Arrange the ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet.

Bake until the egg whites are opaque and the yolks have firm edges and are soft in the center, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve with bread. Serves 3 for a light dinner. 

Recipe here!

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