The pool’s open, the garden’s in, the weather’s pretty decent, and so it’s houseguest season again in Southampton. That means, of course, that there’s lots of cooking to be done, which I enjoy so long as it doesn’t cut into our beach or pool time too much. My dinner repertoire is in pretty good shape, and I’ve got a few quick but tasty lunches in my back pocket, but my breakfast show is a little tired — and not just because I’m not a morning person.
I’ve been auditioning some new recipes, though, and this one’s a keeper. It has a rich, satisfying flavor from caramelized onions, and the green olives, cilantro and cumin give the dish an interesting Moroccan accent. The flavors are mild and nicely balanced, though, and the texture is light and fluffy, making it a crowd-pleasing Sunday breakfast or brunch, or a delicious light supper. And it comes together in about a half hour, leaving plenty of time to hit the beach with Julia before we head back to the city.
(Serves two, adapted from Tagine B’Beid, Egg Tagine with Olives, Onions, and Cilantro in Cooking at the Kasbah, by Kitty Morse.)
2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped (or good canned tomatoes)
About 10 green olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 bay leaf
About 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced, and a few leaves to garnish
1 teaspoon ground cumin (ideally freshly ground)
Salt and pepper to taste
1. To prepare the tomatoes, blanch them in boiling water for about 15 seconds and remove to a cutting board. When they’re cool enough to handle, slip of the skins (this will be easy), then cut them in half and squeeze out the seeds over a bowl. Coarsely chop and set aside to drain on a paper towel or in a colander. If there aren’t good ripe fresh tomatoes at the market (or in your garden), good canned tomatoes will do just fine, and they’ll save you time.
2. Heat a medium sized skillet over medium-high heat for about a minute, add the olive oil and heat for another minute, and then add the onions, olives. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly caramelized, about 8 to 10 minutes.
3. Add the tomatoes, garlic and bay leaf. Stir to blend and mash the whole mixture lightly with a fork. Reduce heat to low and simmer until most of the liquid evaporates and the flavors marry, about 15 minutes. Discard the bay leaf.
4. While the tomato sauce is cooking, crack the eggs into a bowl and beat them with the cilantro, cumin, salt and pepper. When it’s done, pour the egg mixture into the simmering tomatoes and stir gently just until the eggs are set, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a shallow serving bowl and garnish with the cilantro leaves. Serve immediately with warm or toasted bread.