Spicy Baked Eggs with Halloumi & Harissa
If you have never heard of harissa then I definitely recommend you try it! It is a spicy (but not "boiling lava hot" spicy) sauce or paste that is typically used in North African and Middle Eastern cooking. The sauce is a blend of hot chili peppers and spices and herbs such as coriander, cumin, garlic and lemon. This is a great dish if you love eggs and tomato sauce (both separately or together) but are looking to impress your brunch guests with your worldliness. I'm calling it now, harissa will build a cult following that can rival the reigning condiment, Sriracha.
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup diced yellow onion
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon paprika
1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes with juices, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons harissa*, additional to taste, I use Mina Harissa
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces halloumi cheese**
5 large eggs
Chopped cilantro, for serving
Challah bread, for serving
Heat a grill or griddle.to 400°F.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Heat the oil in a large oven-proof skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the cumin and paprika, and cook for 1 additional minute. Pour in the tomatoes and harissa, then season with salt and pepper. Simmer until the tomatoes have thickened, about 15 minutes.
Grill the halloumi until grill marks appear, about 30 seconds on each side. Remove from the grill and break into 1” cubes. Scatter the halloumi over the top of the tomatoes.
Gently crack the eggs into the skillet over the tomatoes. Transfer the skillet to the oven, and bake until the eggs are just set, 8 to 10 minutes. Top with cilantro and serve with challah bread on the side.
*Note: harissa is a spicy North African paste and can be found at specialty grocery stores, most Whole Foods or online here.
**Note: Halloumi is semi-hard, brined cheese made from a mixture of goat's and sheep's milk that can easily be grilled. It can be found gourmet grocery stores and Whole Foods.