I love the richness of a true, Spanish-style sofrito – that beautiful meld of onions, garlic, tomatoes and olive oil graced by just a touch of smoked paprika and fresh herbs from the garden. It’s easy to spoon a dollop of sofrito over chicken as it bakes, or blend a little with homemade mayonnaise to spread against whole-grain sourdough bread for sandwiches.
From time to time, when I’m looking for a simple but wholesome and easy breakfast, I’ll line mini cocottes or ramekins with a slice of ham, spoon in a bit of sofrito and crack an egg into them. They bake a little less than ten minutes, and then breakfast is done. That’s enough time to grab a quick shower, get dressed or rouse the kids from bed.
|Baked Eggs with Ham and Sofrito|| |
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped coarsely
- 4 cloves garlic
- ⅔ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups pureed tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- finely ground sea salt
- butter, for greasing the cocottes
- 6 slices Applegate Naturals Uncured Black Forest Ham
- 6 eggs
- 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Puree the onion and garlic together in a high-speed blender (we use this one) until smooth.
- Warm the olive oil in a wide braising dish (like this one) over medium heat, then pour in the onion and garlic puree. Cook over medium heat the onion and garlic release their fragrance, and begin to color. Pour in the pureed tomato, and then turn the heat down to medium-low. Stir in the smoked paprika and drop in the herbs. Simmer, uncovered, until the flavors marry and the sauce thickens, about twenty minutes. Pluck out the herbs, adjust seasoning with salt, and transfer to a bowl.
- Heat the oven to 350 F.
- Butter your ramekins or cocottes (we use these mini cocottes), then line each cocotte with a slice of ham. Evenly distribute the sofrito into each of the cocottes, over the ham, and crack an egg over the sofrito. Bake until the white is set, but the yolk remains soft - about 8 minutes. Top with freshly chopped parsley and serve.
Where to Find Ham without All the Junk
Most deli meats and cured meats you find at the grocery store are loaded with additives, so my family tends to avoid them. Call me a purist, but I prefer to skip the additives, wherever possible, and stick with simple ingredients. Traditionally, ham’s ingredients include pork, salt, sugar and a curing agent. It’s pretty simple, right?
Of course, not only is the ham you find in most grocery store cases loaded with additives, but it’s also produced from pigs that are routinely given antibiotics as well as ractopamine, a feed additive that promotes leanness in meat that is also linked to a number of health concerns (read more here).
We partner with Applegate, and buy their Black Forest Ham at our local grocery store’s deli counter. It’s made with just pork, salt, honey, sugar and celery powder. And the animals aren’t ever fed antibiotics or hormones. You can find it at most grocery stores and natural food stores around the country. Click here to find one near you.