Sunny spring weather is upon us! This calls for eating brunch outside with family and friends, whether in your backyard, on your front porch or stoop, or simply next to a wide-open window. This classic egg-and-tomato dish from North Africa and the Middle East is a luscious combination of spices, sweet and tart flavors from tomatoes and sweet peppers (I omitted these this time), and richness from eggs. I have heightened the tart a little bit with lemon juice to brighten the final flavor, and added chickpeas for a little more protein and texture.
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium red onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons paprika, sweet, spicy, or smoked
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chile powder
Juice of 1 lemon, zest reserved
1 28-ounce can whole-peeled tomatoes, crushed between your fingers
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, no salt added, in their liquid
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Small handfuls of parsley, cilantro, and mint, roughly chopped
Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and, when hot, add the onion and cook until starting to get tender and more translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and spices and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice, bring it to a boil, and let about half of the juice boil away. Stir in the tomatoes (now crushed thanks to you) and the chickpeas with their no-salt-added liquid (if a salted chickpea liquid is used, just be mindful about seasoning less later on). Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Let the mixture come to simmer and bubble away until slightly thickened, about 5 to 6 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, work around the perimeter of the pan to make little wells into which you crack the eggs. You can mound the tomato-chickpea mixture around each egg to give it a little cozy nook. Season each egg with salt and pepper. Cover the pan with a lid, reduce the heat slightly to low, and let cook until the whites of the eggs are cooked and the yolk is just set, about 5 to 8 minutes. Alternatively, you could place the skillet into a preheated 400 degree lid-free and cook for about the same amount of time.
Garnish the dish with the chopped herbs and reserved lemon zest. Enjoy!