Yotam Ottolenghi’s Braised Eggs with Leek and Za’atar
Leave it to mastermind Yotam Ottolenghi to reinvent shakshuka so it’s new and exciting again. Braised eggs with leek and za’atar from Ottolenghi Simple: A Cookbook are saucy, cheesy and everything we’ve ever wanted in a skillet dinner.
“This is a quick way to get a very comforting meal on the table in a wonderfully short amount of time,” Ottolenghi said. “It’s a dish as happily eaten for brunch, with coffee, as it is for a light supper with some crusty white bread and a glass of wine.” May we suggest a crisp glass of Chardonnay?
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 extra-large leeks (or 4 smaller), trimmed and cut into ¼-inch slices (6 cups/530g)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
½ small preserved lemon, seeds discarded, skin and flesh finely chopped (2½ tablespoons)
1¼ cups vegetable stock
7 ounces baby spinach leaves
6 large eggs
3¼ ounces feta, broken into ¾-inch pieces
1 tablespoon za’atar
1. Put the butter and 1 tablespoon of the oil into a large sauté pan with a lid and place over medium-high heat. Once the butter starts to foam, add the leeks, ½ teaspoon of salt and plenty of pepper. Fry for 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the leeks are soft. Add the cumin, lemon and vegetable stock and boil rapidly until most of the stock has evaporated, about 4 minutes. Fold in the spinach and cook for 1 minute, until wilted, then decrease the heat to medium.
2. Use a large spoon to make six indentations in the mixture and break one egg into each space. Sprinkle the eggs with a pinch of salt, dot the feta around the eggs, then cover the pan. Simmer until the egg withes are cooked but the yolks are still runny, about 4 minutes.
3. Mix the za’atar with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and brush over the eggs. Serve at once, straight from the pan.