Family-style dining is one of my favorite ways to share a meal with people. It's the ultimate ice-breaker. Once someone makes the leap and digs in first, the meal — whether comprised of family, friends, or soon-to-be friends — is instantly invigorated with a sense of sharing and conviviality.
And then there are the meals when you just want the food that's on your plate. Baked potatoes, by their very nature, get you there. The fluffy potato, wrapped up in a jacket of crisp potato skin, is both filling and vessel. When you think of it that way, what you dream up to put in it runs the gamut from butter, salt, and pepper to this deceptively easy dish of baked potato shakshuka.
And when I say easy, I mean it. This isn't a ploy to use the word "easy" to entice you into cooking this potato; this is a full disclosure on a recipe that is absolutely delicious and enjoyable to prepare and serve.
How you make this easy is by getting a leg up on the actual baking of the potatoes. You've got quite a few choices on how to get that done.
Three Methods for Baking Potatoes
There's more behind this being easy. Use your favorite jarred marinara, use your own recipe for marinara, or use that amazing tomato sauce you canned from this summer's bumper crop of tomatoes and cooked all those hours on the stove. The options are yours for the making and taking. Choosing the sauce is the "difficult part." After that, it's a quick dance that includes adding a dash of cayenne for a flicker of heat, cracking an egg, drizzling olive oil, and popping the potato into the oven to cook the egg until it sets.
Now that I think of it, this is a pretty good option for a lazy breakfast as well.
Baked Potato Shakshuka
Serves 1 (but easily scaled up as needed)
1 potato, baked
1/2 cup marinara sauce
Pinch of cayenne
1 large egg
Salt to taste
Snipped parsley (optional)
Using a knife, cut the potato in half lengthwise. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Using a fork, generously fluff the inside of the potato, careful not to tear the skin.
Divide the marinara sauce between the potato halves. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper to each. Using a fork, work the marinara into the potato, adding more as needed so the potato halves are generously filled. Create a well in the center of the marinara sauce.
Crack the egg into a small dish. Gently slide it into the well. Drizzle over olive oil. Broil potatoes 3 to 4 minutes or until the egg whites are set and yolks are thickened but still runny.
Remove the potatoes from the oven and season with salt. Top with parsley.
Note: If your potato is cold out of the fridge, wrap it in a paper towel and reheat in the microwave in 30-second intervals until just warm.
(Image credits: Kelli Foster)