Recipe: Ottolenghi’s Braised Eggs with Leek and Za’atar

published Oct 8, 2018
Ottolenghi's Braised Eggs with Leek and Za'atar
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(Image credit: Jonathan Lovekin)

If you love poached or gently baked eggs as much as I do, this all-day egg skillet will be right up your alley. The yolky eggs and chunks of soft, briny feta make it a touch indulgent, but there’s just enough wilted spinach to keep it feeling light. But what makes this recipe stand out (and the a-ha moment I will most definitely borrow for many other meals) is the oil-kissed za’atar spice that’s brushed over the eggs right before serving. It’s so simple and greater than the sum of its parts, and serves as the extra touch that makes these eggs something truly special.

Meal Prep This Skillet for a Head Start on Dinner

One of the qualities I really love about Ottolenghi’s Simple is how it’s organized. He distinctly calls out the make-ahead moments in recipes, and specifies when recipes come together with 10 ingredients or fewer, or have a short cook time. As you might have guessed, this any-time-of-day skillet fits into each of those categories.

While this meal doesn’t take terribly long to pull together, it’s even easier when you get a head start during meal prep. The leeks and spinach that make up the base of the braise can be prepped and cooked a day in advance. That way all that’s left to do when brunch or dinner rolls around is reheat the veggies and crack the eggs into the skillet.

Ottolenghi's Braised Eggs with Leek and Za'atar

Serves 6

Nutritional Info


  • 2 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil, divided

  • 2

    extra-large leeks (or 4 small), trimmed and thinly sliced (about 6 cups)

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 1/4 cups

    low-sodium vegetable broth

  • 1/2

    small preserved lemon, seeds discarded, skin and flesh finely chopped

  • 1 teaspoon

    cumin seeds, lightly toasted and crushed

  • 7 ounces

    baby spinach leaves (about 7 packed cups)

  • 6

    large eggs

  • 3 1/4

    ounces feta cheese, crumbled into 3/4-inch pieces (about 1 generous cup)

  • 1 tablespoon



  1. Heat 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, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and plenty of pepper. Fry, stirring frequently, until the leeks are soft, about 3 minutes. Add the vegetable broth, lemon, and cumin. Bring to a boil and cook until most of the broth has evaporated, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the spinach and fold in until wilted, about 1 minute.

  2. Reduce the heat to medium. Use a large spoon to make 6 indentations in the mixture. Break 1 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 whites are set but the yolks are still runny, 4 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the za'atar with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil.

  3. Brush the za'atar over the eggs. Serve at once, straight from the pan.

  4. Recipes and photographs reprinted from Ottolenghi Simple. Copyright © 2018 by Yotam Ottolenghi. Photographs copyright © 2018 by Jonathan Lovekin. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

Buy the Book! Ottolenghi Simple, by Yotam Ottolenghi, $22