Za’atar Baked Eggs Recipe (2024)

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I’ve been lucky enough to spend the past 20 years working in food media, following the brightest restaurant talents, traveling in search of great food, and eating alongside some of the world’s best chefs. In my role as special projects director at Food & Wine and as a judge on Bravo’s Top Chef, I’ve eaten my way through more tasting menus, late-night small plates, and street-food stalls than I’d like to admit. But, of course, that's the side of my life everyone who knows anything about me already knows.What most people probably don’t realize is, long before I sat at the Top Chef Judges’ Table, I was a cook. In fact, cooking is in my blood. When I was growing up in Toronto, my mom was a cooking instructor and food writer. She made our kitchen a teaching space and filled our fridge with exotic-seeming ingredients. The happy times I spent with her there helped make the kitchen a place where I’ve always found comfort and exhilaration.In my teens, I spent a summer on a kibbutz in Israel working in my first professional kitchen. I was assigned to breakfast duty and fell in love with scrambling, poaching, and frying eggs by the dozens. Today, one of my go-to brunches is baked eggs in a cherry tomato–pepper mix seasoned with the Mediterranean spice blend za’atar. It never fails to conjure happy memories of that magical time—and you’ll find the recipe below.My love of the kitchen drew me to New York City after college, first as a culinary student, then as a line cook. It's also what motivated me, once I left restaurant life, to seek out jobs that kept me connected to cooking. I did research and recipe testing for a food writer, managed events and PR for a chef, and then landed at Food & Wine, while also taking a seat at the Judges’ Table when Top Chef began in 2006. I'd like to think of my role as that of chef translator, helping to make dishes, techniques, and flavors accessible to home cooks.Among the most meaningful moments in my career so far have been opportunities to learn from chefs and food experts I've befriended. Lessons these mentors have shared can be found throughout my new cookbook—my first—Bringing It Home: Favorite Recipes from a Life of Adventurous Eating, a collection of dishes I love making for family and friends. My hope is the book will encourage people to embark on their own cooking and eating adventures.You can also find recipes I’ve created especially for Food & Wine here at F&W Cooks, and in each issue of the magazine, in my column, “At My Table.”


Gail Simmons

Za’atar Baked Eggs Recipe (1)

Gail Simmons is a trained culinary expert, food writer, and dynamic television personality. Since the show's inception in 2006, she has lent her expertise as a permanent judge on BRAVO's Emmy and James Beard Award-winning series Top Chef, now in its 19th successful season. She is a co-host of The Good Dish, the new daily syndicated series offering delicious recipes, real-life wisdom, and conversations on the topics of the day, and most recently was host of Top Chef Amateurs, as well as IronChef Canada. From 2004 to 2019, Gail served as the special projects director at Food & Wine.

Updated on November 1, 2017

Total Time:

30 mins




  • 3 tablespoonsextra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced

  • Kosher salt

  • Pepper

  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes

  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons finely chopped parsley, plus more for garnish

  • 2 teaspoons za’atar, plus more for garnish

  • 4 large eggs

  • 1 cup plain yogurt

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped seeded English cucumber

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus more for drizzling

  • 1/2 teaspoon sumac

  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped mint


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the 3 tablespoons of olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until some of them burst, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the bell peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until the peppers are softened and all of the tomatoes have burst, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in ¼ cup of the parsley and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the za’atar. Season the tomato sauce with salt and pepper.

  2. Using a spoon, make 4 wells in the tomato sauce, then crack an egg into each one; season with salt and pepper. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the egg whites are just set and the yolks are still runny.

  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the yogurt with the cucumber, the 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, the sumac, mint and the remaining 2 teaspoons of parsley and 1/2 teaspoon of za’atar. Season with salt and garnish with za’atar. Drizzle the eggs with olive oil and garnish with parsley. Drizzle the tomato sauce with lemon juice. Serve with the cucumber yogurt.

    Za’atar Baked Eggs Recipe (2)

Originally appeared: November 2017

Za’atar Baked Eggs Recipe (2024)


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