Pairing tomato sauce with eggs may seem like an unlikely flavor combination. To me, it’s heavenly.
My Sicilian father would make a variety of egg dishes; fried peppers and eggs, spinach and eggs, meatloaf with eggs; basically frittatas using freshly cooked veggies or leftovers from last night’s dinner. For many years, I worked right around the corner from his house. I would stop by for lunch to visit with him, and of course, be treated to a home cooked meal. I honestly have to say, growing up I had never heard this egg dish referred to as such. It was simply poached or simmered egg in tomato sauce. Years later, I heard this interesting and somewhat fitting name.
When cooked perfectly and served, the eggs break to release their yolk creamy richness into the sauce. Follow with toasted garlic-rubbed rustic bread sopping up the excess. Being a spicy girl, I add crushed red pepper to my simmering sauce and a touch of cream at the end to lighten and soften the sauce. Serving with a spoonful of ricotta cheese and fresh herbs on top adds an extra creamy and fresh taste.
Eggs in Purgatory
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 15 oz can fire roasted tomatoes, pureed
2 garlic cloves, lightly smashed
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
4-5 Basil leaves, roughly torn
1 tablespoon heavy cream
4 large eggs
2 -3 tablespoons freshly ground parmesan cheese
In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil and toss in the garlic. Gently simmer the garlic for one minute, then adding in the tomato sauce, basil leaves, crushed red pepper and salt and pepper to taste. Allow to simmer, occasionally stirring for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, crack each egg into a separate cup so that dropping the egg into the sauce will be easier. When the sauce has simmered for 15 minutes and slightly thickened, remove the garlic and stir in the tablespoon of cream. Using a spoon make a well in the sauce to gently slide in an egg, repeating for all four eggs. Sprinkle on the parmesan cheese, cover and cook for about 3-5 minutes or until eggs are set to your preference. I have occasionally either placed the skillet under the broiler to finish or in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes to complete set the eggs. Serve with toasted rustic bread and if you don’t mind garlic in the morning, use the simmered garlic cloves to rub over the bread! Serves 2.