Not long ago, I found myself home alone at supper time, a very rare occurrence. BeeBop was out of town on a business trip and I’d had a very busy day so I didn’t really want to cook anything too complicated. I just wanted something good and quick, easy and tasty.
Eggs in Purgatory is a classic recipe that, for some reason, I had never gotten around to trying. I’ve read about it. I’ve seen other cooks make it. And I’ve drooled over the thought of it. So, what did I do? I used my evening alone to try something new in the kitchen! From the time I took the skillet out of the cabinet until I sat down to enjoy my dinner was no more than 20 minutes. I’d call that quick and easy!
I did a little research on the history of Eggs in Purgatory and like so many classic dishes from our past, the actual origin of it is quite unknown. Because of its reference to Purgatory, it’s assumed to be associated with the Catholic faith, the eggs representing “souls” and the fiery tomato sauce surrounding them representing their suspension between Heaven and Hell. Sounds plausible to me, but then I’m not Catholic. It’s also believable that Eggs in Purgatory is likely based on an older dish from North Africa called shakshouka. Then again, it’s a whole lot like huevos rancheros from Mexico. No matter where it originated, it’s just an incredibly delicious and satisfying recipe.
I hope you’ll give this one a try and let me know how you liked it. Remember, you can adjust the red pepper flakes according to your own taste. If you like yours really hot, use a lot. If you lean more to the milder side, use a lot less :-) Oh, and don’t forget plenty of garlic bread or toast for dunking!
Warm the olive oil over medium heat in a small skillet. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 2-3 minutes being careful not to let the garlic brown. Pour in the tomatoes with their juice and break them up with a spoon or potato masher. Add most of the basil, reserving just a bit for garnish, and simmer the mixture for a few minutes or until the liquid has cooked down somewhat (usually takes 8-10 minutes for me).
Crack each egg into a small bowl and carefully slip them into the pan on top of the simmering sauce. (Note: be sure the sauce is just simmering and not boiling – you want it bubbling just enough to poach the eggs in it.) Sprinkle the eggs with a bit of salt and pepper. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the egg whites and tomato sauce but avoid getting much onto the yolks. Cover the pan with a lid and cook at a simmer for about 5 minutes or until the whites are set and the yolks still runny.
Remove from the heat and garnish with the remaining chopped fresh basil and, if desired, another little sprinkle of red pepper flakes. Serve with plenty of garlic bread to dunk into the eggs and tomato sauce.
More Eggs in Purgatory recipes you might enjoy:
- Eggs in Purgatory from The Paupered Chef
- Eggs in Purgatory with Asparagus from Skinny Taste
- Eggs in Purgatory from bell’alimento
- Huevos el Diablo (the Devil’s Eggs) from Everyday Southwest
- Eggs and Chard in Purgatory from More Cheese More Chocolate