The first time I had a dish like this was in college while on vacation in Morocco (I was going to school in Wales at the time). The Moroccan version of Eggs in Purgatory is called Shakshuka. I’ll never forget sitting down to our meal (we were not able to order off a menu, not fun for a picky eater like me at the time) I had never seen such a thing, it made no sense to me at all, who the heck cooks eggs in tomato sauce? I remember eating the egg and leaving the rest. Picky, me! Things and tastes sure do change in 10 years (wink). Eggs in Purgatory is an Italian interpretation of Skakshuka which has cumin in it, and cumin and eggs don’t do a thing for me. But I love this one!
The beauty of this dish is how easy it is to make. Not too many ingredients, but the quality of those ingredients is paramount. I used Italian San Marzano canned tomatoes and those amazing eggs are from Green Machine Farm, located in Zumbrota, MN which I purchased at the Farmers Market on Saturday. I think this would make the perfect Easter brunch dish or Easter dinner (that is, if you celebrate Easter, if not, you’ll still like it!). You can serve in individual portions using some six-ounce ramekins, or au gratin dishes. Or you could serve right on a piece of toasted crusty bread.
There are a lot of recipes online for this dish, and really not many of variations. I’ve based mine off of a Joanne Weir recipe. She has a show on PBS on Saturdays, and she’s located in San Francisco, probably why I like her so much! And it’s got a little kick to it, hence Purgatory in the recipe name!
This dish is:
- Nice twist on brunch or easy dinner
Perfect as a brunch dish or easy weeknight dinner.
- 3 slices smoked bacon (chopped (pancetta may be substituted))
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion (sliced)
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 28 oz. canned tomatoes (crushed) (San Marzano if possible)
- kosher salt and pepper to taste
- 8 large eggs
- salt and pepper to taste (I salt the eggs when I add to the pan)
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (grated)
- 4 slices crusty bread (I like a good seedy bread) (thickly sliced and toasted)
- 8 leaves fresh basil (torn or sliced)
- Prep the vegetables, slice the bacon, onions, and garlic. If you have everything out and ready to go, this goes very quick.
- Cook the bacon until crispy, remove from pan and crumble. Wipe most of the bacon fat from the pan. Add the olive oil and onions and cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes, oregano, and garlic, stir for about one minute. (if the veg seems too dry, add a little chicken stock, or wine to grab the bits from the pan and prevent burning)
- Add tomatoes and simmer (a low bubble) for about 25 minutes. Can be made ahead of time to this point, 1-2 days. Cover and refrigerate.
- When ready to serve. Crack the eggs into 2 small dishes (do this to prevent a broken egg landing in your lovely sauce). Make 4 wells in the sauce and slip the eggs into each well. Cover and cook until done. Sauce should still be at a low simmer at this point)
- Serve in bowls with toasted crusty bread (absolutely mandatory for this one!) Top with a sprinkling of parm and fresh basil. Add a nice green salad and you’ve got the perfect brunch meal!
Do as I say, not as I do (fails):
What would I do differently?
- make in individual ramekins (if serving for a party) it’s a bit neater
- wait to add the eggs until ready to serve (eggs won’t wait!)