Eggs in Purgatory
It’s unclear whether "purgatory" refers to the bubbling red tomato sauce used to poach the eggs in this easy skillet meal or the fire of the red-pepper flakes that the sauce is spiked with. In either case, this speedy Southern Italian dish, whipped up from pantry staples, makes for a heavenly brunch, lunch or light supper. Note that the anchovies are not traditional, but they add a subtle fishy richness to the tomatoes. However, feel free to leave them out.
- Serves: 3 persons
- 2tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling on toast
- 2large cloves garlic, 1 thinly sliced and 1 halved
- 3anchovy fillets, minced (optional)
- Pinch of red-pepper flakes, more to taste and for serving
- 1(28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- ½teaspoon fine sea salt, more to taste
- ¼teaspoon black pepper
- 1large sprig fresh basil or rosemary, or a pinch of dried rosemary
- 2tablespoons grated Parmesan, more for serving
- 1tablespoon unsalted butter, more to taste
- Sliced crusty bread, for serving
- Small handful chopped basil or parsley, for garnish
Step 1In a large skillet with a lid, heat oil over medium heat. Add the sliced garlic, anchovies and red-pepper flakes and cook just until the garlic turns golden brown at the edges, about 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, salt, pepper and basil sprig, and turn the heat to medium-low.
Step 2Simmer, squashing tomato pieces with a wooden spoon or a potato masher, until the tomatoes break down and thicken into a sauce, 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in Parmesan, butter, salt and red-pepper flakes to taste.
Step 3Using the back of a spoon, make 6 divots into the tomato sauce, then crack an egg into each divot. Cover the pan and let cook until the eggs are set to taste, about 2 to 3 minutes for runny yolks. (If the pan is not covered, the eggs won't cook through, so don't skip that step.)
Step 4While the eggs are cooking, toast bread in a toaster or under the broiler. Rub warm toast with the cut garlic clove, drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with salt.
Step 5To serve, sprinkle eggs with more Parmesan and chopped herbs, then spoon onto plates or into shallow bowls. Serve with garlic toast and pass pepper flakes at the table.