Ari's Top 5

Uove in Purgatorio

“Eggs in Purgatory” makes a marvelous meal

Eggs in Purgatory

If you don’t remember your religious contexts, purgatory is where our souls wait for purification before getting into heaven. Regardless of one’s religious beliefs, the concept seemed about right for this period of the pandemic; we’re getting close, but we’re not really out the other side either. Science fiction writer Philip José Farmer once said that, “Purgatory is hell with hope.” So… what better dish to honor this period of still-challenging passage into what we hope will be a more positive future.

Eggs in Purgatory is quite common in Italy, and other Mediterranean cultures make their own version of it as well. Start by making a tomato sauce. As you know, I’ve been hooked on the terrific Bianco DiNapoli tinned tomatoes that we get from my friend Chris Bianco (we have the tins at both the Cream Top Shop and the Roadhouse). If you like garlic, chop some up and gently sauté a bit in extra virgin olive oil until it’s lightly golden-brown. Add a can of Chris Bianco’s “crushed tomatoes”—just pour it straight into the skillet (be careful not to let it splatter if your skillet is hot). Add a bit more olive oil, some sea salt, and some good black pepper and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add some crushed red pepper flakes to taste too (I like the Turkish Maras, or the great Korean red pepper we have at the Deli). Taste the sauce and when you feel like it’s ready, gently crack each egg into the sauce. The idea is to let them stay whole, so don’t overcrowd the pan. Cover so that the eggs can cook through without any stirring or flipping. When the eggs are set, let the dish rest for a minute or two, and then you’re ready to eat. Serve, if you like, over toasted Paesano bread that you’ve brushed with olive oil. Season with salt to taste and more pepper, eat and enjoy.

If you like, you can add anchovies to the sauce while it’s simmering (before you add the eggs), or alternatively, a bit of that really nice ’Nduja I wrote about last week. I had the thought the other day to toast a Hoagie bun from the Bakehouse and spoon on the cooked eggs in the sauce to make something of a tomato and egg po’ boy! The Eggs in Purgatory are excellent as leftovers the next day. Some folks I’ve seen add a bit of Parmigiano Reggiano on top too. It’s a great dish for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner! Check it out—it’s way too good to be held in purgatory.