10 January 2007
what's cooking wednesday: eggs in purgatory

Because of this dish, I'll probably get a few hits from freaky religious people searching for their paths or their Truth or whatever, but so be it. Eggs in purgatory are gooood.

Besides, I've recently been found by someone searching for "the ledge freaky weird stevie fans stevie nicks," so I shouldn't so much worry about the religious nuts, right?

Welcome freaky religious people!

Today's What's Cooking Wednesday is inspired by the fact that P brings me at least 5 eggs every day.

We have hens you know. Although we give most of the eggs away, there's still an awful lot left over. And that allows one's imagination to run wild with visions of different egg plates.

And someday I'll show you the hens, I promise.

I remember my grandmother serving Eggs in Purgatory as a quick, light lunch or dinner--kind of something you make when you don't know what else to eat. But it could easily be an impressive looking appetizer for those who don't know just how easy the recipe really is.

As far as I know, this dish comes from Naples--if The Sopranos Family Cookbook says so, it must be true. Actually though, I assume my grandmother got this one from her father's side of the family, which was from a small village in the province of Salerno near Naples. According to family lore, her father was also quite a cook, particularly with coniglio.

If you already have leftover tomato sauce, by all means, just put that in a skillet and heat it up before breaking the eggs in. That makes this recipe *extremely* fast and easy.

For those who are doing this from scratch, though, I'll include a recipe for sauce here, as I do make this one differently than I would for pasta.

Uova in Purgatorio/Eggs in Purgatory
(serves up to 4)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 can peeled tomatoes, passed through
grinder, or coarsely chopped
4 fresh basil leaves or 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt, black pepper, & peperoncino to taste
1-2 eggs per person (up to 8)
Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Put the olive oil in a skillet large enough to hold the number of eggs you'll be making. Sauté the garlic until lightly browned over medium heat. Add the tomatoes, basil or oregano, salt, pepper, and peperoncino and cook sauce for about 15 minutes or until it is thickened to your taste.

Once the sauce is ready, make little wells in the sauce and break in eggs one at a time. Grate a generous amount of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese directly on top. Cover the skillet and let eggs cook until the yolks are to your desired runnyness (yes, that's a word for the purposes of this recipe).

Serve immediately with crusty bread. Grate more cheese on top if you like 'em cheesy like I do!

Buon appetito!

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Blogger Giulia said...

My Sister In Law makes this dish often. She never called it Uova in Purgatorio though. She uses some butchered Napoletan dialect name for it. LOL
Man, now I have to ask her what she calls it because it's on the tip of my tongue and I just can't remember!

Anonymous karen said...

Ehi! Watch it, young lady, Naples has it's own province. :) This may sound strange, but I swear I've seen that dish being held by a pastore in a presepe somewhere.

Blogger Gil said...

Brings back memories of my youth. I think that both of my Grandmother and my Mom made this dish!

Blogger sognatrice said...

Giulia, definitely let me know if you think of it. I don't know any dialect from my great-grandfather's side.

Oops Karen! I meant to say what I've now edited the post to read. Thanks! And sadly perhaps, your recollection doesn't sound all that strange.

Gil, glad to spark the memories. And I loved your comment on the de-lurking post.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

From a fellow PA coal country transplant - my grandmother, from Calabria, always made this when we didn't have enough meatballs to go around. She would throw some eggs in the sauce and mmmmmm! This brings back great memories. I think I am going to have this for dinner tonight!

Anonymous J.Doe said...

Looks good.

Blogger Christine said...

YUM! This is also how I make my huevos rancheros (should you want to mix it up for the P)...I basically make a fresh salsa (chopped tomato, onion, garlic, green pepper, jalapeno, and a bit of oil and lime juice), bring it to a simmer, add the eggs, serve with refried beans (mashed pinto beans, garlic, onion, chili, cumin) and rice. It's a popular sunday brunch in my house.

Maybe I'll mix it up and make the uova in purgatorio this week to mix it up here.

Blogger Shan said...

Looks yummy. I'll have to give it a try.

Blogger Delina said...

I've never had it here, but it looks like something I'd like.

Anonymous something said...

Believe it or not, my Calabrese grandmother used to make it for me as I snack when I got home from school (4 in the afternoon). She always saw me as undernourished and lavished me with food to show her love. No, I'm still not overweight!

Blogger sognatrice said...

Anonymous, we ate this all the time with leftover sauce too; nice to hear from you!

JDoe and Shan, thanks--I hope you've tried it by now :)

Christine, that sounds good, although I'd have to scramble (hah!) to find some of those ingredients here. Worth looking though....

Delina, I'm wondering if you've seen it around by now....

Something, oh I definitely believe it. Mangia mangia!!!

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