Eggs In Purgatory is a savory, indulgent breakfast treat that's simple to make, easy on the wallet, yet tastes like a million bucks. This entertaining-worthy dish is perfect for breakfast, brunch, or dinner, it only requires a handful of ingredients and is bound to be one of the greatest egg recipes you'll ever eat.
This luxuriously simple dish features a spicy tomato sauce flavored with aromatic garlic, onion, and fresh basil. The eggs are gently poached in the sauce while baking in the oven and end up with perfectly runny yolks surrounded by firm whites. Top it all off with grated Parmesan cheese, and serve with a warm and toasty baguette to soak up all that rich, saucy goodness.
WHY IS IT CALLED EGGS IN PURGATORY?
Eggs in Purgatory, or Uova in Purgatorio if called by its Italian name, is a spicy, tomato-based egg dish served for breakfast in Italy. Not to be mistaken by its Middle Eastern look-alike, Shakshuka.
This dish was playfully named based on its fiery, hell-ish appearance, but flavor also plays a role: spicy tomato sauce... hell... fire... you get the gist...
According to Catholic doctrine, purgatory is a place of suffering in which sinners' souls undergo purifying flames to atone for their sins before going to heaven. The eggs in this easy Eggs In Purgatory recipe represent the souls of sinners, and the tomato sauce represents the cleansing fire. What a lovely way to start the morning.
Despite its gloomy namesake, this egg dish is every bit as delicious as it is ominous sounding.
(Pst! If you love the eggs and tomatoes combo, be sure to check out our huevos rancheros!)
HERE'S WHAT YOU'LL NEED
- Olive Oil | Olive oil has all the right flavors when it comes to Italian dishes like Eggs In Purgatory, but if you don't have olive oil on hand feel free to use canola or avocado oil in its place.
- Onion and Garlic | Both of these ingredients are key in quickly (and easily) adding flavor and depth to this tomato sauce! Onion adds sweet and savory vibes, while garlic is responsible for a tiny kick of spice and sweet, buttery goodness.
- Canned Tomatoes | Our go-to tomatoes for just about every one of our tomato sauces are Italian imported San Marzano crushed tomatoes. They are rich, high-quality tomatoes imported straight from Italy. Canned tomatoes don't get better than this, and they are worth the price tag!
- Spices | The spice list is simple: Kosher salt to bring out the flavor, paprika for extra savory vibes, and red pepper flakes to bring the heat! If you are sensitive to spice and would like to avoid a fiery tomato sauce, feel free to sub in black pepper in the place of red pepper flakes.
- Basil | Basil brings a freshness to this dish and pairs extremely well with tomatoes, not to mention it makes a huge difference in flavor as well. Do not skimp out on this herb; it is a total difference maker – promise!
- Butter | Butter may look like a strange ingredient, but rest assured, it adds a lovely richness to the sauce, balancing out the acidity of the tomatoes nicely.
- Eggs | You can't have eggs in purgatory without the eggs. Our pan only allows for four eggs, but if you have an extra large oven-safe pan, feel free to use up to six eggs.
- Baguette | You are not going to want to skip out on the baguette when it comes to eggs in purgatory! One of my all-time favorite bites is a spread of tomato sauce on said toasted baguette,
topped off with firm egg white and a drizzle of yellow goodness from that runny yolk. The combination is heavenly!
For another perfect egg breakfast, try our veggie quiche!
HOW TO MAKE EGGS IN PURGATORY
The first thing you want to do is preheat your oven to 400°F. This dish starts on the stovetop, but it does end up in the oven, so (for convenience's sake), you'll want to begin with an oven-safe skillet. You can still make this dish if you do not have an oven-safe skillet. After the sauce is finished, transfer it to a baking dish and proceed with adding the eggs from there!
Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat and allow the oil to come to temperature. Then, you'll add in finely diced onion and sauté for about 4 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onion has softened. Add in the garlic and sauté for about one minute more until the garlic is fragrant. The onion and garlic add so much flavor to your Eggs In Purgatory!
Next, add a can of San Marzano crushed tomatoes, kosher salt, paprika, and crushed red pepper flakes. You'll also add half of the fresh basil, reserving the remaining basil for garnish.
Stir everything together and allow it to reach a simmer. Reduce the heat as necessary to maintain a simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the 10 minutes are up, add the butter and stir until melted.
For a smoother sauce, feel free to transfer the contents of the pan carefully to either a blender or a food processor fitted with a blade attachment. Remove the feeding tube and cover it with a kitchen towel. This is so that steam doesn't build up. Process until the tomato sauce is smooth to your liking and transfer back to the pan.
Use a spoon or spatula to create divots in the sauce, and carefully crack an egg into each well. Transfer the dish to the oven and bake you Eggs In Purgatory for 8 to 10 minutes until the whites are set and the yolks are done to your liking.
Remove the pan from the oven and garnish the dish with the remaining basil, Parmesan cheese, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, if desired. Serve immediately with crusty bread on the side or poached egg and tomato sauce on top, and enjoy!
WHAT TO SERVE WITH EGGS IN PURGATORY
Our number one recommendation for serving with Eggs In Purgatory is 100% crusty bread; however, if you're looking to add more protein, a nice pan-seared steak or Italian sausage would go great. You might also enjoy this dish with an Italian chopped salad, roasted asparagus, or even pita bread and hummus.
6 MORE NEXT-LEVEL EGG DISHES
Eggs In Purgatory is the ultimate savory, spicy breakfast dish and it can be whipped up in less than 30 minutes!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, finely diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 (28-ounce) can San Marzano crushed tomatoes
- 1 ¼ teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- ½ cup fresh, chopped basil, separated
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 4 large eggs
- Toasted baguette, for serving
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Add the oil to a large, oven-safe skillet over medium heat and bring to temperature. Add the onion and sauté for about 4-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute more, stirring often.
Add the crushed tomatoes, salt, paprika, crushed red pepper, and half of the basil. Stir and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes, reducing the heat as necessary to maintain a simmer. Add the butter and stir until melted.
For a smoother sauce, carefully transfer the contents of the pan to a blender or food processor fitted with a blade attachment. Remove the feed tube, cover the opening with a kitchen towel, and process until the sauce is smooth and puréed. Return the sauce to the pan.
Use a spoon or spatula to create a well/divot in the sauce and carefully crack an egg into the hole. Repeat this with 3 more eggs (or as many as your pan will allow for).
Transfer to the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the whites are cooked through and the yolks are done to your liking. Garnish with the remaining chopped basil.
Allow to cool slightly, serve with a crusty baguette, and enjoy!
Sources: Wikipedia | Purgatory