Peasant food at its finest ! My favorite cuisine in the entire world, rustic peasant meals, made somewhere in the country side with the freshest ingredients picked just minutes before they made it into my skillet.
No, it was not Le Cordon Bleu academy that introduced us to real cooking and techniques, it was the hard working peasants from each corner of the world, the ones who planted, watered and harvested.
Imagine grandma on her way home after a long hard summer day in the fields, strolling through her garden, picking some onions, a pepper, a few tomatoes off the vine, and a bunch of intoxicating basil. She peaks in the chickens coop and grabs a few eggs the hens had laid that morning. A splash of olive oil in her old scratched skillet, some slicing, a pinch of this and a pinch of that, stir the polenta, crack some eggs and dinner is ready!
Eggs in Purgatory -Peasant Food at Its Finest !
Eggs in Purgatory Recipe or Uova in Purgatorio Ricetta
( serves 4)
- 3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion ( yellow or red ) -thinly sliced
- 1 bell pepper (red or green )-thinly sliced
- 1 small red chili pepper -thinly sliced (optional)
- 2 c grape or cherry tomatoes -halved ( or you may use canned tomatoes )
- 3 garlic cloves -grated
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 4 eggs
- 5 fresh basil leaves -thinly sliced
- 1/2 tbs Italian parsley -roughly chopped
- 1/2 tsp sea salt + more to taste
- freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- the juice from 1/2 lemon
- 2 green onions -sliced
Parmigiano Reggianno for grating
Optional: 1/4 c black olives -pitted and/or 5 artichoke hearts -halved
1. Preheat your oven to 400 F degrees.
2. In a 10 inch skillet heat up the olive oil on medium low flame and add the sliced onion with a pinch of sea salt. Toss to coat and allow to cook for about 10 minutes, until translucent and they begin to get some color. Add the red pepper flakes, red chili and the bell pepper. Allow to cook an additional 5 minutes until the peppers begin to soften. Add the grated garlic and cook for 30 seconds then add the tomatoes, cover with a lid and let cook for about 5 minutes until the tomatoes burst and start releasing all their juices.
3. Stir in the lemon juice, season with the sea salt and black pepper and at this point add the olives and/or artichoke hearts if using. Stir to combine and sprinkle with the green onion. Gently crack in the eggs, making sure not to break the yolk.
4. Once the egg whites turn opaque, transfer the skillet to the preheated oven and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes until the egg whites are set but the yolk is still creamy.
Serve out of the pan over creamy polenta, with some bruschetta and sprinkled with the basil and parsley and a nice grating of parmigiano reggianno.
Tip: To take this dish to the next level just drizzle a little truffle oil over the eggs before finishing off in the oven.