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How to make Eggs in Purgatory

Here is the best recipe for eggs in purgatory. The summer has come to an end but there are still an abundance of tomatoes left at the farmer’s markets or if you’re lucky, in your own yard.

If you’re looking for a unique way to eat them aside from the obvious caprese salad or sauce for pasta, give this a try.

Eggs in Purgatory which is a strange way of saying eggs poached in tomato sauce.

It sounds weird, I won’t lie, but, it is delicious.

Eat this on a slice of crusty toasted bread and it is incredibly satisfying.

Have a salad on the side if you like and you have a great light meal.

I made this sauce with 10 fresh plum tomatoes but you can make this with a 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes or the equivalent in diced tomatoes.

You can jazz this up by adding olives to the sauce or shredding some fontina cheese on top.

I just used my standard, pecorino romano.



eggs in purgatory



Serves 4-6 (2 eggs per person)


  • 4-6 large eggs
  • 1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes (diced or fresh plum can be used)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • salt and pepper
  • bunch of fresh basil (or 2-3 cubes frozen Dorat)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 loaf thick italian bread such as ciabatta or a round loaf
  • pecorino romano cheese



1. Clean tomatoes, remove the core and make an “X” on the opposite side.

Blanch tomatoes in boiling water for 3-4 minutes until the skin starts to peel away from the flesh.

Drain and chill in ice water until they are cool enough to handle. Skin will easily peel away from the flesh.

Use a paring knife to grab the corner of the skin (this is why you make the “X”) but you may not even need to use it, just peel it with your fingers.

Slice tomatoes in half and with you finger pull out the seeds.

Then slice in 4 pieces.

If you have a food mill you can put them through the mill to seperate the seeds from the pulp.

I got rid of mine and I just use my fingers.


peeled tomatoes

2. Sweat onions in extra virgin olive oil (over low heat).
If using frozen basil add now.
Add tomatoes, fresh basil, salt and pepper and cover.
Let cook for 10 minutes and then begin breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon or a tomatoes masher.
Cover and let cook for another 20-30 minutes.
Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper.
I like to add a teaspoon of sugar for sweetness.


3. Toast 4-6 sliced thick sliced bread.
You’ll need one slice of bread per egg. While slices are warm rub them with a piece of garlic.

eggs in purgatory bread
eggs in purgatory sliced bread
4. Crack eggs into a small bowl (in case you break the yolk or get shells in it) and then add to the sauce, spread the eggs out so they don’t touch each other.
(The more eggs you make the larger the skillet you will need.)
Cover and let cook until whites are set but yolks are still runny.

eggs in purgatory in cooking pan

5. Sprinkle with Pecorino Romano cheese and serve on toast slices.

eggs in purgatory
eggs in purgatory

This is a great recipe to make on fridays during Lent!
I know Nanny would have certainly approved!

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