Eggs in Purgatory are a quick and spicy way to enjoy your eggs in the morning with Parmesan cheese and eggs poached in fiery tomato sauce. This Italian Shakshuka is the perfect answer to a cozy breakfast or brunch ready to eat in 30 minutes.
Today we’re making eggs in purgatory or Italian Shakshuka. The name could refer to the fiery red tomato sauce bubbling away while the eggs poach, or the underlying spice of the sauce thanks to the cayenne and jalapenos.
These eggs make a wonderfully delicious and filling breakfast or brunch paired with some warm, crusty bread to dip in the sauce. The soft-cooked eggs in a robust tomato sauce are made with simple, pantry staples so it’s an easy meal to whip together in a hurry.
There are many, many versions and interpretations of this dish and I’ve been liberal with making some modifications to the base recipe of Eggs in Purgatory to add more spice and flavor and make it more worthy of its name. I’ve also included notes on what to omit if you want to stick with the classic. Let’s get cooking.
The fact that I was able to come up with this unplanned post at the very last minute just goes to show how easy it is to put it together. Eggs, check. Tomato sauce, check. Parmesan cheese, check. Spices, check. Onions and garlic, check. Almost everything you would have already stocked in your pantry. And some leftover French bread from making my pumpkin cream cheese french toast earlier this week.
I modified the recipe for more flavor so I added a little jalapeno and some cumin. I also wanted it smoky so I added a little smoked paprika and I could really see it going well with something called eggs in purgatory. These are not your typical Italian ingredients so if you want a more classic version of the dish, leave out the jalapenos, cumin and smoked paprika and maybe substitute cayenne with red pepper flakes.
EGGS IN PURGATORY (ITALIAN SHAKSHUKA) RECIPE TIPS
I used a decent amount of cayenne to spice it up a little but not enough to make it super spicy. So add in more if you want it burning your mouth to the point of no return. Since the jalapenos have their seeds removed, they don’t lend much to the heat but again, if you want eggs in super hell, keep those seeds. It can be either more cayenne or pro seeds or both. Or if you’re hardcore, find that ghost pepper.
The Parmesan adds a nice touch to things. I really loved it and it binds all the ingredients together well. I only used 1/4 cup to lightly sprinkle the sauce.
You’ll notice the eggs will start to sink while it’s cooking. This is good. The more sauce that surrounds the eggs, the better it cooks. But keep the sauce at a gentle simmer while you poach or you’ll end up with scrambled eggs. I wanted my yolks runny so the timing in the directions is for precisely that. Simmer it a little longer for a fully-cooked yolk. Finally, there’s enough sauce to go around for maybe two more eggs, so if you’re expecting company, or just like eating eggs, you can cook up to eight in there. The more the merrier!
And lastly, a word of warning: this is messy to cook. Basically, anything with a tomato base is gonna leave a mess. So if you have a backsplash, try to cook it on the back burner or use a splatter screen so your floor doesn’t end up looking like you started a redecorating job. And wear an apron! I suppose the other reason why it would be called eggs in purgatory would be the cleanup!
And that’s about it. Let me know how you like it and what modifications you made in the comments below. Enjoy!
MORE BRUNCH RECIPES TO TRY
- Healthy Egg White Muffin Breakfast Cups
- Hash Brown Breakfast Quiche
- Cheesy Sausage Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole
- Easy Hamburger Quiche
- Hash Brown Egg Nests