Eggs in Herbal Purgatory

Serves 6

This quick and easy dish has its origins in Naples and originated as a means to use up leftover sauce at breakfast time. The eggs are essentially cooked in the tomato sauce, hence the purgatory! Many cultures all over the world utilize this Italian idea, this recipe has more of the Middle Eastern influences that we see in shakshuka, which is originally and Israeli version of eggs poached in spicy tomato sauce!


Olive oil
2 green or red chilies (as spicy as you want your dish to be, use mild chilies for no heat)
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 yellow onion, chopped fine
¼ cup green onions, sliced thin
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon smoky paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
Warm pita or bread for serving


In a large sauté pan with raised edges at least 3 inches, heat olive oil about 4 tablespoons on a moderate high heat. Add chilies, onions, garlic, and sauté until onions are beginning to caramelize and char or about 5-7 minutes. Add the cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper and stir well. Pour in the canned tomatoes and break apart with your hands as you add them in. Stir well and cook down about 10 minutes or until all mixture is juicy and tomato saucy. Turn burner to a moderately low heat and make sure the tomato sauce is even throughout the pan. Crack the eggs one by one, making sure not to disturb the yoke, and making sure the eggs are all over the pan. Poach the eggs, basting them with tomato sauce from the pan using a spoon. The eggs should be done in about 4 minutes, if you would like the yolks more done, place more tomato mixture atop the yolks (carefully) and cook for about 6 minutes.) Remove from heat and sprinkle with the feta and the herbs! Serve with warm pita or bread.