Eggs in Purgatory

Eggs in Purgatory -A Cookbook Collection

I was recently watching reruns of Nigellissima and Nigella was making this dish. I realised it was quite a while since I had made it. So I vowed to put that right and made it the following evening. I hadn’t made it in some time because last year I was doing the 5:2 diet and I often made this on my ‘good’ days – without the bread of course. So I probably got a little tired of eating it for a while. Believe me, this does not taste like diet food. It is very more-ish and satisfying. Nigella recommends it as a breakfast on a day when you are feeling a little, well, delicate. The combination of eggs, tomatoes and chilli cures everything!  I think you can eat this any time of day. It’s healthy and ready in 15 minutes. You can use more eggs if your pan has room to allow it. You can also easily multiply the ingredients for more people and cook it in a large frying pan.

Poaching eggs in tomato sauce is not an original idea. There are so many variations on this recipe out there. Bill Granger has a version of Shakshuka in his book Bill’s Basics which includes peppers and has a different spice combination. Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen has a version of the same dish here which adds feta – I’ll definitely be trying this. Yotam Ottolenghi has several versions of Shakshuka, the one in his book Jerusalem is varied by using yoghurt.

Adapted from Nigella’s Nigellissima

Serves 1

Eggs in Purgatory - A Cookbook Collection



  •  tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • ¼ tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • ½ tsp sea salt flakes – if using table salt use only ¼ tsp
  • 1 or 2 large eggs
  • 3 tsp grated Parmesan (or more if needed)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 slices white bread toasted


  • Heat the frying pan or skillet over a medium heat and add the oil. Then grate or crush in the garlic, add the chilli flakes and stir for just 1 minute.
  • Pour in the tinned tomatoes (make sure they are good quality) and add the salt. Stir it well and heat until it starts to bubble. It has to be hot enough to poach an egg in it.
  • Crack in the egg(s) and partially cover with a lid. Nigella adds the Parmesan now but I prefer to add afterwards so that I can see the egg clearly to make sure it is cooked properly. Let it bubble for 5 minutes or until the white sets and the yolk is still runny.
  • Remove from the heat and sprinkle over the Parmesan and ground pepper to taste.
  • Nigella suggests adding chilli oil if desired.

Eggs in Purgatory- A Cookbook Collection

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