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Eggs in Purgatory with Capers

Just in time for a grand and easy to make Fathers Day Breakfast!

Bring out your grandmothers cast iron!


Eggs in Purgatory is a spicy briney tomato sauce and a perfect complement to some mellow eggs. I discovered this recipe online from Karen Palmer at Food52.com

This dish is an Italian style Shakshuka which is a Middle Eastern food made with a salsa type tomato sauce. Eggs in Purgatory has chili flakes added to your taste for heat and capers to give a briney almost fishy flavor. It’s like adding anchovies to tomato sauce which wouldn’t be a bad addition to this sauce either! 

Italian Puttanesca is a tomato sauce with added capers and anchovies for a briney flavor. Italian Arrabbiata is a spicy tomato sauce with added chili flakes. Eggs in Purgatory is a blend of both of these flavorful tomato sauces.

Add some toast with rhubarb jam to complete breakfast or brunch that combines the salty with the sweet. I like to sprinkle flaked sea salt over my rhubarb jam toast to add to the salty component. 

2 tablespoons olive oil

A pinch or more hot pepper chili flakes

1/2 cup chopped onion or shallot

Kosher salt

Black pepper

3 cloves garlic, minced with 1/2 teaspoon salt

1-28 oz can crushed tomatoes

1 tablespoon capers and 1 tablespoon of the caper brine

1-2 anchovies, rinsed and patted dry and then minced, OPTIONAL

4 eggs

Shaved or grated Parmesan or Romano cheese 

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F
  • Heat an 8-10 inch cast iron pan over medium heat
  • Add the olive oil
  • Sauté the chili flakes and stir quickly with a spoon or spatula until fragrant, less than a minute.
  • Add the onion and sauté until translucent, turning down the heat as needed to prevent browning.
  • Add the garlic and sauté only a 1/2 minute while stirring. Do not brown or burn!
  • Add the tomato sauce, capers and brine. If you want to add the anchovies, do it now.
  • Simmer uncovered until thickened, simmering slowly. About 20-30 minutes. 
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • With a large spoon place 4 indentations in the sauce. Place an egg in each cradle
  • Bake 9-10 minutes or less until the whites just turn white and still jiggle when shaken. 
  • Serve with grated or shaved Romano or Parmesan  cheese
  • You can sprinkle with chopped parsley or cilantro if you like 
  • Toast up some crusty bread of your liking
  • Voila!